Cana­di­ans set the pace at Four Con­ti­nents

Dale­man, Os­mond first and se­cond; Virtue and Moir lead ice dance

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Canada’s Gabrielle Dale­man and Kaet­lyn Os­mond dom­i­nated the women’s short pro­gram at the ISU Four Con­ti­nents fig­ure skat­ing cham­pi­onships on Thurs­day.

Canada’s Olympic ice dance cham­pi­ons Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir also lead af­ter the short pro­gram.

Dale­man opened her pro­gram to music from the bal­let “Hero­di­ade” with a triple toe-triple toe com­bi­na­tion en route to scor­ing 68.25 points. Her only mis­cue was a slight bob­ble on the land­ing of her triple Lutz.

“It was a fight tonight, but I’m happy with what I was able to ac­com­plish and with the over­all pack­age,” said the 19-year-old from New­mar­ket. “It’s been great com­pet­ing in Korea for my se­cond Four Con­ti­nents and it is just so mo­ti­va­tional and in­spir­ing to com­pete in the Olympic rink.”

The Four Con­ti­nents is a test event for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Os­mond, a 21-year-old from Marys­town, N.L., fell on the land­ing of her dou­ble Axel and was se­cond with 68.21 points. El­iz­a­bet Tursyn­baeva of Kaza­khstan was third with 66.87.

Virtue, from Lon­don, Ont., and Moir, from Ilder­ton, Ont., scored 79.75 points for their pro­gram to music by Prince.

“Tessa and I were pretty happy ac­tu­ally with our per­for­mance,” Moir said. “We made a lit­tle bit of a tech­ni­cal er­ror in the mid­dle of it, so it’s not ideal ob­vi­ously, es­pe­cially in the short pro­gram where we re­ally have to cap­i­tal­ize on those tech­ni­cal points. But we came out and felt like we at­tacked it. We’ve been train­ing this pro­gram re­ally hard.”

Virtue and Moir are un­de­feated since re­turn­ing to com­pe­ti­tion af­ter a two-year hia­tus, and have their sights set on re­claim­ing Olympic gold.

“It feels ex­tremely spe­cial to per­form in this venue a year be­fore the Games,” Moir said. “We tried to soak that up as much as we could to­day.”

De­fend­ing Four Con­ti­nents cham­pi­ons Maia Shibu­tani and Alex Shibu­tani of the United States were se­cond with 76.59, fol­lowed by team­mates Madi­son Chock and Evan Bates with 74.67.

In pairs, Wen­jing Sui and Cong Han of China fin­ished first with 80.75 points af­ter the short pro­gram. While Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang, also from China, were se­cond with 75.20 points. Canada’s two-time world cham­pi­ons Mea­gan Duhamel and Eric Rad­ford were third with 74.31.

Rad­ford, from Balmertown, Ont., fell on the side-by-side triple Lutz.

“I felt that our per­for­mance took a step up from our na­tional cham­pi­onships,” Rad­ford said. “It’s un­for­tu­nate about the Lutz, but it can’t be per­fect all the time. They’ve been re­ally, re­ally good for me for the last month. As al­ways I’ll learn from this, take that mis­take and do bet­ter in the long pro­gram.”

The men’s short pro­gram and the ice dance free dance are on Fri­day.

The Four Con­ti­nents is a tune-up event for next month’s world cham­pi­onships in Helsinki.

AHN YOUNG-JOON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from Canada per­form in the ice dance short dance pro­gram in Gangne­ung, South Korea, Thurs­day.

AHN YOUNG-JOON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Canada’s Kaet­lyn Os­mond leads af­ter the ladies short pro­gram at the ISU Four Con­ti­nents Fig­ure Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships.

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