Golden Skate

Zoe Gong takes novice ladies title at 2013 Canadian Nationals

2013 Canadian National Figure Skating Championships: Novice Ladies

2013 Canadian National Figure Skating Championships: Novice Ladies from left to right: Maysie Poliziani, Zoe Gong, and Julianne Delaurier.

With a first-place free skate, Zoe Gong (EO) moved up from third place after the short program to take the novice ladies title at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. Maysie Poliziani (WO) finished second, followed by Julianne Delaurier (BC/YT).

Gong, who finished second in the short (36.15), scored 72.33 points in the long. Her overall score of 108.48 allowed her to move up to first to win the title.

Originally from Ottawa, Gong switched coaches over the past year, and the change has affected her skating for the better.

“I worked with my old coaches for a really long time and they were really good,” Gong said, “but sometimes you just need a change and that helps a lot. Even if it’s just different, not necessarily better or worse. Different is always helpful.”

Although Gong has the same program as she did last year, a free skate set to music from Bond movies, she looks more mature and more focused. She also has a megawatt smile off the ice, and easily presents a dramatic flair on the ice.

“The music has slow sections and fast sections that appealed to me,” explained the 15-year-old. “It’s got a really dangerous feel to it, and I enjoy portraying that.”

Despite slipping to second in the free skate (71.29) and overall (107.87), Poliziani could not have been happier with her first appearance at the Canadian Championships.

“It was my goal to medal,” the 17-year-old said, despite finishing 12th at the Challenge last month. “I trained even harder than I ever had.”

Her lyrical free skate was not without mistakes, however, the jumps that she did land were exceptionally well done, with height and distance.

“I worked on higher jumps so I could get to this point and do really well,” said the skater from Burlington. “Before, I would only skate to fast music, so this made me have to get used to different body movement and to be able to work my body more lyrically. I like to skate to slow music now.”

Delaurier, who won the Challenge this year, made a strong leap to the novice level that ended with a bronze medal (104.92). The 14-year-old’s features resemble a pixie on the ice, but she showed a lot of fight in her program, proving that she has a lot of strength.

Kelsey Wong (14), also from British Columbia, was only half a point from her BC teammate and the podium with 104.42 points.

Taylor LeClaire (AB/NT/NU), who is 15, finished fifth (103.81), followed by Emy Decelles (14) of Québec, who had one of the strongest skates from the middle group, allowing her to climb to sixth (101.29).

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