Virtue and Moir take gold at Paris Grand Prix
Canadians easily the quality of thin field in season opener
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir kicked off the Grand Prix figure-skating season in style with an ice dance gold medal at the Trophée Eric Bompard on Saturday night in France.
Skating in a cut-down field missing three of the four top-ranked ice dance teams in the world, the Canadians dominated the competition, winning each of the three skates over two days.
''This was a great way to start what will hopefully be an amazing season,'' said Moir, 22. ''It is October. so there is time for the program to grow. We're not satisfied where it is at right now but we are on track. We know what we want to make it better.''
It was Virtue and Moir's first Grand Prix appearance since 2007. A leg injury to Virtue forced the couple to skip the entire circuit last season, though they returned to capture a bronze medal at the world championships last March.
Natalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were second, with brother-sister team Sinead and John Kerr of Britain in third.
Among those not in Paris were defending world champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia, global silver medallists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the United States and 2008 world titlists Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France.
Virtue and Moir posted a score of 97.39 in their free dance but were given a two-point deduction, one for a lost earring, the other for a lift held too long.
They put in a superb program, skating to Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony, and included their trademark "touchless lift" that sees Virtue perched on Moir's back without his hands supporting her.
The Canadian pair totalled 197.71 points overall. Pechalat and Bourzat were well back at 181.64 for second with the Kerrs at 177.11 for bronze.