REGINA, Saskatchewan — Ice dance world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir channeled their inner Mick Jagger, while Canadian teammate Kaetlyn Osmond picked up right where she left off.
Virtue and Moir posted a world-best score in the short program Friday and are poised to capture their seventh Skate Canada International title to kick off their final competitive season. World silver winner Osmond reeled off three huge triple jumps for a seven-point lead in women’s singles. Russian skaters Anna Pogorilaya (69.05) and Maria Sotskova (66.10) were second and third.
“We don’t have a choice. We want to win this competition; we knew we had to post a score like that in order to be on top,” Moir said.
Canada’s Olympic gold (2010) and silver medalists (2014) earned 82.68 points, topping their previous world best of 82.43 winning the world championships last spring. Kaitlyn Weaver of Toronto and Andrew Poje of Canada, were second with 77.47, while Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue third (76.08).
Japan’s Shoma Uno led the men’s event by nine points after the short program. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada was second and Jason Brown of the United States stood third.
“Is it easy for anyone to channel Mick Jagger?” said Moir, the neck of his black shirt cut nearly to his navel.
“He does it well though, doesn’t he?” Virtue chimed in.
Their energetic program shifted to a rhumba-mixed “Hotel California” by the Eagles, and by the time they’d struck their final dramatic pose to Santana’s “Oye Como Va,” the crowd was on its feet.
“It’s certainly rewarding, we’ve been working so hard technically,” said the 28-year-old Virtue. “It gave us the freedom to add some different expression and bring some fresh energy to the actual performance, which we always love, to bring some spontaneity. At this point in the year, when we’ve been working on the same thing over and over and over again, it makes it extra fun when you know you have a solid base to work from.”
Virtue and the 30-year-old Moir have made a sensational return to competition after a two-year hiatus, going undefeated thus far in their comeback.
“It’s our last (Skate Canada), and we’re really taking it in,” Moir said. “It’s funny, in 2014 (the Sochi Olympics season), we really tried not to be too sentimental. This year we’re really just soaking it all in as much as we can.”
In pairs, Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot led with a score of 77.34. Two-time world pairs champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were second after the short program.
Skate Canada is part of the ISU Grand Prix circuit. Skaters compete in two events each, and the top six scorers in each of the four disciplines earn a spot in the Grand Prix Final in December.