By The Canadian Press on January 9, 2021.
Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro won the pairs event of the virtual Skate Canada Challenge.
The two-time Canadian champions scored 135.18 points for the free skate for a total score of 206.22.
Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland, third after the short program, moved up to claim silver (172.42), while Deanna Stellato and Maxime Deschamps were third (170.65).
The second wave of COVID-19 forced Skate Canada to hold the event virtually. Skaters performed their programs at their home rinks over the past few weeks, then submitted videos, which are being broadcast – and judged in real time – in an effort to simulate a live competition.
There were no fans in the rinks, only the skaters’ coaches, a video crew, and a Skate Canada official who made sure the rules were followed.
Almost the entire Canadian team has been grounded since the global pandemic began. The world championships last March in Montreal were one of the first major international events scrapped due to COVID-19. Skate Canada International in October was also cancelled.
Keegan Messing, who won bronze at Skate America, is the lone Canadian team member who had competed prior to the Challenge.
The virtual Challenge is a qualifying event for the Canadian championships, Feb. 8-14 in Vancouver. The event is intended to be live, but with COVID-19 cases on the rise across the country, there is a chance the championship will be held virtually.
The Challenge programs for junior and senior ice dance, and senior men and women’s singles, are scheduled for Jan. 15-17. Events are being streamed on SkateCanada.ca, Jan. 15-17.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2021.