It’s the veterans versus the youngsters in the ice dance competition at Skate Canada this week. But it’s almost certain that, even before anyone takes the ice, the top spot has already been secured, with the rest of the teams going after the silver and bronze medals, with a new American team and two young Russian teams ready to make their mark early in the season.
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WATCH: Virtue/Moir Finlandia free dance
In many ways, this event will be similar to Skate America, only Skate America winners Meryl Davis and Charlie White will be replaced by likely Skate Canada winners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. With the withdrawal of European champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje are the favorites for the silver, though there are definitely dark horses lurking.
NOTE: As of Wednesday morning, no replacement has been announced after Pechalat and Bourzat’s withdrawal.
GOLD Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir CAN – In a stark contrast to last season, where the Canadians did not compete until the winter, Skate Canada will be Virtue and Moir’s second competition already, having won Finlandia Trophy. Davis and White set the mark last week at Skate America, and it’s time for their training mates and rivals to take their turn at impressing the judges. The title itself is more-or-less guaranteed, the competition is about feedback for their new programs on the Grand Prix stage.
SILVER Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje CAN – Now firmly second-in-command for Canadian dance, Weaver and Poje are coming into the season after a career-high fifth at Worlds. They are surely the favorites for the silver in their first international of the season.
BRONZE Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte ITA – Missing in action for part of last season, the Italians came back at Worlds to break the top ten for the first time in their career. They are the clearest threat to Weaver and Poje for the silver. And for the time being, they are carrying the flag for Italian ice dancing with Faiella and Scali still out of competition indefinitely.
4. Madison Chock/Evan Bates USA – Two former World junior champs from different teams, put them together and it might be a good match. And if the Finlandia Trophy judges were any indication (they placed Chock and Bates third in their first international competition together), this team has a bright future ahead.
WATCH: Chock/Bates Finlandia short dance
5. Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko RUS – It was a bit of a strange season for the young Russians, who finished second at Russians but proceeded to miss the World team after being the third highest-ranked Russian team at Europeans. Their Grand Prix season last year was also uneven, with a fifth and then a second. Incidentally, Riazanova’s former partner, Jonathan Guerreiro, will also be at Skate Canada.
6. Ekaterina Pushkash/Jonathan Guerreiro RUS – The World junior silver medalists are making their senior debut at Skate Canada. Guerreiro is recovering from a foot injury he suffered during the off-season.
7. Tarrah Harvey/Keith Gagnon CAN – Fifth at Canadians last season, Harvey and Gagnon are making their first appearance at a Grand Prix event this week.
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