Tessa Virtue’s, Scott Moir’s twizzle fizzles in short dance at figure skating worlds
Gap really a chasm as Canadians trail U.S. rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White heading into Saturday’s free dance
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada perform their ice dance short program at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ont., on Thursday, March 14, 2013.
Photograph by: GEOFF ROBINS, AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, Ont. — They are the public faces of these world figure skating championships, but Thursday night, those faces consisted of flashing eyes, pasted-on smiles and gritted teeth.
The hometown Worlds of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir did not get off to much of a start, and the London-born Olympic champions’ quest for a third world title may have slipped away before they got to the two-minute mark of their short dance.
It was then that a synchronized twizzle sequence was anything but synchronized, the most glaring error of a program that left them 3.25 points behind their American training partners, Meryl Davis and Charlie White — 77.12 to 73.87 — in what amounts to a two-horse race.
The gap sounds small but the reality in ice dancing is very much otherwise.
And though they did their best to put a happy face on the evening’s skating, there was no disguising their disappointment in their predicament.
“You can’t tell?” said Moir, asked if he was annoyed by the judges’ marks.
“But I think it’s very easy this week — I think this is probably my favourite competition of my career, because I can care less about what the 11 (Judges) think, I care more about the 10,000 sitting behind them.”
Or, 6,000, as the case may be.
The gap, by ice dancing standards, is ...
“It’s tricky for sure,” said Virtue. “We’re further behind than we’d like to be. But I don’t think it changes our job on Saturday. We have nothing to lose, and we’re confident in Carmen (their free dance), so we look forward to skating it.”
“We’re going to see what Carmen has, that’s for sure,” said Moir.
While Davis and White, winners over Virtue and Moir at the Four Continents in Osaka last month, skated a clean and energetic combination of march, waltz and polka and earned their career-best score, the Canadians were also marked down a level for their side-by-side footwork.
“You have to assume it’s in the levels and then a little bit in the GOE (grade of execution),” Moir said. “Twizzle is obviously the easiest thing to point to, but I lost a level in the side-by-side, and those things happen. I think the way we do our twizzle is a pretty tricky element — we cover a lot of ice, and the speed’s pretty fast in that and the side-by-side, so it takes a millisecond to get out of control, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Moir said he and Virtue were happy with their performance, but that didn’t mean they didn’t care about where they are placed.
“We’re concerned about what we have to do in order to perform on the ice. It’s a judged sport, so it’s not like how many pucks I put in the net,” he said. “It’s 11 people who are going to decide, and it’s out of our hands. It’s not like we’re not concerned about placement. We spend our whole lives working toward this moment.”
And then the moment didn’t turn out the way they hoped.
“Competition’s not over yet,” Moir said. “Obviously, Carmen is a little bit of a different beast, but I think you will see a pretty excellent performance on Saturday.”
It was a much happier evening for the No. 2 Canadian team, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who were cheered right to the end of their Sound of Music medley. Weaver, who broke her leg in December and has a plate and five screws reinforcing her left fibula under her skate boot, broke down in tears — some joy, some pain — when they finished.
They stand sixth, 2.5 points off the podium.
“It was probably 90 per cent I wouldn’t be able to be here, but I clung onto that 10 per cent like nobody’s business. I didn’t want to think of the alternative,” said Weaver.
“First we dreamt that we’d make it here, and we did. And then we dreamt that we’d have the skate of our lives, and we did. All our silver linings are coming together. That’s the moment you live for, right there. It was everything.”
The third Canadian team, American-born Piper Gilles and Ottawa’s Paul Poirier skated very early in the session and their 15th place finish qualified them to skate Saturday’s free dance.
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