COC Photo: Jenna Muirhead-Gould

Canadian Champs Crowned

Skate Canada hosted its annual Canadian Figure Skating Championships this weekend with spots on the World Championship team on the line and athletes did not disappoint by putting on an incredible show for those in attendance during an event in which several stars held on to their titles and a 17-year-old was officially welcomed into the upper echelon of skating talent.

2010 Olympic gold medallists and two-time world champions Tessa Virtue (London, ON) and Scott Moir (Ilderton, ON) won their fifth national championship in ice dancing after sealing the win with their “Carmen” routine during the free dance. The duo scored 187.23 points overall to top Toronto’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier and Nicole Orford of Burnaby, BC, and Thomas Williams of Okotoks, AB, who finished in second and third place with 169.91 and 152.56 points respectively.

Ottawa, ON’s Patrick Chan showed he was in full form when the two-time reigning world champion landed two quads to distance himself from the rest of the field to finish in first place with 273.75 points skating dramatic program to Puccini’s “La Boheme”. The title is Chan’s sixth consecutive Canadian Championship. Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, BC, showed he was up to challenge Chan and kept things close with a score of 261.26 for silver with Andrei Rogozine of Richmond Hill, ON, scoring 207.85 to finish third.

Meagan Duhamel, from Lively, ON, and Eric Radford, from Balmertown, ON, scored 206.63 points overall to defend their 2012 pairs title in the most tightly contested event of the weekend when they edged out Kirsten Moore-Towers, from St. Catharines, ON, and  Dylan Moscovitch, from Waterloo, ON, who scored just over two points less with 204.54 overall. Paige Lawrence of Kennedy, SK, and Rudi Swiegers of Kipling, SK, won bronze with 171.13 points.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Marytown, N.L., was the only first-time winner this weekend skating to a dominant win in the women’s program. Easily having the best season of her career, Osmond captured the title with a score of 201.34. The top three made up an all teenage podium finish when 15-year-old Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, ON, won the silver with a score of 163.90, while 16-year-old Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, ON, finished third with 157.22.

Short-Track Speed Skaters Sprint to National Titles

Marie-Ève Drolet, of Laterrière, QC, and Michael Gilday of Yellowknife, captured the 1,500-metre titles at the 2013 Canadian Open Short Track Championships at Montreal’s Maurice-Richard Arena. Drolet captured her third title of her career while Gilday wins his first.

“It’s my first time winning a 1,500-metre Canadian championship,” said Gilday. “I won one at the Olympic trials, but first time Canadian champion is pretty cool. It (racing today) was pretty good. I employed a strategy that worked out pretty well. I went in the front, pulled strong and it worked out today.”

Jessica Hewitt, of Kamloops, BC, won the silver medal and the bronze medal went to Gabrielle Waddell, of Red Deer, AB. Guillaume Bastille, of Rivière-du-Loup, QC, was the silver medallist on the men’s side with Vincent Cournoyer, of Boucherville, QC, claiming bronze.

In the 500-metre competition, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC captured gold in a time of 43.574s in front of François-Louis Tremblay (41.383), of Alma, QC, and Charle Cournoyer, of Boucherville, QC (41.805). Marianne St. Gelais, of St. Félicien, QC, sprinted to a national title on the women’s side in a time of 43.574s while Valérie Maltais, of La Baie, QC, battled for the silver medal with a time of 43.732 seconds. The bronze medal went to Valérie Lambert, of Sherbrooke, QC, who crossed the line in 45.516 seconds.

“I didn’t have any bad luck (today). I didn’t fall and I had good races,” said Hamelin. “I showed that I was the fastest on the ice today. It went well, a big final, a big victory that moves me back up in the ranking. I’m very relieved.”

Canadians stand on podium at Calgary World Cup

COC Photo: Mike Ridewood

Canada's Christine Nesbitt at the Essent ISU Speed Skating World Cup at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Saturday, January 19, 2013. COC photo by Mike Ridewood

Canadians Christine Nesbitt and Jamie Gregg stepped on the podium at the Calgary World Cup this weekend. Nesbitt earned a silver medal in the 1,000 metres, while Gregg took the bronze in the 500 metres.

The 27-year old native of London, ON, Nesbitt skated in a time of one minute and 13.67 seconds to collect her second silver World Cup medal of the season and sixth total. Gregg, of Edmonton, AB, had a time of 34.369 seconds, which was only 0.008 seconds behind silver medallist Pekka Koskela, of Finland, with 34.361.

“I’m pretty happy with it,” said Nesbitt. “It’s definitely an improvement from how things have been going this season. My hard work, persistence and focusing on the right things are starting to pay off. I’d like to be first, but I’m also looking at the big picture towards the World Single Distances Championships in March, and I think I’m on the right track for that.”