Close to perfection, judges seemed to say. Not far off it.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir claimed victory in the Latin short dance with a score of 85.12, and that is only .18 short of all they can possibly get if they max out their components and grades of execution.
On the other hand, former world silver medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje dropped to fourth place with 70.31 after Poje fell on the first set of three twizzles. And received o points at all for that element.
It all happened so fast. Poje lost an edge he said. The next moment he was on his hands, and shocked and trying to peel his way back for the next move.
This left Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier in second place with 78.37 points – a first for them. “This is a new place for us, being ahead of Kaitlyn and Andrew going into the free dance,” Poirier said. “We’re going to have to make sure we are in the right frame of mind.
“We just have to trust the training we have done and don’t try to do anything extra to cement that.”
Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus are in third place with 70.97, only .66 points ahead of Weaver and Poje.
Although they are so easily in first place, it wasn’t easy for Virtue and Moir. “We actually had to fight for it,” Virtue said. “The elements didn’t come easily but I think it’s a testament to our training that we were able to maintain our composure to execute them as well as we did.”
Moir said he felt the same. “Sometimes you have to fight and there is a tendency to go a little scratchy.
“You want those gritty performances leading to the Olympic Games.”
Virtue did not hear the gasp that went up when Poje, skating before them, fell on the twizzles. But Moir did. And it affected him.
“There is a friendship there with Kaitlyn and Andrew as well as being competitors,” Moir said. “We always want them to skate their best…It’s a particular reminder to us that we’ve really got to focus on every move.
“It sapped my energy in a different way,” he said. “I was feeling very free. It was a great thing for me to refocus but I feel bad for them.”
He doesn’t think Weaver and Poje’s wobble will mean anything in the long run. Everybody knows who they are, he said. A strong free could put them back in their place.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Poje said. ”Knowing the training and the preparation we had for this event, we felt really strong and we were really ready to attack the program. To have that performance today was kind of deflating.”
They are treating this as a learning experience. Weaver said she had already put it behind her. “We’ve moved on,” she said. “The good thing is that we had amazing training coming into this and that is not lost.”
Weaver said she had empathy for Poje. “I know how hard he works and how strong we felt, especially on that element,” she said of the twizzle that has been “sticky” for them in the past.
“The biggest role for me is supportive,” she said. “He knows that I’ll still love him, no matter what.”
Ad she noted they did feel the love from the crowd. “”They don’t need to clap to help you,” Weaver said “And they do. And they get behind us and they know we are having a rough go and we’re grateful for that.”