Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje have achieved their biggest goal for the first half of this Olympic season: qualifying for the ISU Grand Prix Final. They did it by winning their second silver medal of the Grand Prix season, this one at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, which also earns them Athlete of the Week honours.
The duo actually posted the top score in the free dance portion of the competition, but had trailed Russia’s world bronze medallists Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev after the short dance.
“We were very pleased with our free dance,” said Poje. “We wanted to make sure we came back strong after a disappointing score in our short program. It wasn’t a season best score but for us it was like a season’s best performance.”
The couple had been happy immediately after their short dance performance, but soon learned they had not achieved all of the levels of difficulty they will need to reach the Olympic podium in February.
“It was clean and comfortable,” said Weaver. “When the score came up, though, we were a bit confused. But it means we have to go back and make the program even more bullet-proof.”
Poje noted that they had made improvements, particularly in the free dance, since winning silver at Skate Canada in late October where they had recorded three personal best scores.
“At Skate Canada we were a bit timid. So we wanted to make sure today that we showed the emotion and the softness at the right moments. We were a little stronger with our technical elements too. We are on a really good momentum right now.”
And it’s definitely the right time to find that momentum.
The fields are now set for the ISU Grand Prix Final, December 5-8 in Fukuoka, Japan where only the top six skaters in each discipline from the six-stop Grand Prix series will compete. In ice dance, fellow Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are expected to duel with American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White for top spot, while Weaver and Poje are in a fierce four-way fight for the podium, an anticipated preview of the competition in Sochi.