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Virtue, Moir tune up for season at Finlandia

Olympic gold medalists claim convincing victory over world bronze medalists Shibutanis

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir made their 2011-12 debut at the Finlandia Trophy.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir made their 2011-12 debut at the Finlandia Trophy. (Getty Images)

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By Josh Ellis, special to icenetwork.com
(10/10/2011) - Skaters from seven different nations reached the podium at the 2011 Finlandia Trophy in Vantaa, Finland, but the only country to earn more than one medal was the United States, which came away with three.

Ladies

The medal winners all finished in the same order in both the short program and free skate, as Sofia Biryukova of Russia topped the field by a margin of nearly 16 points. Biryukova finished seventh at the 2010 Finlandia Trophy, but she took a narrow lead skating to music from Seven Years in Tibet in her short program. In the free skate, Biryukova had the best score by more than 14 points. She opened her performance with the highest-scoring combination of the competition, a triple toe-triple toe that netted 9.60 points.

Two-time Olympian and five-time Estonian champion Elena Glebova improved four places from her finish a year ago to come in second. Glebova scored 56.52 points for her short program, in which she executed a triple toe-triple toe worth 9.04.

Earning the bronze was Alisa Mikonsaari of Finland. Mikonsaari topped the field of four from the host nation, all of whom finished in order, third to sixth.

Men's

By a margin of just 0.12, Takahito Mura of Japan edged American Douglas Razzano for the gold, while Maciej Cieplucha of Poland took the bronze.

Mura made his senior international debut at the 2008 Finlandia Trophy, where he took gold, and he equaled that performance as his strong short program was just enough to hang on to the top spot after finishing fourth in the free skate. Mura, skating to music from The Red Violin soundtrack, began his performance with a triple flip-triple toe combination and a triple Axel, which netted a combined 17.80 points.

After placing fifth in the short program with a score of 63.00 points, Razzano bolted up the leaderboard with a first-place finish in the free skate to fall less than a quarter of a point shy of gold. Razzano achieved a new personal best by almost 10 points in his free skate, as he completed a total of seven triple jumps en route to a score of 126.43 for the segment. He totaled 189.43 points overall.

Despite an eighth-place finish in his short program, Cieplucha reached the podium by virtue of a third-place finish in the free skate.

Ice Dancing

Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada displayed their class as they put up a total score of 170.33, nearly 20 points more than the second-place team. The duo earned a score of 68.74 in their short dance, which included four elements that earned at least seven points each. Their free dance scored 101.59 points as all seven elements scored positive grades of execution.

Americans Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, the reigning world bronze medalists, finished second in both the short dance and the free dance to receive the silver medal. After earning 58.45 points on their short dance, the siblings scored 92.63 points for their free dance, which included one element that earned them 9.86 points.

In their international debut, the duo of Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who teamed in July, earned the bronze medal as they posted a total score of 136.88.