Short programs offer steak and sizzle at skating nationals

VANCOUVER — After a day of skating which had me on the edge of my seat at the Canadian National Figure Skating Championships, here are the moments that stood out from the short programs in each discipline:

Ladies: Gabrielle Daleman tops Osmond after short

After what I would call a hit and miss kind of morning with the ladies’ short programs, Daleman took the ice. Skating second last and to Carmen, the power of the music and the character were the perfect backdrop for her clean skate, which is remarkable considering she was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday.

The music wasn’t even over, and the crowd was on its feet. Let’s call this an early birthday present as Gabby turns 20 on Saturday. The result? A 23-point lead ahead of the rest of the field and ultimately six points ahead of final skater and defending champion Kaetlyn Osmond who sits in second place.

Gabrielle Daleman took the lead in the ladies competition on Friday, despite being diagnosed with pneumonia, to top rival Kaetlyn Osmond by six points at the national figure skating championships. (Kevin Light/CBC Sports )

Ice Dance: Virtue, Moir take a bow  

Another amazing skate and another standing ovation. Virtue and Moir’s short dance was worth the price of admission on anyone’s ticket. What stands out for me is the fact that this short dance offers both sizzle (performance) and steak (the technical prowess) in huge quantities. Virtue and Moir’s efforts were rewarded with a score of 85 and a special place in my internal catalogue of outstanding skating moments. Chills.

Pairs: Duhamel, Radford win crowd

My favourite moment in the pair’s event is easy: the moment the crowd burst into applause and exhaled after collectively holding their breath while Meagan and Eric performed their side by side triple Lutz jumps. This was an element that had been giving them grief and was solid today. This favourite moment is closely followed by watching them as they savoured the moment on the ice of their last clean skate at a Canadian National Championships, with the crowd on its feet all around them.

CBC Sports’ Scott Russell joined Heather Hiscox to preview the field at Canada’s National Skating Championships, as the event gets underway Friday in Vancouver 5:59

Men: Patrick Chan struggles, Balde show heart

The three-time world champion and 2014 Olympic silver medallist fought through a tentative short program. While I was glad for Chan, his performance didn’t capture my imagination in the way that the following…

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