The pairs event this year was seen as a rebuilding year at the Canadian Championships. None of last year’s medalists are competing this year, at least in those partnerships, and without the well-known names, many were afraid that this year would feel lackluster. Perhaps it was because they felt less pressure; perhaps they were all just ready to shine, but the final flight of senior pairs this year was anything but lackluster.
Teams threw big tricks and sold crowd-pleasing choreography, and in the end, it was Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch (WO) who were announced as the new Canadian champions.
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch began their Les Misérables free skate with a bang. They hit a very high triple twist, then went directly into a triple toe loop-double Axel sequence. Looking focused, they attacked each element and presented their program well, keeping the audience on their side.
Unfortunately, Moscovitch lost his focus—and his edge—in their penultimate element, their side-by-side spins, and he had to bail on his spin early. They still managed a level three for the element, although they were hit with -2 Grades of Execution (GOE) from most of the judges.
The team recovered in time for their spectacular final element, a lift in which Moscovitch begins lifting Moore-Towers from a lunge position. The lift got a big cheer from the crowd and when they finished, the audience stood in appreciation of the fantastic skate.
With 122.90 points in the free, Moore-Towers and Moscovitch won their first Canadian title with a score of 187.63. They were fifth at this event last year.
Last year, Meagan Duhamel stood on the Canadian podium with Craig Buntin. Even though they medaled, however, she was disappointed. Coming off of an injury, they did their best at the Canadian Championships, but missed out on making the Olympic team. This year, Duhamel showed no signs of disappointment when she finished her second-place free skate with new partner Eric Radford.
Duhamel and Radford hit side-by-side triple flips in their program, the hardest jumps attempted in the event. Although Radford skipped one of the jumps in the three-jump combination that was intended, the triple flip-double toe loop combination still set them up well for a great performance. With level fours on most of their level elements, they skated with more and more confidence as the program progressed en route to a score of 113.63. With a total score of 171.34, they rose from fourth to second overall to win the silver medal.
With a crowd-pleasing Dracula-themed program to music from Van Helsing, Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers (SK) could not hold onto their second-place ranking heading into the free skate. They had a strong opening, with a great triple twist and solid side-by-side triple toe loops, but Swiegers looked like he caught a rut and fell between elements. With their focus broken, they had trouble with the timing of their next lift, and Swiegers really had to muscle his partner up over his head.
The little mistakes added up and although Lawrence and Swiegers’ score of 108.73 was quite good, they dropped a spot in the free program. With 168.11, the team ended up taking the bronze medal, up three spots from last year. They stood on the podium at the junior level in 2008, when they won silver. This is their first senior medal.
Although they charmed the crowd with their Gershwin free skate, Mylène Brodeur and John Mattatall (NS) could not hang onto a medal on Saturday night in Victoria. They hit their double Axel-double toe loop sequence beautifully, but a fall on the throw triple loop and a series of small mistakes on the rest of their jump elements hurt their marks. The performance was still a good one despite the problems as their choreography and rapport with each other and the audience was excellent. With 104.34 points in the free and 163.12 points overall, the team matched their fourth-place ranking from last year.
With a score of 140.86, Kaleigh Hole and Adam Johnson (WO) rounded out the top five. Their free skate had a lot of character and they were committed to the presentation, but the side-by-side jumps were not there this time. All three of their jumps were popped to singles. Good levels on lifts and hanging onto the landing of a throw triple Lutz helped them stay in the top five, up two spots from last year to make the national team.