World figure skating championships: Weaver, Poje set on gold
Disappointing showing at Four Continents has 'stoked our fire, hardcore'
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje know a world gold medal is within their grasp.
So after a disappointing third-place finish at the Four Continents championships in February, the two returned to their base in Detroit to put in what would be the toughest five weeks of training of their careers.
"It stoked our fire, hardcore," Weaver said. "And we made a pact to leave no stone unturned, to push as hard as we possibly could so that following this event we would have no regrets, and I think that we absolutely did that."
Weaver, a 27-year-old from Toronto, and the 29-year-old Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are top-ranked in the world, and have won all but two events they've competed in over the past two seasons. They went into last year's world championships in Shanghai on a perfect season, only to end up third.
Their other misstep was the bronze at Four Continents a few weeks ago, that Weaver referred to as a "wakeup call to keep us grounded."
So they returned to the practice ice with a greater purpose. It wasn't about training more, but training better.
"We didn't want to overwork ourselves so that we were exhausted going into the competition," Poje said. "But we wanted to make sure that we utilized every moment and whenever we questioned if we should do something again, we would just do it. We wanted to make sure that ... every single time we went out there, and performed a section, we were trying to put on a performance, we were trying to better it, we weren't just trying to equal it."
Weaver and Poje were seventh at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and then won silver at the world championships in a depleted field a few weeks later.
Their stiffest competition this week in Boston should be the American teams of Madison Chock and Evan Bates and siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani.
Gold is anybody's game, Weaver said. And it wasn't always that way. Before the sport revamped its scoring system in the wake of the 2002 Salt Lake City scandal, ice dance results were "kind of predictable," she said. "And maybe not in the most positive of ways."
"[Now] it really depends on the day, it depends on who brings their very best, and I'd like to think that Andrew and I are definitely in that running and it's exciting. It's great for the audience and I think it makes for a good sport to watch. You want to make it a sport too."
Next season, Weaver and Poje will have to contend with a rival duo they know very well. Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir announced last month that they are returning after a two-year break.
Virtue and Moir have two world titles to their name, along with two world silver medals and a bronze. The news took Weaver and Poje by surprise, but for now, their minds are on who's in Boston.
"Our focus is competing against the absolute best we can possibly compete against, and we're going to be the best we can, and this week is where the best are, so that's where our focus is," Poje said after practice at TD Garden.
As for thinking about what the return of Virtue and Moir might mean, Weaver said, "I think we've filed that for the future ... if that," Weaver added. "It's all about us right now."
The short dance is Wednesday. Canada's other two ice dance entries are Piper Gilles of Toronto and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., and Elisabeth Paradis of Loretteville, Que., and Francois-Xavier Ouellette of Laval, Que.