Carolina Kostner of Italy performs during women's free skating finals of the World figure skating championships in Saitama near Tokyo, Saturday, March 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
SAITAMA, Japan - Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje captured silver in ice dance at the world figure skating championships Saturday, missing the gold by a mere 0.02 points.
"I'm just feeling ecstatic right now," Poje said. "This one moment is because of the combination of all the hard work that we've had, especially over these past couple of years, and showing by our grit and determination that we wanted to be up near the top. I feel that we deserve to be up here now, and it's an amazing feeling and we want to have more of it."
The dancers from Waterloo, Ont., scored 175.45 to finish second behind European champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were third with 175.37.
Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont finished eighth with 153.86 points, while Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont,. were 10th with 148.76 points.
Mao Asada of Japan topped the free skate in women's singles to capture her third world title.
Asada, who held a slim 1.42-point lead after the short program, under-rotated three jumps but finished with 216.69 points, 9.19 ahead 15-year-old Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia. Italy's Carolina Kostner, the 2012 world champion, took the bronze with 203.83 points.
Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L., was 11th, while Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., was 13th.
"It wasn't the performance I wanted to have," Osmond said. "I love this program, I have loved skating it and I really wanted to show it off tonight."
Weaver and Poje have skated in the shadow of Canadian world and Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for several years. But Virtue and Moir, and Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, gold medallists last month at the Sochi Games, are expected to announce their retirement soon. Neither of the teams competed at the world championships, leaving two spots on the podium up for grabs.
"It's an incredible feeling. I'm without words," Weaver said. "I can't believe that we performed the free dance today the best we have all year under the pressure of the circumstances of the top teams being so close. I'm just so proud of Andrew and I and the work we have done this year and that we just haven't given up in our careers and that is what has brought us to this moment."
The silver sends the Canadian team home with two medals. Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., won bronze in pairs earlier in the week.
Asada, who finished sixth at the Sochi Olympics, also won the world championships in 2008 and 2010 and became the first Japanese three-time champion.
Skating to Sergei Rachmaninov's "Piano Concerto No. 2," Asada opened with her trademark triple Axel but under-rotated that one as well as a triple flip and double loop, but she earned high style points after impressing the judges.
"I was able to control myself and I have done what I had to do," Asada said. "I was much more nervous than I was for the short program but the cheering from the fans was with me and made me relax."
Yuna Kim, the defending champion, has retired and Olympic gold medallist Adelina Sotnikova of Russia wasn't competing at the worlds.
— With files from The Associated Press.