VANCOUVER — After a day of skating which had me on the edge of my seat at the national figure skating championships, here are the short program moments that caught my eye:
Ladies: Gabrielle Daleman tops Osmond
After what I would call a hit and miss kind of morning with the ladies’ short programs, Daleman took the ice. Skating second last and to Carmen, the power of the music and the character were the perfect backdrop for her clean skate, which is remarkable considering she was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday.
The music wasn’t even over, and the crowd was on its feet. Let’s call this an early birthday present as Daleman turns 20 on Saturday. The result? A 23-point lead ahead of the rest of the field and ultimately six points ahead of final skater and defending champion Kaetlyn Osmond who sits in second.
Ice Dance: Virtue, Moir chillin’ and thrillin’
Another amazing skate and another standing ovation. Virtue and Moir’s short dance was worth the price of admission on anyone’s ticket. What stands out for me is the fact that this short dance offers plenty of both sizzle (performance) and steak (the technical prowess). Virtue and Moir’s efforts were rewarded with a score of 85 and a special place in my internal catalogue of outstanding skating moments. Chills.
Pairs: Duhamel, Radford capture crowd
My favourite part of the pair’s event is easy: the moment the crowd burst into applause and exhaled after collectively holding their breath while Meagan and Eric performed their side-by-side triple Lutz. This was an element that had been giving them grief, but today it was solid. This favourite moment is closely followed by watching them as they savoured the moment, with the crowd on its feet.
Men: Patrick Chan struggles, Balde shows heart
The three-time world champion and 2014 Olympic silver medallist fought through a tentative short program. While I was glad for Chan, his performance didn’t capture my imagination as much as others.
If there was a gold medal for skating with heart it would go to Elladj Balde. In his short program to “The Sounds of Silence,” Balde’s clean skate, even with no quad, placed the crowd’s hearts in his hands. Masterful.
Stephen Gogolev, who despite turning 13 in December, has the same tricks as the guys twice his age, namely a quad/triple combination along with solid skating skills. You may want to take note of his name and tuck it away in your “for later” file.