Home Figure Skating News Long awaited victory for Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps

Long awaited victory for Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps

by Ted Flett
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Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps

Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps hug in the “Kiss and Cry” zone at the Canadian National Figure Skating Championships on Saturday.

2023 Canadian National Figure Skating Championships: Pairs

Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps snagged the pairs’ title at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa on Saturday. In their free skate set to “Cleopatra” by Trevis Jones, the team started with a confident level four twist, side-by-side triple toe loop-double toe loop combinations and impressive level-four lift. However, Stellato-Dudek disastrously belly-flopped on the throw triple flip. The team’s commitment to choreography helped them to recover the performance for which they received 125.98 points to finish the competition with a total score of 194.18. Adding to the drama and pressure in Oshawa, Stellato-Dudek has been nursing a viral illness for weeks, limiting her breathing and energy.

“I don’t know the words right now to perfectly to describe what I’m feeling,” Deschamps said, overwhelmed after his win. “But, for sure in time I’ll be able to.”

“I’ve never been a national champion at the senior level before, but I’ve tried a lot of times over many years” Stellato-Dudek reflected. “This is really exciting for me. You know, I go on my friends’ pages and it says, you know, ‘National Champion.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool.’ Now, if I want to do that, I can do that. I’m not social media savvy, so I probably won’t, but I could if I wanted to!”

In a scintillating performance set to the “Oblivion” tango, the duo lead after the short program. Highlighted by a sky-high level-three triple twist, confident side-by-side triple toe loops, a level-four lift and a smooth throw triple loop, the team earned 73.20 points to comfortably separate themselves from their competitors.

“I want it so badly,” said Stellato-Dudek of the national title after the short program. “Because I want it for Max so much, because he’s been here so for long; his tenth Canadian championship and last year I was so proud to be the first partner he got a medal with in seniors. So, to be the partner that brings him the gold would be really special to me.”

Choreographer Julie Marcotte said that the team adjusted their training based on Stellato-Dudek’s capacity. Marcotte credits her pupil’s strength and muscle memory in regard to the win.

“We had to cut down on sessions, that’s for sure,” she said. “And we had to manage the run-throughs and pace them; taking out elements. But, at least we were able to still train the elements in some kind of way. So, we changed the formula of run-throughs to help pace the team.”

Marcotte said there was never any consideration of withdrawing from nationals despite Stellato-Dudek’s health. And, the team is intent on attending the Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with big objectives as they plan to peak at the 2023 World Figure Skating Championships in March.

“They definitely want to go try the side-by-side triple Salchows before Worlds,” said Marcotte. “So, Four Continents, even if it’s at altitude, is the place where I believe they’re going to give that element a try, because they really need it.”

Marcotte said that the team has talked openly and positively about the possibility of medaling at the world figure skating championships and want to maximize that opportunity.

Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar maintained their standing after the short program to claim the silver medal with their Les Miserables free skate featuring a sturdy throw triple twist, side-by-side triple toe-double toe combinations and a soaring throw triple loop. They received 120.59 in the free skate for a total competition score of 187.26.

“This competition has been the first time that we’ve felt really comfortable with training,” McIntosh said. “Everything has been going pretty smoothly.”

“We really felt really confident on the ice,” added Mimar. “To be honest, it was the first time I was really feeling comfortable to go into that long program and it feels awesome.”

In their debut at the national championships, fan-favorites Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud climbed onto the podium after placing fourth in the short program. Their spirited free skate set to Pirates of the Caribbean featured a level-four triple twist and a confident throw triple Salchow. However, Michaud made uncharacteristic mistakes, stumbling on the triple toe loop and doubling the Salchow. They earned 111.93 for the effort which gave them a total competition score of 176.53.

The new partnership was forged after Evelyn Walsh and Michaud split following the 2022 season when they were not named to the Canadian Olympic team. Pereira also competes in singles and placed fifth in the women’s competition in Oshawa earlier in the day.

“We made a couple mistakes on the jumps, unfortunately, which I can’t figure out and I’m a little upset with myself, which is not really a normal thing,” Michaud reflected. “At the end of the day, I think we trained really well coming into this. We trained really well and managed things well, so it was definitely lots of positive outcomes and things to learn from, so I am happy with it.”

“We’re really happy with both skates we put out this week,” said Periera. “This is only our fourth competition together, so we’re learning a lot every time we come out. We learn new things every day. So just being able to come out here in front of a live audience and compete and push ourselves, felt really good.”

The feisty and composed team of Kelly Ann Laurin and Loucas Éthier dropped to fourth position after an impressive third-place short program. They earned 175.27 overall ahead of Emmanuelle Proft and Nicolas Nadeau of Quebec (164.81).

Skate Canada has announced that all three medalists will represent Canada at the Four Continents and World Figure Skating Championships.

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