Records were falling everywhere in the pairs free skate at the Canadian figure skating championships Saturday night, as three teams punched their ticket for Sochi.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, contenders for the podium at next month's Olympics, won their third consecutive national pairs title, scoring 137.82 in the free skate, for a combined score of 213.62 for the weekend after placing first in Friday's short program. Their combined score was a Canadian record.
Only moments earlier, the team of Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch broke the Canadian record, with a score of 134.48 in the long program, for a combined 209.44. It was a scene reminiscent of last years Canadian championships, where Moore-Towers and Moscovitch broke the Canadian record, but had it taken away by Duhamel and Radford before they could unlace their skates.
We don't know what they did before us, but we did hear [on the public address system] a new Canadian record," Duhamel said. "Just like last year, deja vu, we had to go on the ice and break another record, and it wasn't easy."
Moore-Towers joked about being the Canadian record holder, once more, for such a short time. "I'd like to keep it one of these times," she said.
But Moscovitch said the rivalry has made both teams better in the lead up to the Olympics.
"Every year everyone seems to be raising the bar and improving, and it's showing in our international scores as well. It's not just a national thing," he said. "And I think it's great because it hopefully filters down through all pairs skating in the country."
Though the Olympic team won't be formally announced until Sunday at noon, it appears Duhamel and Radford and Moore-Towers and Moscovitch will be joined in Sochi by Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers. Canada has three spots available in the pairs event in Sochi, and Lawrence and Sweigers scored 114.64 in the long program, for a combined score of 176.31, giving them third place.
Natasha Purich and Mervin Tran scored 110.36 points in the long skate, for a combined score of 170.4, putting them in fourth and out of the running for their first Olympics.
Though the Sochi spots aren't set in stone yet -- a committee of Canadian officials will formally decide the roster before noon Sunday -- Lawrence said she was elated to have put herself in a good position to be at the Olympics. "I don't have many words to express what I'm feeling right now," she said. "I'm just so happy and so relieved. It's been a dream of mine for a really long time."
"There's really nothing you can say," added Swiegers. "Knowing that now it's up to a committee to decide, we've done everything we can. We're really excited."