Vancouver / Canada

The figure skating competition at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games continued in Vancouver, Canada, on Monday with the Free Dance. 11, 667 spectators followed the competition at the Pacific Coliseum.

Virtue/Moir (CAN) dance off with historic gold medal

Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir of Canada danced off with an historic gold medal, becoming not only the first Canadians, but the first North American couple to take this title since Ice Dance was included into the Olympic Winter Games in 1976. Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) claimed the silver medal, and the bronze went to Russia’s Oksana Domnina/ Maxim Shabalin. All top teams had a new seasons best score.

Virtue/Moir gave a mesmerizing performance of their romantic dance to the “Adagietto” of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. The Canadians flowed through intricate steps, effortless lifts and their twizzles were impeccable. The Technical Panel awarded them a level four for the lifts and the dance spin and a level three for the two step sequences, while the Judges rewarded the team with mostly +3 Grades of Execution. Two Judges also gave a perfect 10.00 component score for performance/execution and for interpretation/timing. Virtue/Moir earned 110.42 points (53.10 element score/57.32 program component score) for their Free Dance and racked up a total of 221.57 points to take the gold in their Olympic debut. Canada’s only other Olympic Ice Dance medal dates back to 1988, when Tracy Wilson/Robert McCall won bronze. “It’s amazing. It’s the best feeling in the world. We believed, we dreamed of this moment for a long time”, Moir commented. “I think Scott and I both have sacrificed a lot, like all the athletes, whether it be moving away from home or missing out on school or normal teenage opportunities. But last year was especially difficult with the injury. It was a rocky road. There were times where I thought I wouldn’t get back on track. So it’s fun to be able to skate again without pain. It makes this victory even sweeter”, Virtue told the press.

Davis/White skated first in the final flight and raised the bar with their powerful performance to “Phantom of the Opera”. The Grand Prix Final champions produced difficult footwork, lifts and a dance spin, receiving like Virtue/Moir a level four for all elements but for the step sequences. Davis/White posted a score of 107.19 points (52.80/55.39), wich added up to 215.74 overall. They, too, stood on the podium in their first Olympic Games. “It’s been a wonderful experience coming to the Olympic Games and to cap it off with a silver medal is so amazing”, Davis said. “I’m very, very pleased with how we skated. We built on our performance yesterday. We had three great programs”, added White.

Domina/Shabalin skated last out of the 23 couples. The World Champions put down a passionate Free Dance to the soundtrack of “The Double Life of Veronique that was highlighted by beautiful lifts. However, the Russians received only a level two for their serpentine step sequence. The European Champions scored 101.04 points (48.00/53.04) and remained in third place at 207.64 points. “We skated as well as we could. We are happy with our medal, but of course we had aimed for more”, Domnina said. “We did all our elements. It was hard, but we coped with our nerves. Everything worked out”, Shabalin explained.

Tanith Belbin/Benjamin Agosto’s (USA) lyrical dance to “Ave Maria” and “Amen” featured innovative lifts and a level-four dance spin, but their twizzles were graded a level two. The 2006 Olympic silver medalists had to settle for fourth place with 203.07 points. Federica Faiella/Massimo Scali (ITA) skated smoothly to a selection of music by Nino Rota, they titled “The Immigrants”. The Italians remained in fifth place with a total of 199.17 points.

Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder (FRA) gave an emotional performance to “La Quete”. The 2008 World Champions, who didn’t compete since December 2008 following Delobel’s shoulder injury and pregnancy, finished sixth with 193.73 points. The French had announced earlier that they want to retire from competitive skating after the Olympic Games.

The figure skating competition at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games continues Tuesday with the Ladies Short Program.