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Canada's Moore-Towers, Moscovitch skate to pairs bronze at ISU Grand Prix

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Canada compete during the pairs free skating program at the Cup of China ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Shanghai November 5, 2011. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Carlos Barria/Reuters

Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch captured bronze in pairs Saturday on the third stop of the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit, their second third-place finish this season.

The performance puts the Canadian champions in good position to qualify for next month's Grand Prix Final in Quebec City.

Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia won the gold medal with 186.74 points. Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao of China were second with a score of 177.67, while Moore-Towers and Moscovitch, from Waterloo, Ont., scored 172.04 for third.

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"It wasn't an ideal skate for us and we had to work through it," said Moscovitch. "We made some unusual mistakes. But it was very important to get a medal here against such a strong field."

Taylor Steele of Waterloo and Robert Schultz of Puslinch, Ont., were seventh in their season debut.

"It was good for the first time out," said Schultz.

American Jeremy Abbott came back from a fall on his opening jump to edge Japan's Nobunari Oda for the men's title.

Abbott was in third place following Friday's short program, but took gold after disastrous performances by the two men ahead of him after the short, Russia's Artur Gachinski and Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu.

Two-time U.S. champion Abbott finished with an overall total of 228.49 points, just 1.38 ahead of Oda. Nan Song of China was third.

Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., was seventh, scoring the second-highest technical score for a program that included two clean quad jumps. He also nailed a triple-triple-triple combo for the first time in his career.

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"It was my first time with this long program and there were some good moments," said Reynolds. "There are some things to improve upon but it's a decent start."

Canada didn't have any entries in women's competition and ice dancing.

Italy's Carolina Kostner wobbled on a couple of landings of her own, but held on to beat American Mirai Nagasu for the women's title with 182.14 points. Nagasu ended with 173.22.

In the ice dancing, Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev skated a flawless free dance to take the title with 163.52 points, finishing well ahead of Maia and Alex Shibutani of the United States in second with 148.40.

Abbott, who did not match Gachinski and Hanyu by doing a quadruple jump in the short program, fell on his opening jump in the free skate, a quad toe loop. He also singled a triple Axel, but didn't take another spill.

"The first thing you learn in skating is to fall down and stand back up," Abbott said. "You never want to fall in a competition, but I guess mine came off the top of my program and if I were to let it affect me, then I have a whole four minutes and 15 seconds of torture left so I try to just put it behind me."

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Kostner, who has won a silver and two bronze medals at the world championships, made up for a close loss at Skate America two weeks ago when American Alissa Czisny beat her by 0.13 points for the title.

With the win, Kostner also became the first skater to qualify for the ISU Grand Prix Final. Kostner said she was happy with the way she's been skating this year, especially coming after her 16th-place finish at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

"After Vancouver it was a big question for me if I should just go on skating because it was quite a bad experience and when I took a longer break I just realized that I loved skating," Kostner said.

Nagasu, who trailed Kostner by less than a point after the short program, landed five triple jumps in her performance, putting pressure on the Italian to land her six planned triples.

Kostner bobbled the landing of her second jump, a triple flip, and didn't perform a planned triple-triple combination. Toward the end of the program, she wavered on another landing and singled a double loop at the end of the combination.

However, she didn't have any falls in the performance, giving her just enough to beat the American.

Kostner said that, since she skated last, the condition of the ice made it difficult for her to nail her landings.

"On the landings, it was a little difficult to hold it stable, but you just do the best you can and you have to accept what you get," she said.

Fifteen-year-old world junior champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia finished third after an error-plagued program.


With files from The Associated Press.

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