Last dance for champs?

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

They wouldn't call it a farewell, at least not just yet.

But if this was indeed their last dance at the Canadian figure skating championships, two of the country's most decorated ice dance teams in recent years did it up right yesterday afternoon.

Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon scooped up their fourth national senior ice dance title before 5,783 at the Civic Centre, setting the stage for a dream medal quest at next month's Turin Olympics.

Their thirtysomething competitors and friends, Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe, are also off to Italy after outlasting precocious teens Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for the silver medal.

Was yesterday their swan song? In some ways, it sure sounded like it, though both teams say they won't make any decisions until after the world championships in March in Calgary.

"When we skated, we thought of it as our last (Canadians) and we skated it as our last," said Lauzon, 30, of Boisbriand, Que. "But it might not be. We don't know. But it was amazing to skate with that feeling. It was very emotional."

Their romantic Somewhere In Time program, which celebrates the couple's love for each other, captivated the audience. It's the program Dubreuil and Lauzon believe will carry them to the Olympic podium. The 107.76 points it earned them yesterday surpassed the free program season best recorded by reigning world champs Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov of Russia.

They finished with a 212.10 total.

"It's not yet perfect," said Dubreuil, 31, of Montreal. "It just needs fine tuning. Every little detail at this point will count."

Wing and Lowe won't be in the medal mix in Turin. But after 17 trips to the Canadian championships and 10 senior medals, they're relieved to finally get the chance to live their Olympic dream.

It was close. Virtue and Moir finished ahead of Wing and Lowe, their training mates in Detroit, in both the original and free dances. But they couldn't overcome a 5.1-point deficit after the compulsory dance. Wing and Lowe finished with a 187.58 total; Virtue and Moir 184.88.

"It was a huge, huge, huge relief," said Lowe, 31. "We were prepared for the worst, if we didn't make the team. We just wanted to be humble about it and thankful. Scott and Tessa are our friends."

The two teens echoed the sentiment. Neither was even born when Wing and Lowe started skating together in 1986.

"We've definitely grown up watching them and looking up to them as role models" said Virtue, 16, of London.

Lowe was happy to pay off an old high school bet. He'd told a friend in Vancouver, Alex Tong, that he'd give Tong his Gucci watch if he ever made the Olympic team (Tong text-messaged Lowe a reminder about it yesterday morning). Consider the wager paid off in full.

"It's fine with me. I've been dying to get rid of it," said Lowe with a grin.

Chantal Lefebvre and Arnseniy Markov of the Minto Skating Club finished fourth, while Mylene Girard of Repentigny, Que., and Ottawa's Brad Yaeger wound up fifth. Both will also head to Four Continents.

Minto's Siobhan Karam and Joshua McGrath of Ottawa, who train in Detroit, wound up seventh in their senior debut.

"It was a good way to culminate the season," said McGrath, 20.


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