Photo: CP Images

Skaters shine with gold at Grand Prix

Two-time world champion and 2010 Olympian Patrick Chan of Toronto won the gold medal at the Cup of Russia ISU Grand Prix figure skating competition on Saturday after a solid performance in the men’s singles free skate. A couple of hours later, Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, ON were the Ice Dance victors.

‘’It went pretty much as planned,’’ said Chan, 21. “One of my biggest goals after Skate Canada (two weeks ago) was to really work on the opening section where the quads are. They are really my go-to jumps. I would have liked to have more speed into the second quad put I put more strength and concentration and I did it.’’

In Ice Dancing, Virtue and Moir also dominated with a season-best 173.99 points. It is the third time in four seasons that the Canadians have won the maximum two Grand Prix in a season.

“It was great, a really solid performance for us,” said Virtue. “From beginning until the end there was a little bit more intensity in every movement. Our goal this year was not to repeat any element we’ve done in the past; every lift, footwork and spin is new. That’s risky in ice dancing and at this point in the year we have to stay focused on the big goal and continue building to the worlds.”

Nicole Orford of Burnaby, B.C., and Thomas Williams of Vancouver were eighth.

With the wins both Chan and Virtue/Moir are assured a berth at the Grand Prix final next month in Sochi, Russia, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

‘”Going to Sochi was a big goal of mine for this season,’’ said Chan. ‘’It’s really important to go the Olympic venue for a competition before the Games to get feel of the environment and the city. The top six skaters that will qualify for the Grand Prix final will have an advantage at the Olympics.’’