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Virtue, Moir win dance at Skate Canada

Canadians score first dance perfect 10 in free dance

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won with a score of 103.12 points.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won with a score of 103.12 points. (Getty Images)

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By J. Barry Mittan, special to icenetwork.com
(11/22/2009) - Local favorites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the free dance at HomeSense Skate Canada International in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, with a score of 103.12 points. The score was a season best, more than five points better than the 97.39 they scored at Trophee Eric Bompard.

The Canadian couple, who used to train at the same rink, won the gold medal with a total score of 204.38, over 19 points better than their closest competitors. Both scores were season bests.

"Tessa and I were determined to skate well because it wasn't our best skate yesterday," Moir said. "We were really fired up."

Skating to Mahler's "Symphony No. 5," the couple had positive Grades of Execution (GOEs) from every judge on every element with six of eight elements rated as Level 4. One judge even gave them a perfect 10 for Performance, the first ever awarded in ice dancing.

"We really felt in the moment," Moir said. "One minute, I was looking into Tessa's eyes and the next minute it was over."

The program was highlighted by a lift in which Virtue kneels in an arabesque on Moir's back, and then pirouettes back to the ice at the end.

"It started as a joke," Virtue said. "I wanted to see if I could jump off Scott's back. I want to try doubling it."

France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, who were second after the original dance, finished second in the free dance with 93.47 points and won the silver medal with 185.07 points overall, both season bests.

"The program was quite perfect for us," Pechalat said. "We did our job with no mistakes and were strong until the end. It was important for us to have a good skate in Canada before the Olympics because each time we came to Skate Canada before we did not do well."

The French couple danced to "Kika" by Ezekiel and music from the motion picture soundtrack of Requiem for a Dream with many of their movements designed to look like the motions of a clock including a lift near the end where Bourzat moves an upside-down Pechalat back and forth like a clock.

"There's not a real story with a beginning and an end to this program," Bourzat said. "It's more like Alice in Wonderland where I'm a clock and she comes and wakes me up. Then I have to struggle between her world and my world."

Both Virtue and Moir and Pechalat and Bourzat qualified for the ISU Grand Prix Final, which will be held next month in Tokyo, Japan. It will be the second appearance for both teams, who competed against one another at the 2007-08 Final. The Canadians placed fourth, while the French were sixth at that event.

Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who were in third place after the original dance, scored a season best 82.28 points in the free dance. Their total score of 165.64, also a season best, won them the bronze medal.

"As soon as we stepped on the ice we got a good feeling from the audience, seeing all the people we know," Weaver said. "This was a major milestone on our path to qualifying for the Olympics."

The couple danced to "Phantasia" by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, who skated to Tomaso Albinoni's "Adagio" placed third in the free dance with a personal best 85.67 points, almost three points higher than their previous best free dance at the 2008 World Figure Skating Championships.

With a season best total of 161.68 points, they moved up to fourth place overall.

U. S. ice dancers Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, who were fourth after the original dance, placed fifth with a score of 77.80 in the free dance. They finished fifth overall with a 160.76 total, a season best.

The Americans danced to "Canto Della Terra" performed by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. They showcased impressive lifts, but had trouble with their twizzles and footwork.