Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Serves Notice as Figure Skating Team to Beat at Sochi Olympics

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Serves Notice as Figure Skating Team to Beat at Sochi Olympics

Article excerpt

Canada serves notice as team to beat in Sochi


LONDON, Ont. - Home ice was good to Canada's team at the world figure skating championships.

Now the Canadians plan to make the Sochi arena their own.

From Patrick Chan's third world title to the emergence of young Kaetlyn Osmond and the two pairs teams, the Canadians produced their most successful worlds in several years, setting themselves up nicely for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"It came in spades in the results, you couldn't ask for more," said Skate Canada's high performance director Mike Slipchuk.

Canadian skaters captured medals in three of the four disciplines at Budweiser Gardens for the first time since 2008 and came awfully close a couple more times, serving notice Canada will be the country to beat in the new team event in Sochi.

"Seeing the team here, and seeing that we have extremely strong pairs, strong men, strong dance, and now ladies with Kaetlyn, I'm so so so pumped to do the team event," Chan said. "If we win a gold medal as a team, can you imagine the energy that we would create?"

The team event, which makes its Olympic debut in Sochi, is the first figure skating event of the Games, and combines the scores of one entry in each of the four disciplines -- men, women, pairs, and ice dance.

"It's kind of like fantasy football or fantasy hockey. It's like we're picking our team and it's really, really exciting because we get to work as a team," Chan said. "It may not be eight medals like Michael Phelps, but it's close enough."

"It rocks," added Kirsten Moore-Towers, who finished fourth in pairs Friday with partner Dylan Moscovitch.

"I think it's definitely ours to win," added Moscovitch. "It's very exciting for us to be part of this generation of skaters."

The world championships determined the number of entries Canada will have at the Sochi Games, and Canada earned a full three spots in every discipline but women's singles, where the team will have two.

Chan led the way with his third straight gold, despite a less-than-perfect performance, and will head into Sochi as the favourite.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will be hungry to regain their top spot in the world after losing gold to American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Canada's second ice dance team of Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were fifth despite the fact Weaver broke her fibula in December when she smashed feet-first into the boards.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze for Canada's first pairs medal since 2008, and the fourth-place by Moore-Towers and Moscovitch marked the first time since 1962 Canada placed two pairs teams in the top four at worlds.

Slipchuk called Osmond and Kevin Reynolds the revelations of the week.

The 22-year-old Reynolds, a native of Coquitlam, B.C., was 12th last year, but looked poised for the podium before falling from third to fifth after the long program. …

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