An uplifting result

SHANE ROSS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Paul Poirier's teacher should forgive him if he has a hard time concentrating when he returns to school tomorrow. He just had one of the most exciting weekends of his life.

Poirier, a Grade 12 student at Etienne Brule in North York, and ice dance partner Vanessa Crone skated the best performance of their young careers in the free dance yesterday to move up three spots after the original dance and win silver at Skate Canada International at Scotiabank Place.

"It'll be exciting for sure," said Poirier, who turns 17 next Thursday, of his return to school. "All my friends will have made me a poster when I get back. They do that every time I get back from a competition and it's always such a nice feeling that not only are people here supporting me in the audience, but people at home are supporting me, too."

STANDING OVATION

Yesterday's crowd of 4,283 and the 4,871 Saturday were the most they've ever competed for, and it was the first time they've received a standing ovation.

"At junior Grand Prix, there's normally like 10 people in the audience," said Crone, who just turned 18 and takes Grade 12 courses online from Toronto.

"From a skater's point of view, it is the nicest thing when the crowd gets up and starts clapping for you. It makes you feel loved and proud about what you just did for Canada. Our free dance was a good as we could do it."

Meryl Davis and Charlie White and of the U.S., who led throughout the weekend, won gold. France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat took bronze.

"We think we're on track for where we want to be for the 2010 Olympics and, more importantly, in six years for the 2014 Olympics, which is when we want to be at the top," Poirier said.

The teens performed like seasoned veterans, dancing to Doce de Coco. Several lifts showed off Poirier's strength and Crone's agility.

"We definitely do strength training, but we don't do weights because we don't want to bulk up -- it's not as esthetic-looking. You want the long lines and (weight training) makes you heavier, which takes more energy to move yourself around the ice," said Poirier. "It's finding the balance of gaining the strength, but not gaining the weight or the muscle mass."

The other Canadians competing, Guillame Gfeller and Andrea Chong, finished last. Canadian champions Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue withdrew so Virtue could recover from leg surgery.


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