Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marino make their skating plans with the large crowd in mind.
It saw the duo win the Skate Canada Challenge event, a unique virtual event of pre-recorded programs, Bittersweet. After nearly a year of layoffs they were happy to compete in any style, but lamented the loss of fans.
Of all the games played in front of empty arenas between COVID-19, figure skating can be the most bitter – like a symphony orchestra in an empty concert hall.
“The competitions are definitely driven by the spectators, trying to bring them with us,” Marino said. “So that feature is completely gone. It definitely changes a lot of things. It’s definitely a different experience.”
Two-time Canadian champion Damien Rice’s daughter of “The Flowers” received 135.18 points for free skate, for a total score of 206.22. Lori-on-Made and Thierry Ferland claimed silver (172.42) in third place after a short project, while Tina Stellado and Maxim Desschamps finished third (170.65).
The second wave of COVID-19 almost forced Skate Canada to host the event. For the past few weeks skaters have been performing their shows in their home rings, then submitting videos, which are broadcast – and determined in real time – in an attempt to simulate a live match.
No fans were allowed in for the shoot, only the coaches’ coaches, a video crew and a Skate Canada official made sure the rules were followed.
Almost the entire Canadian team has been on the field since the outbreak of the global epidemic. The World Championships in Montreal last March were one of the first major international events to be abandoned due to COVID-19. Skate Canada International was also canceled in October.
The Virtual Challenge is a qualifying match for the Canadian Championship, February 8-14 in Vancouver. The event is supposed to be live, but with COVID-19 cases on the rise across the country, the championship is almost certain to take place.