Nine Canadians seek glory at Grand Prix Final
Host country has high hopes for Chan, Virtue and Moir
|Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir hope to beat Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White. (Getty Images)|
In the men's discipline, defending Grand Prix champion and four-time Canadian champion Patrick Chan, 20, Toronto, qualified in first place. He won gold medals at both of his assignments -- in Canada and France -- and will make his fourth trip to the Final. Chan trains in Colorado Springs, Colo. and is coached by Christy Krall.
Olympic, world and three-time Canadian champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will compete at the Final for the third time in their career, having placed second in 2009 and fourth in 2007. This year they won gold at Skate Canada International and Trophée Eric Bompard in France. In 2005, they were the Junior Grand Prix Final champions. Virtue and Moir train at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Mich. with their coaches Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband.
Joining them in the ice dance category are Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who represented Canada at three ISU Grand Prix events this year. Weaver and Poje won three silver medals this season, at Skate Canada International, NHK Trophy and the Rostelecom Cup. They finished fifth at this event last year and are coached by Pasquale Camerlengo, Angelika Krylova and Shae-Lynn Bourne in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Two bronze medals on the ISU Grand Prix circuit earned Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, their spot as the Canadian entry in pairs skating. They won bronze at both Skate Canada International and Trophée Eric Bompard. The team is coached by Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte at CPA Saint-Léonard.
"We're excited to host this event in Canada for the first time in 10 years," said Mike Slipchuk, High Performance Director, Skate Canada. "Our athletes have had a strong Grand Prix season, and we look forward to a great competition with the world's best skaters in Quebec City."
Sitting as first alternates in the pairs event are Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch. They won bronze at both their events in the USA and China this year. In their first appearance at last year's Final, they were sixth. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch train with Kris Wirtz and Kristy Wirtz in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.
The pairs team of Katherine Bobak and Ian Beharry qualified for the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. They started off the season with a silver medal at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Poland and followed that up with gold in Estonia. This is their first year competing together after teaming up in February, 2011, and the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final will be their third international event as a team. The pair is also coached by Kris Wirtz and Kristy Wirtz at the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club.
The ISU Grand Prix Final is the pinnacle event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure skating series. The series hosts six stops: United States (Skate America), Canada (Skate Canada International), China (Cup of China), Japan (NHK Trophy), France (Trophée Eric Bompard), and Russia (Rostelecom Cup). Skaters are awarded points based on their placements at their assigned events and the top six in each of the four disciplines advance to the Final.
The event includes the 2011 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final. The world's top junior skaters also collect points in order to qualify, through seven events which change location yearly. The top six in men's, ladies, pair and ice dance, based on the results of the Junior Grand Prix series, advance to the Junior Final.