GOYANG, South Korea - Ice dancing duo Tessa Virtue and
Scott Moir along with Jeff Buttle each positioned
themselves for success at the world championships next
month with a big Friday for Canada at the Four Continents
figure skating event.
Coming up with their finest performances of the season,
Virtue and Moir captured gold while Buttle rallied his
way to men's silver with a Canadian-record score. They
all found positives in the way they skated and identified
areas for improvement ahead of the March 17-23
championships in Sweden.
"I think that was really what we were going for this
week, (the) performance aspect of the skating," said
Moir. "We definitely made some errors in the (original
dance), it was a little bit sloppy on my part, still some
places where we definitely can improve, but
performance-wise I'd say it was the best outing of the
Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont.,
led the field from the start and recorded a personal best
of 104.08 in the free dance to score an aggregate total
of 207.32. Moir pointed to a level-three spin and faulty
final lift as a couple of things to clean up in the
"We weren't really focused on the marks but it is always
nice to break the 100-point barrier in the free dance and
200 overall," said Moir. "But we left a couple of points
on the table which we hope to improve on before worlds."
The Canadian champions, who finished third in this event
last year, based the storyline for their free dance on
the 1964 musical film "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."
Perfect step sequences meant they beat out Americans
Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
"It's very young love, first love, then I'm sent off to
the military and then she gets pregnant and goes off with
a rich guy," Moir said of the routine's theme. "That's
pretty much it in a nutshell. Pretty cold, but take it as
Only their rivals felt the chill Friday.
Davis and White challenged strongly and were second for
the third straight day. This time the duo scored 100.16
to finish with a total of 199.45. Fellow Americans
Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre took the bronze
medal with 89.62 on the day for a total of 180.65.
Virtue and Moir also earned bragging rights over Davis
and White, their training partners in Ann Arbour, Mich.
"It was exciting for us today," said Moir. "I love
competing with them."
Buttle, meanwhile, started putting his disappointing
second-place finish at the Canadian championships last
month behind him by breaking his own record with an
overall score of 234.02.
The 2006 Olympic bronze medallist from Smooth Rock Falls,
Ont., started the day in third but an original and
imaginative program to "Ararat" earned him 150.17 points
in the free skate. That second-place effort catapulted
him past American Evan Lysacek to silver.
"I'm happy, for sure," said Buttle. "I think (the
performance) was an improvement over Canadians but not
without its mistakes. I still feel I have something to
push me in my training leading to worlds."
The result is also an important step in rebuilding
Buttle's confidence. Aside from losing out to Toronto
***ager Patrick Chan at the nationals, he also finished
sixth at last year's world championships after being
second in 2005.
Now Buttle feels better about things.
"Obviously after the Canadians I was a little bit
disappointed that I wasn't the champion but I pushed
through the training and as a result I improved the
cure," he said. "I definitely regained some confidence I
might have lost at Canadians."
Japan's Daisuke Takahashi broke the competition's total
points record by a massive eight points with an almost
flawless performance. He scored 175.84 points in the free
skate to take his total score to 264.41. Lysacek settled
for third at 233.11 after opening the day ahead of
"The way Daisuke skated today there was no way I could
even come close to him," said Buttle.
Vaughn Chipeur of Edmonton ended up seventh at 196.57
while Shawn Sawyer of Edmundston, N.B., was ninth at
The women's free skate is Saturday with Canadian champion
Joannie Rochette of Ile Dupas, Que., sitting third with
60.04 points behind world silver medallist Mao Asada of
Japan at 60.94 and world champion Miki Ando of Japan at
Canadian silver medallist Mira Leung of Vancouver is
seventh with 53.01 and Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur,
Que., is eighth among 32 skaters with 50.63.
The meet is for athletes from non-European countries.