Road To The Olympic Games


Canadian ice dancers Weaver, Poje claim silver

Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje won silver in ice dancing at the NHK Trophy figure skating event Saturday.
Kaitlyn Weaver, right, and partner Andrew Poje sat in second place after their short dance program Friday in Sapporo, Japan. (Shizuo Kambayshi/Associated Press )

Canadian ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje captured their second silver medal of the Grand Prix season, finishing second Saturday at the NHK Trophy.

Their performance puts the duo from Waterloo, Ont., in good position for a spot in the Grand Prix Final next month in Quebec City.

"We laid everything on the ice today," Weaver said. "We lost one point for an extended lift which is so frustrating but we'll be only stronger for our third Grand Prix in Russia."

American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani climbed from third place after Friday's short dance to claim the gold with 151.85 points edging the Canadians, who scored 151.76. Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia were third with 149.48.

Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Aslam of Barrie, Ont., seventh after the short dance, were forced to withdraw after Paul cut the back of her thigh in a collision during the morning practice session. Paul received stitches at a local hospital after colliding with Italian duo Lorenza Alessandrini and Simone Vaturi.

Akiko Suzuki of Japan won the women's singles title while Brandon Mroz of the United States made skating history by becoming the first to land a quadruple Lutz in international competition.

Suzuki held off Mao Asada in the free skate to earn her first Grand Prix title in two seasons. Suzuki, who had an eight-point lead over Asada after the short program, made several mistakes in the final but scored 119.43 points for a total of 185.98, just 1.79 points ahead of Asada.

"I'm very happy to have won my first NHK Trophy, but I'm not at all satisfied with my free skate," Suzuki said. "I will reflect on my mistakes and try to improve them."

Russian skater Alena Leonova was third with 170.68 points, and Ashley Wagner of the United States finished fourth. Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., was ninth.

"It was an uneven day for Cynthia but she's a veteran and knows how to come back," said Skate Canada's high performance director Mike Slipchuk. "It's a long season and she'll look to return strong at nationals."

In the men's short program, Vancouver bronze medallist Daisuke Takahashi of Japan finished first, hitting all his jumps to score a personal-best 90.43 points. Takahiko Kozuka of Japan was second with 79.77.

The 20-year-old Mroz, who placed third with 74.83, hit the quadruple Lutz on his opening jump.

"I'm excited to get it done in an international competition," Mroz. "Getting another jump done is awesome for generations of skaters to come."

Mroz previously made the quadruple Lutz on Sept. 16 at the Colorado Spring Invitational, a U.S Figure Skating sanctioned event.

Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia jumped from fifth spot after the short to win the gold medal in pairs. Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan were second while world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany finished third.

Natasha Purich of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Raymond Schultz of Toronto were eighth in their season debut.

The NHK Trophy is the fourth event of the 2011 International Skating Union's Grand Prix series.

With files from The Associated Press

Broadcast Partners