Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir held a slender lead over US pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White after yesterday’s short program in the ice dance competition at the Four Continents figure skating championships at the Taipei Arena.
The Canadians are seeking their third victory over Davis and White in less than a year after claiming gold at last year’s Winter Olympics and World Championships.
“We didn’t expect too much from this year’s competition since we have been hit by injuries for a good part of 2010,” Virtue said after their program.
She underwent surgery to treat chronic exertional compartment syndrome on both her shins last year.
Another Canadian pair, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, were lying third with Maia and Alex Shibutani fourth.
In the pairs short program, favorites China’s Qing Pang and Jian Tong wowed the crowd with a perfectly choreographed triple toeloop and triple lutz twist lift to take a massive lead and put themselves in a commanding position to win their fifth Four Continents title.
For Virtue and Moir, the advantage was far less secure.
The Canadian couple scored 69.40 points compared with 69.01 for their US rivals.
“It was exciting for Tess and I to get back on the ice,” said Moir, who described their performance as “comfortable and strong.”
Virtue and Moir combined precision, fluency and elegance, but they will have to be at their best to stay ahead of Davis and White when the ice dance competition concludes today.
“It’s definitely a good start,” Virtue said.
White, however, was disappointed about his performance with Davis.
“It probably wasn’t our best skating,” White said. “Technically it could have been a little bit better.”
In the pairs competition, Pang and Tong scored 71.41 points, well ahead of Canadian duo Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers, who were second on 59.98.
Noon: Men’s short program
16:45: Pairs free skating
20:00: Ice dancing free dance