Speed and style were shown on the ice this weekend as speed skaters and figure skaters grabbed several podiums for Canada.
Figure Skaters Build Big Momentum Ahead of Worlds
The big surprise of the weekend came on the men’s side when Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, BC, skated to gold for his first international victory after tallying 250.55 points to smash his previous best by 26 points. Surging from sixth spot after the short program, Reynolds landed three quadruple jumps to claim the victory.
“I didn’t expect this at all,” said Reynolds. “I thought I could come back and be in medal range but this completely surpassed my expectations.”
Canada also finished 1-2 in pairs at the ISU Four Continents figure skating championships in Osaka, Japan on Sunday with Meagan Duhamel of Lively, ON, and Eric Radford of Balmertown, ON, earning the gold with a score of 199.18 and Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, ON, and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto,ON, not far behind with 197.78 points for the silver.
’We are disappointed,’’ said Duhamel. ‘’We know we are capable of skating much better. We want to show an improved long program at the world championships. We felt confident going in but once the music started it just became a struggle.’’
Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue of London, ON, and Scott Moir of Ilderton, ON, added a silver in Ice Dancing after being in reach of gold before Virtue suffered a leg cramp to force the duo to stop their routine. The duo finished with 184.32 points.
“Tessa and I feel like, as a team, we have a lot of positive things this week, especially in our short dance,” said Moir. “In the free dance, we were able to execute a lot of the elements that we’ve been struggling with in practice and a little bit at nationals.”
The World Figure Skating Championships take place in London, ON, from March 11-19.
Podiums Aplenty For Speed Skaters
After breaking her own Canadian 500-metre record in the semifinals, Marianne St. Gelais of St. Félicien, QC won the silver medal at the Samsung ISU World Cup in Dresden, Germany after skating to a time of 42.983 seconds.
In the women’s 500-metre, St. Gelais, of St. Félicien, QC, was in fight against three Chinese skaters. Meng Wang led from start to finish to take the gold medal in 42.913 seconds, and St. Gelais secured second place and the silver medal in 42.983 seconds.
St. Gelais then skated to a silver medal with the women’s relay team to a silver medal after an eventful final two laps. Marie- Eve Drolet (Laterrière, QC), Jessica Hewitt (Kamloops, BC), Valérie Maltais (La Baie, QC) and St. Gelais were positioned in second place for most of the 3,000-metre race, but with three laps to go they fell to third place behind Korea and China. With only two laps to the finish line, the Korean squad was penalized for causing the Chinese and Canadian skaters to fall.
A day earlier, Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, QC) earned his second career World Cup medal by placing second in the 1,000-metre final while teammates Drolet and Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) each claimed bronze medals in their respective 1,500-metre finals.