Figure Skating

The Canadian Press - Sunday Oct. 20, 2013 17:24 ET

Moore-Towers, Moscovitch win pairs silver at Skate America

Russia's Volosozhar, Trankov set new world record

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Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch set a personal best score en route to the silver medal in pairs on Sunday at Skate America, the first stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

World champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia won the gold medal with 237.71 points, Moore-Towers and Moscovitch followed at 208.45 and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia were third at 187.35. It was the same top-three order after Saturday's short program.

"This is the kind of start we definitely wanted in an Olympic year," said Moscovitch, from Toronto. "It's a confirmation that we are doing the right thing with our programs. And we know there is still a lot of room for improvement."

Moore-Towers and Moscovitch's previous best overall score was 199.50 set in a fourth place finish at the world championships last season.

"It's really been a combination of factors that's helped us achieve these scores this early in the season," said Moore-Towers from St. Catharines, Ont. "Our programs are a lot more consistent and we are a lot better at telling a story when we perform."

Margaret Purdy of Strathroy, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., were eighth.

The Canadians were also pleased with their performance, seeing it as a building block to develop their Olympic season. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch had some slight errors, such as his step-out on their side-by-side triple salchows.

The free skate, to a "Fellini Medley" by Nino Rota, was not their original concept when they started preparing for the year. They didn't feel a strong connection to the first program, and switched to the Fellini selection for a better spirit.

The pair said the Skate America scores for the program validated their decision.

"Both feel that this is the program that will take us where we want to go," Moscovitch said.

In women's singles competition, Japan's Mao Asada beat American Ashley Wagner to take the championship.

Asada, the leader going into the free skate, won despite a fall on her triple axel and a two-footed landing on her triple lutz. She scored 204.55 points, thanks to her elevated technical difficulty. Wagner, the 2012 Skate America champion, finished with 193.81.

Russia's Elena Radionova, only 14, finished third at 183.95 in her first ISU Grand Prix event.

"I am not completely satisfied with my performance today," Asada said, through a translator. "This was a learning experience."

Asada scored higher than Wagner in each of the five program component elements, more than overcoming a one-point deduction for falling.

On Saturday, American Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the ice dance event, while Japan's Tatsuki Machida claimed the men's title.

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