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PRINT EDITION
Osmond hits personal best at Skate Canada
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Ice-dance pair Virtue and Moir look poised to capture title after world-record score in short program
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By LORI EWING
The Canadian Press
  
  

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Saturday, October 28, 2017 – Page S3

REGINA -- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir channelled their inner Mick Jagger, while Canadian teammate Kaetlyn Osmond picked up right where she left off.

Virtue and Moir posted a worldrecord score in the short program and are poised to capture their seventh Skate Canada International title to kick off their final competitive season, while Osmond reeled off three huge triple jumps Friday for a seven-point lead in women's singles.

"We don't have a choice. We want to win this competition, we knew we had to post a score like that in order to be on top," Moir said.

Canada's Olympic gold and silver medalists posted 82.68 points, topping their previous world best of 82.43 they set in winning the world championships last spring. Kaitlyn Weaver of Toronto and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., were second with 77.47, while Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were third (76.08).

Virtue and Moir opened to the Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil, Moir thrusting out his chest, and swivelling his hips in Jagger fashion to the delight of the Brandt Centre crowd.

"Is it easy for anyone to channel Mick Jagger?" said Moir, the neck of his black shirt cut nearly to his navel.

"He does it well though, doesn't he?" Virtue chimed in.

She joked with reporters about the swath of glittering jewels on her sheer, animal print dress, saying "Hopefully we don't blind you guys."

Their energetic program shifted to a rhumba-mixed Hotel California by the Eagles, and by the time they'd struck their final dramatic pose to Santana's Oye Como Va, the crowd was on its feet.

"It's certainly rewarding, we've been working so hard technically," said the 28-year-old Virtue, from London, Ont. "It gave us the freedom to add some different expression and bring some fresh energy to the actual performance, which we always love, to bring some spontaneity. At this point in the year, when we've been working on the same thing over and over and over again, it makes it extra fun when you know you have a solid base to work from."

Virtue and the 30-year-old Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., have made a stunning return to competition after a two-year hiatus, going undefeated thus far in their comeback.

"It's our last [Skate Canada], and we're really taking it in," Moir said.

"It's funny, in 2014 [Sochi Olympic season], we really tried not to be too sentimental. This year we're really just soaking it all in as much as we can."

Osmond, meanwhile, is riding a remarkable comeback of her own.

She takes a personal-best 76.06 points into Saturday's long program. Anna Pogorilaya is second with 69.05, while Russian teammate Maria Sotskova scored 66.10 for third.

The 21-year-old from Marystown, N.L., is coming off a breakout season that saw her capture silver at the world championships, Canada's top finish in women's singles since Joannie Rochette's second-place finish in 2009.

The breakthrough finally smothered the fear once and for all that she'd suffered since a gruesome broken right leg sidelined her for all of the 2014-15 season. She credited coach Ravi Walia for her comeback.

"Ravi kept pushing me even when I didn't want to be pushed or couldn't be pushed or didn't even know if I wanted to skate," she said. "He reminded me of what it was like to skate. He brought me to seminars where I could help coach.

He brought me to small shows.

Anything to remind me of why I love skating.

"He didn't outright say it to me then, but he did these things to get my passion going for the sport again."

Walia said little has changed since Osmond's breakthrough in Finland.

"As a person, nothing is different, and in the way that she trains every day," the coach said. "Perhaps she is more confident, she definitely is working really hard, very determined and motivated, and confident.

"She had a good season and now we start new, we start over," he added. "There's a lot of good women in the competition, so she just looks forward and not back."

Two-time Russian world champion Evgenia Medvedeva has set the pace once again in women's singles, scoring 80.75 in the short program last weekend en route to winning the Rostelecom Cup.

Canada's Patrick Chan skated his short program later Saturday, followed by Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in pairs.

Skate Canada is part of the ISU Grand Prix circuit. Skaters competing in two events each, and the top six scorers in each of the four disciplines earn a spot in the Grand Prix Final in December.

Associated Graphic

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada skates her short program at the Skate Canada International in Regina on Friday.

GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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