Figure Skating-Canadian skaters eye gold in new team event

Wed Feb 5, 2014 10:33am EST
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SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Figure skaters will temporarily put aside their pursuit of individual glory in a new team event debuting at the Sochi Games and Canada's skaters are eager to get their hands on the gold.

"It's awesome. It's a great idea. In a sense it is kind of crowning the best figure skating nation in the world," said pairs skater Dylan Moscovitch, who finished fourth at last year's world championships with partner Kirsten Moore-Towers.

"We are definitely looking forward to the opportunity for our country to win gold ... that would be our goal but let's see."

Team mate Meagan Duhamel, who placed just ahead of the pair at worlds with Eric Radford, was a little less diplomatic.

"I am just going to add that we did qualify in first place," she chirped.

The debut of an event in a sport that has long been famed for individual rivalries is still a novelty to many of the skaters in Sochi.

The United States, host nation Russia and Japan will be Canada's top rivals to win the gold medal.

"We were all a little envious of the speed skaters, swimmers and those events where they had multiple chances at a medal," Radford said. "Skating was for the longest time an event in which you had one shot at a medal."

But the new competition format - in which 10 nations perform a short program in men's, women's, pairs and ice dancing and five will move on to a free skate - also raises some questions for competitors and fans.   Continued...

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Canada perform during the pairs short programme at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan December 6, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato