Golden Skate

Virtue and Moir capture historic Olympic gold

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir made history when they became the first Canadians, as well as North American team, to capture the Olympic Gold in Ice   Dance.

USA’s Meryl Davis and Charlie   White  claimed the silver medal, while the  bronze went to Russia’s Oksana   Domnina and Maxim Shabalin.

Virtue and Moir gave a spellbinding performance to Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 which featured exquisite level 4 lifts. Their level 4 twizzles were impeccable, and team also earned high Grades of Execution (GoE) on both their level 3 circular and diagonal step sequences.

The Canadian Champions also produced an excellent level 4 combination dance spin, earning a new personal best score of 110.42 (53.10/57.32) for first place in the Free Dance (FD) and overall (221.57) to win the gold.

Canada’s only other Olympic Ice Dance medal dates back to 1988, when Tracy   Wilson and Robert McCall won bronze.

“It’s amazing,” said Moir. “It’s  the best feeling in the   world. We believed, we dreamed of this moment for a long time.”

“I think Scott and I both have sacrificed a lot, like all the athletes, whether   it be moving away from home or missing out on school or normal teenage   opportunities,” Virtue told the press. “But last year was especially difficult with the injury. It was a   rocky road. There were times where I thought I wouldn’t get back on track. So   it’s fun to be able to skate again without pain. It makes this victory even   sweeter.”

Davis and White put out a captivating and uninhibited routine to music from Phantom of the Opera which opened with the highest scoring level 4 dance spin of the evening. The  2009 Four Continents earned high GoEs for their level 3 circular and diagonal step sequences, level 4 twizzles, and stunning level 4 lifts.

The U.S. Champions earned a new personal best of 107.19 (52.80/55.39), and maintained second place overall (215.74) to claim the silver.

“It’s been a wonderful experience coming to the   Olympic Games and to cap it off with a silver medal is so amazing,” said Davis. “I’m very, very pleased with how we skated,” added her partner White. “We built on our performance   yesterday. We had three great programs.”

Domnina and Shabalin delivered an expressive routine to music from  The Double Life of Véronique and Requiem for a Dream, which was highlighted by wonderful level 4 lifts. The Russian Champions also produced very good level 4 twizzles, however, their step sequences were only graded level 2 (Serpentine) and 3 (Diagonal).

The current World Champions earned 101.04 points (48.00/53.04) for a third place finish in the FD and overall  (207.64).

“We skated as well   as we could,” observed Domnina. “We are happy with our medal, but of course we had aimed for more. “We did all our elements,” added Shabalin. “It was hard, but we coped with our nerves. Everything worked out.”

USA’s Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto produced an enthralling routine to  Ave Maria and Stabat Mater which was highlighted with innovative level 4 lifts and an outstanding level 4 dance spin. The defending silver medalists also delivered good level 3 circular and midline step sequences, however, their twizzles were only graded a level 2.

The three-time Four Continents Champions earned 99.74 (48.00/51.74) for a fourth place finish in the FD and overall (203.07).

Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali of Italy skated a light and airy routine to Nino Rota’s   The Emigrants which was highlighted by their level 4 lifts. The European  silver medalists also displayed very good level 3 circular and diagonal step sequences, and placed fifth in the FD (99.11) and overall (199.170).

France’s Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder skated an emotional “farewell” performance to Brel’s  La Quete as they announced they were retiring from competition. The 2008 World Champions produced very good level 3 circular steps and three level 4 lifts, placing sixth in the FD (97.06) and overall (193.73).

Teammates Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat put out a solid and enchanting routine to music from  Kika and  Requiem for a Dream which contained a level 4 spin, twizzles, and lifts. The  2009 French Champions also displayed very good level 3 circular and diagonal steps, and placed seventh in the FD (94.37) and overall (190.49).

Great Britain’s Sinead Kerr and John Kerr placed ninth in the FD (92.23) and eighth overall (186.01) in what may have been their last competitive performance. The 2009 European bronze medalists produced an intriguing routine to Linkin Park’s Krwlng which featured three good level 4 lifts, however, John had a slight bobble at the end of their level 3 twizzle sequence. The team otherwise displayed good level 3 circular and diagonal steps.

Russia’s Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski finished eighth in the FD (93.11) and ninth overall (185.86) after their performance to Firebird. The team displayed excellent level 4 lifts, but were only awarded a level 2 on their circular and diagonal steps. The 2009 European Champions otherwise produced a good level 4 dance spin and twizzle sequence.

Israel’s Alexandra Zaretsky and Roman Zaretsky   rounded out the top 10 for the dance teams, while USA’s Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates placed 11th in their Olympic debut.

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