Ice dancers aiming high

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon can picture the perfect finish to their ice dance careers.

The Montreal couple, which wrapped up its third senior ice dance title yesterday at the Canadian figure skating championships, say the end of the line for them is a year away.

And they'd like to say farewell in 2006 with medals at the Turin Olympics and the ensuing world championships in Calgary.

"We want to be on the podium next year in Torino and Calgary," said Dubreuil, 30. "It would be really nice to retire going away with a medal."

For that to happen, Dubreuil and Lauzon believe they've got to be "close to the podium" at this year's worlds in Moscow. They were eighth last year, but feel the new scoring system gives them a chance to move up. They were fifth at last month's Grand Prix final in Beijing, a gain of one spot over last season.

"Now it's possible to move up in the rankings," said Dubreuil. "Before, where you started in the compulsory is where you stayed."

Where Dubreuil and the 29-year-old Lauzon stayed this week, from wire to wire, was top spot. They finished the job yesterday with a Native American-themed program that earned 111.07 points, giving them a personal-best 217.54 total.

That was nearly 23 points better than Vancouver's Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe (194.59), who held off the Minto Skating Club duo of Chantal Lefebvre and Arseniy Markov (188.08) for the silver medal.

Wing and Lowe hope to make a move of their own in Moscow. Staying second here was a start.

"It's huge," said Lowe, 30. "We had to skate under pressure -- (the gap) between us and third wasn't even a point (after the original dance). Now we're going for that top 10 (at worlds)."

COSTLY ERRORS

Lefebvre and Markov had visions of moving up a spot on the podium, especially after beating Wing and Lowe in the original dance. But two major errors, on a twizzle and closing lift, cost them yesterday.

"Not today, not here," said Markov.

Their relatively new free dance was skated to techno-style modern music, a huge contrast to Wing and Lowe's choice of traditional Greek music.

"We tried to be different, more refreshing, more funky," said Lefebvre, 27, of LaSalle, Que.

Yesterday's result won't hurt them in the immediate future -- Lefebvre and the Moscow-born Markov weren't eligible for this year's world or Four Continents championships. Markov expects to receive his permanent residency card in the next few weeks, which will set the couple up to skate on the Grand Prix circuit in the fall, as well as next year's worlds.

Once Markov obtains Canadian citizenship, they're eligible to represent the country in Turin.


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