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Canadians win pairs silver at Skate America

Canadians win pairs silver at Skate America

Canadians win pairs silver at Skate America
Canadians win pairs silver at Skate America

The Canadian duo of Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch finished second Saturday in the pairs competition at Skate America.

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany nailed their opening throw and performed impeccably from there in the free skate for the gold medal.

Savchenko was dressed in neon pink for the free skate with Szolkowy as they skated to the strains of the “Pink Panther” soundtrack. The duo scored a combined 197.70 for the gold.

“We wanted to do something new,” Savchenko said about the routine from Portland, Ore.

Moore-Towers, of St. Catharines, Ont., and Moscovitch, of Waterloo, Ont., made a few mistakes but still charmed with dramatic lifts in their free skate to “Les Miserables,” earning them the silver with a final score of 175.48.

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China skated with their trademark enthusiasm, finishing with a 170.07. In the Kiss and Cry, a fan handed a stuffed panda to the duo that was almost as big as tiny Wenjing.

Americans Caybee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, dressed in blue and skating to Gershwin, couldn’t catch the young pair from China after Denney fell on a throw triple loop.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi was shaky with many of his jumps and even fell once but still edged countryman Nobunari Oda to win the men’s title.

Takahashi, the reigning world champion and bronze medallist at the Vancouver Games, rebounded from his errors with sheer artistry for a final score of 227.07. Oda, who fell on his opening quad, finished with at 226.09.

“I didn’t know how many,” Oda said. “I just did too much.”

Dramatic spin

American Armin Mahbanoozadeh landed two triple axels and finished his skate to music from Avatar with a dramatic spin that put fans on their feet and earned him a 211.17 and the bronze. The routine was one of the cleanest of the night.

“It went better than I could have hoped for,” Mahbanoozadeh said. “I’m just ecstatic right now.”

Shawn Sawyer of Edmunston, N.B., the silver medallist at Skate America last season, finished eighth with 186.62 points.

Someone in the crowd brought him a Mad Hatter’s hat, in celebration of his spirited free skate to Danny Elfman’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

Adam Rippon, considered the top American in the field going in, bailed out of an early jump and fell on another. He was clearly unhappy with his skate, shaking his head to coach and former Canadian Olympian Brian Orser after coming off the ice.

Japan’s Daisuke Murakami fell once, but he turned in a great overall performance to music from Lawrence of Arabia that points to a bright future. He was thrilled with his final score 203, gasping in surprise when it was announced.

American Stephen Carriere’s pants ripped at the knee when he fell on a quad toeloop attempt. He also came off the ice with a bloodied hand.

Belgium’s Kevin Van Der Perret landed his quad toeloop and came out atop the first group of skaters.
Canadians 2nd in short dance

Canadian ice dancers Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier are poised for the podium after finishing second in the short dance.

Crone, from Toronto, and Poirier, from Unionville, Ont., gold medallists at Skate Canada last month, scored 60.41.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., were third posting a personal best 59.48.

Olympic silver medallists Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S. earned 63.62 points to take the lead heading into Sunday’s free dance despite White’s fall on a twizzle sequence.

“‘Don’t fall’ is always a good thing to remember,” Davis kidded.

On the women’s side, three-time European champion Carolina Kostner skated with elegance and ease to lead after the short program.

The Italian won the NHK Trophy in Tokyo last month, but she was battling a knee injury that limited her.

If she was still bothered by her knee in Portland it didn’t show. Wearing a blue and black lace dress with a red flower in her hair, Kostner beguiled with her footwork to flamenco music and scored 60.28 points.

She said she wanted to start out with a triple combination, but did not pull it off.

“I skated clean,” she said, “But it’s hard to feel satisfied.”

She was challenged by 16-year-old Kanako Murakami of Japan, who wore a black dress with pink polka-dots for her lively program to ’50s-inspired rock and roll. The 16-year-old sprite was not only solid, she managed to ham it up, too, and was clearly the fan favourite at the Rose Garden.

Murakami earned a 54.75. Sweden’s Joshi Helgesson was third at 51.17.

“This is the best short program I’ve done all season, so I’m happy to be here,” said Helgesson, who had a big triple lutz in combination to open her short program.

American Rachael Flatt, sporting her more mature blond hairdo and a tasteful teal dress, was the NHK Trophy silver medallist . But her performance to “Summertime” did not impress, and she scored a 51.02.

Fellow American Alexe Gilles, resplendent in light blue, nailed a triple toe loop combination, but fell on a triple lutz. Amelie Lacoste of Delson, Que., was sixth with 50.55, and was visibly unhappy with her performance with its messy triple Lutz.

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