(October 24, 2009 - MOSCOW, Russia) – Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., finished fourth in ice dancing Saturday to highlight a day that included a couple of gutsy performances for Canadians at the second stop in the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
In ice dancing, Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., won the gold medal with 201.10 points. Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy took the silver at 168.57 and Ekaterina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer the bronze at 163.32. Crone and Poirier, silver medallists at the world juniors in 2008 and senior nationals last season, totalled 157.00.
Poirier had a rough night suffering from a stomach ailment but soldiered on, Saturday.
“I hardly slept and today I was feeling pretty tired but better,” said Poirier, 17, a year younger than his partner. “We are really happy with how we performed the program for the first time in competition. We’re still getting comfortable with it at this point and all our focus is to have it perfect for the nationals and Olympic qualifying.”
The Canadians performed a romantic medley that included a musical section from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. The highlight for the couple was a front lift in which Crone expands her arms like wings.
“We call it our “Mama” lift because it happens at that point in the song,” said Crone. “We did it really well today which was important because it hasn’t always gone so well in practice.”
In pairs, Mylène Brodeur, of Stanbridge-Station, Que., and John Mattatall, of Wallace, N.S., produced the fourth best long program of the day with an entertaining routine to Singing in the Rain and climbed from seventh to sixth overall.
Brodeur and Mattatall nearly didn’t skate Saturday after Brodeur injured her knee and hip when she fell on a throw in the morning practice. Mattatall was also recovering from a sore hip suffered in Friday’s short program.
“Even healthy, today’s performance would have been a solid showing for us,” said Mattatall. “After her fall we weren’t even sure we would do the program. Even in the off-ice warm-up things weren’t looking good. She decided to go through it and everything felt really good. We were on our musical cues and our elements didn’t seem to suffer.”
Brodeur was determined to compete.
“Our medical staff took great care of me and it went much better than we expected,” said Brodeur. “I just pretended I had nothing wrong with me. The hip still hurts but we’ll be fine. I’m just glad we decided to skate.”
Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China, the 2006 world champions, won the gold medal, Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia were second and Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker of the U.S., third.
In women’s singles, Miki Ando of Japan won the gold, Ashley Wagner of the U.S., was second and Alena Leonova of Russia third. Amélie Lacoste of Delson, Que., remained seventh.
‘’I’m disappointed with my long program,’’ said Lacoste. ‘’In practice it’s not unusual for me to land five triples and today I only landed three. My focus here wasn’t on the medals, it was to get a valuable experience and I’m going to work even harder now.’’
In men’s singles, Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia won the gold medal, Takahiko Kozuka of Japan was second and Artem Borodulin of Russia third.
Shawn Sawyer of Edmunston, N.B., landed seven of his eight jumps including three in combination and placed eighth. He was disappointed with his performance.
“I couldn’t match in the competition what I had been doing in training,” said Sawyer, 24, in his fifth season on the circuit. “I know I have a lot of work ahead of me. My jumps need to be much better quality – more speed and more height. I can earn a lot more points than I did today on my jumps.”
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