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Volosozhar, Trankov win Skate Canada gold

Sui, Han hit quad twist; Duhamel, Radford take bronze

Volosozhar and Trankov dominated the pairs competition at Skate Canada, earning 201.38 total points.
Volosozhar and Trankov dominated the pairs competition at Skate Canada, earning 201.38 total points. (AFP)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(10/29/2011) - The season is still young, but world silver medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov have already won their third international event.

After less-than-stellar feedback at Nebelhorn Trophy and Ondrej Nepela Trophy, the Russians unveiled their re-worked Black Swan free skate, adding three new lifts to the second half. Despite some minor missteps, the program earned 130.96 points and they took gold at Skate Canada by more than 20 points. It is their first ever Grand Prix victory.

China's Wenjing Sui and Cong Han hit a quad twist and took silver. Canadian silver medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze.

With matchless skating skills and innate elegance, Volosozhar and Trankov were clearly the class of the field. They opened with a soaring triple twist, and then Trankov turned out of the landing of the next element, a triple Salchow, before the team recovered to hit solid triple toe-double toe combinations.

The second half of Black Swan is packed with difficulty, including two triple throws -- the second, a Salchow, was poorly landed this time -- and three lifts.

"Now the program is more dramatic," Trankov said. "We must be good actors to skate to this music. [The music] is good for lifts, throws and other strong elements, and I think that's why we got good scores here, [despite] our mistakes."

Trankov was forthright on why the team waited to debut its new moves.

"First and most important, we [didn't] have time in the summer for lifts, because of my shoulder [injury]," he said. "Second, we don't want to show our lifts to other couples. Last year, we did small competitions in Russia, and other Russian pairs take our lifts. We don't want to make some new lifts for other couples."

Sui and Han hit the quad twist at the start of their Flamenco free, earning 7.96 for the rarely performed element.

The rest of the program, including a throw triple Salchow and flip, was technically strong, although their triple toes were downgraded by the technical panel.

Han said they were determined to be role models for younger Chinese skaters.

"We want little [children] to grow up and, in the future, do the same as we do," he said, adding that they may also return the quadruple throw Salchow, a move they did last season, to their free skate.

"We try everything; we try and try many times," he said. "We wanted to do something new this year, that was even better than [what we did] last year. We still practice the throw, and in the future we will use it."

Duhamel and Radford's free skate to Coldplay selections opened big with an easy-looking Level 3 triple twist followed by side-by-side triple Lutz combinations (the Lutzes were judged under-rotated).

The Canadians lost ground when Duhamel doubled an intended triple Salchow and Radford failed to fully complete a Lasso lift toward the end of the routine. Still, their 112.47 points were good enough for third place in the free and their first Grand Prix medal.

"We missed a couple of elements we don't usually miss and we'll be looking to improve that in the future," Radford said.

"We've been working really hard with our choreographer [Julie Marcotte] and coaches [Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte] on the second mark, working on the interpretation and adding difficult transitions," Duhamel added.

"This result will give us a lot of confidence to keep working."