Canuck champs chunk it

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

GOTEBORG, Sweden -- A Canadian championship and 15 Kroner will get you a cup of cafe.

Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay won the Canadian pairs title in January but made a mess out of it as they skated together competitively for the first time since then yesterday. It was the hope of Skate Canada that their top skaters would put themselves in position to be considered medal contenders for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

That certainly happened with Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison, the 2007 Canadian pairs champions who sit fourth after the short program. There were no high expectations for Meagan Duhamel and Craig Buntin with the latter skating injured. Placing seventh was about right.

But the new champs?

They made several minor mistakes which added up to major damage and left them in ninth going into today's pairs skating final.

"It was a little disappointing. Coming off nationals we were very excited. Now we feel a little down after this," said Grande Prairie product Hay of the skate which gave them 59.43 on a night when they were not at their best.

While the pair was forced to miss the Four Continents competition following Canadians because Langlois passed a kidney stone and had a displaced rib problem, the 26-year-old from Grand-Mere, Que., said there were no excuses.

"We had the same time to prepare as all the teams that came back from Korea," she said. "That's not the reason we skated like that."

Hay touched down on a triple toe loop, for starters.

"Our triple twist lift was definitely messy today," said Langlois.

Hay said being Canadian champs didn't add pressure.

"All it did was add confidence. We trained exactly the same. We were itching to go. It was just a bunch of little mistakes," he said.

For Dube and Davison it was a solid, clean skate.

"It felt real nice out there," said Davison, the Huntsville, Ont., native who skates out of the hometown of his partner in Drummondville, Que.

"That's the most fun I've had with a short program this year. It just felt great."

The duo scored 68.66.

Dan Zhang and Haoi Zhang of China lead with 74.36 points followed by Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany (72.00) and Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov of Russia (71.42).

Duhamel and Buntin were awarded 60.01 points.

"We're happy," said Buntin, the North Vancouver product who trains out of his partner's hometown of St. Leonard, Que. "A month ago, we weren't going to be here ... I have a torn labral tendon. I'm scheduled for surgery next week."


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