Virtue and Moir a virtual lock

Canadian figure skaters, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. (DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI Agency)

Canadian figure skaters, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. (DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI Agency)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:56 PM ET

MONCTON, N.B. - Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir could do the Hokey Pokey and still win the ice dance competition at this weekend’s Canadian figure skating championships.

Of course, they won’t be skating to that particular dance, but it doesn’t matter what program or music they use, they will prevail. They’re that good.

However, this year’s nationals may be the competition where marginal skate fans finally wake up to the fact that Canada has not one, but two superb ice dance teams. In fact, Skate Canada high performance director Mike Slipchuk believes that in the not-so-distant future, the team of Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje will join Virtue and Moir, the defending Olympic champions, on the world championship podium. The last time Canada placed two skaters on a podium at a worlds was in 1993 in Prague when Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko finished 1-2.

“They missed (qualifying for) Olympics by this much, missed winning Canadians by this much, but they keep going and they moved to Detroit with (coaches) Pasquale Camerlengo and Angelika Krylova and just the change and development in them has been incredible,” said Slipchuk of the Waterloo, Ont. skaters.

“They’re in a tough situation here because they’re right behind the Olympic champions,” added the former skater. “But I was in that position and sometimes that’s not a bad place to be because you just keep doing your thing and the top people will always get more of the pressure and more of the expectation.”

Virtue and Moir will be going for their fourth title and are in great form, having won three Grand Prix events this season.

“We’ve made some pretty major changes to both of our programs since the Grand Prix Finals,” said London native Virtue. “I think this is a great chance for us to perform in front of judges and technical callers and get some feedback (before the worlds).”

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun


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