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Canadian skaters lead with strong short programs at Four Continents

Gabrielle Daleman of Canada competes in the Ladies Short Program at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Gangneung, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.

Ahn Young-joon/AP

Canada's Gabrielle Daleman and Kaetlyn Osmond dominated the women's short program at the ISU Four Continents figure skating championships on Thursday.

Canada's Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir also lead after the short program.

Daleman opened her program to music from the ballet "Herodiade" with a triple toe-triple toe combination en route to scoring 68.25 points. Her only miscue was a slight bobble on the landing of her triple Lutz.

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"It was a fight tonight, but I'm happy with what I was able to accomplish and with the overall package," said the 19-year-old from Newmarket, Ont. "It's been great competing in Korea for my second Four Continents and it is just so motivational and inspiring to compete in the Olympic rink."

The Four Continents is a test event for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Osmond, a 21-year-old from Marystown, N.L., fell on the landing of her double Axel and was second with 68.21 points. Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan was third with 66.87.

Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., scored 79.75 points for their program to music by Prince.

"Tessa and I were pretty happy actually with our performance," Moir said. "We made a little bit of a technical error in the middle of it, so it's not ideal obviously, especially in the short program where we really have to capitalize on those technical points. But we came out and felt like we attacked it. We've been training this program really hard."

Virtue and Moir are undefeated since returning to competition after a two-year hiatus, and have their sights set on reclaiming Olympic gold.

"It feels extremely special to perform in this venue a year before the Games," Moir said. "We tried to soak that up as much as we could today."

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Defending Four Continents champions Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States were second with 76.59, followed by teammates Madison Chock and Evan Bates with 74.67.

In pairs, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China finished first with 80.75 points after the short program. While Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang, also from China, were second with 75.20 points. Canada's two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were third with 74.31.

Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., fell on the side-by-side triple Lutz.

"I felt that our performance took a step up from our national championships," Radford said. "It's unfortunate about the Lutz, but it can't be perfect all the time. They've been really, really good for me for the last month. As always I'll learn from this, take that mistake and do better in the long program."

The men's short program and the ice dance free dance are on Friday.

The Four Continents is a tune-up event for next month's world championships in Helsinki.

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