Canadians prove they're a rising force at figure skating worlds
Canada comes home from Milan with women's gold and ice dance bronze
MILAN, ITALY — Getting to compete at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships is a dream come true for any skater. The 2018 edition was particularly important for the Canadian team.
Over the last 10 years or so, Canada has been in the enviable position of having great skaters perform at the worlds. There's been a sort of safety net in place with the participation of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and Patrick Chan leading the brigade. But this year was different.
Without your typical household names, other skaters needed to step up and I love the fact that at these world championships, skaters understood what they needed to do and delivered accordingly.
Lesser known skaters impress
In the pairs event, despite an ankle injury that must have been killing her during the skate, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro stepped up and pushed through. I said to Kirsten after the free skate that if I hadn't known about the injury before their skate, I wouldn't have known it from watching them compete.
"Good, that's what I wanted," Moore-Towers said to me. By finishing sixth overall in the pairs event, Moore-Towers and Marinaro clinched two spots for Canadian pairs at next year's worlds.
The same thing happened in the men's event. The reigning national silver medallist, Keegan Messing was the lone Canadian man to skate the free program. The look on his face at the end of his charming Charlie Chaplin-inspired free program said he wasn't as happy with himself as he would have liked. Regardless, the rookie's efforts and an 8th place finish overall means two Canadian men will be at Worlds in 2019.
Veteran ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje took the lead for the Canadians in Milan with their return to the podium and a third worlds medal, this one a bronze. Their efforts, combined with the sixth-place finish from Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier ensures that three teams will be in Saitama, Japan next year. Honourable mention goes to Carolanne Soucisse and Shane Firus for finishing in 14th place in their first trip to the World Championships.
Kaetlyn Osmond, as the Olympic bronze medallist from 2018 was certainly on everybody's radar as a contender for the podium, especially as the defending world silver medallist. Rather than worrying about the results, Osmond elected to simply skate and see what happened. Great strategy. For only the second time this season, Osmond skated a clean program. She won the free skate and moved all the way up from fourth to take the world title. This was the first world women's title for a Canadian in 45 years, and only the fourth time that it has ever happened.
Do I think this was a good Worlds for Canada? You bet. For the skaters on the Canadian team, they demonstrated no safety net is needed. For the rest of us, we are assured there's lots of great Canadian talent on the horizon.