Virtue & Moir, Chan are locks to win Canadian titles | Figure Skating | CBC Sports

Figure SkatingVirtue & Moir, Chan are locks to win Canadian titles

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | 11:51 AM

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Tessa Virtue, left, and Scott Moir are heavy favourites to win their fifth Canadian ice dance title. (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images) Tessa Virtue, left, and Scott Moir are heavy favourites to win their fifth Canadian ice dance title. (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images)

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I think the gold medallists are pretty much foregone conclusions in the dance and men's events at this week's Canadian Figure Skating Championships, but who else will end up on the podium across the board has me wondering.
I'm really looking forward to the Canadian Tire Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., this weekend.

I think the champions are pretty much foregone conclusions in the dance and men's events, but who else will end up on the podium across the board has me wondering.


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In the men's competition, I can't imagine Patrick Chan not taking his sixth consecutive title. And it seems a pretty safe bet that Kevin Reynolds will be able to take the silver medal for the second straight year.

What remains to be seen is who will take the bronze. Andrei Rogozine has been seen practicing clean quads, 2011 national bronze medallist Jeremy Ten said the same in the summer prior to being injured, and Elladj Balde is hungry to stake his claim for a national medal.

Canada gets to send three men to the world championships, and more often than not that team is decided based on performances at nationals.

There is a possible spoiler: Emanuel Sandhu. The three-time former Canadian champion has not been seen in competition since 2007, but is staging a comeback. He earned his spot by finishing fifth at a pre-nationals qualifying event on only three weeks of training.

Virtue & Moir should dominate dance

Reigning Olympic and world ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will undoubtedly win their fifth Canadian title in six years.

The rest of the podium is anybody's guess, but it seems likely that Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier will take the silver.  As last year's bronze medallists, they seem to be the most likely candidates to move up given the absence of Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who had to withdraw from Canadians while Kaitlyn  recovers from surgery.

Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill finished in 13th place at worlds in 2012 and would love the chance to represent Canada again. Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, as well as ISU Grand Prix newcomers Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams are going to do their level best to make sure that doesn't happen.

2-way battle for ladies' crown

I see the battle for the ladies' title coming down to two skaters: Defending Canadian champion Amelie Lacoste and Skate Canada surprise champion Kaetlyn Osmond.

Lacoste has the experience, but Osmond appears to have the guts it takes to compete successfully and consistently. At last year's nationals, competing as a first-year senior, Osmond grabbed the surprise lead after the short program. She has skated well all season long, winning both the Nebelhorn and Skate Canada events against very stiff competition.

Pairs rivalry renews

The pairs' event will feature a great rivalry between two very strong teams. Each has won a national title, and is looking to do the same again.

Defending champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford earned a spot in the Grand Prix Final in December on the strength of two silver medals during the season. At worlds a year ago, they finished in fifth place and have made no bones about wanting the top of the podium at nationals this year. The way to make that happen is with strong and consistent performances during every competition.

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch had a disastrous outing at last year's nationals, finishing in fourth after winning the event the year before. With another year under their belts, and a steely resolve, I would be surprised to not see them perform to their potential.

Keep your eye on two-time national bronze medallists Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers, who continue to steadily improve and who have enough tricks in their bag to be able to turn this event on its ear.

Pj's picks

Men's: Patrick Chan

Dance: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

Ladies': Kaetlyn Osmond

Pairs: Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford

Follow Pj's live updates from the Canadian championships in Mississauga and join the conversation in our live blog, starting Friday at noon ET.

You can also follow Pj on Twitter @skatingpj, and tweet with the hashtag #cbcskate to get your thoughts added to the live blog.

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