Sale, Pelletier retain pairs crown


AFP

Jamie Sale and David Pelletier won the pairs title at the Four Continents figure skating competition Thursday, a confidence-boosting repeat victory prior to the World Championships in their home country of Canada.

“Our long program felt really amazing,” Pelletier said. “Two weeks ago at Nationals it didn’t really feel good. We wanted to do a much, much better thing here, to feel more relaxed.

“Skating to win is not fun,but skating to enjoy it is,” he added. “That is what we focused on today.”

It worked. The pair received one perfect 6.0 for artistic presentation.

“We’re definitely capable of skating like that,” Sale said. “We need to remember how we were here and take it to the next competition.”

Mainland China’s Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo were second, their confidently skated program briefly moving them into first before Sale and Pelletier skated.

“We thought we did a wonderful job,” Zhao said. “Also the other top athletes did such good quality skates.”

Tatiana Malinina of Uzbekistan was the leader after the women’s short program, ahead of Japanese national champion Fumie Suguri and her compatriot Shizuka Arakawa.

Suguri was in medal contention despite a fall on her triple flip.

“I got nervous going into it,” she said. “That’s why I was too slow and fell. Overall the program was much better than at Nationals… The skating and the footwork were much better.

“My goal is to give it 100 percent in the free skating. I didn’t do that yet this season, so I hope to do it now.”

Angela Nikodinov, the reigning Four Continents women’s champion and bronze medalist at the US championships already this year, was mired in seventh place after an error-strewn short program.

American veteran Todd Eldredge skated conservatively to take the lead after the men’s short program, while Canadians Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz remained in the lead in the ice dance after the original dance.