Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje Twizzle Into the Top Five

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje at 2011 Worlds

The heartbreak of not making the 2010 Canadian Olympic team has passed, but it is not forgotten.

So it is, as Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje revel in their greatest leap forward on the World stage, that they can connect the dots directly from one of their lowest moments to the present. And both agree, one could not have happened without the other.

Weaver and Poje are still reveling in the fifth-place finish they earned at the 2011 World Championships in Moscow in April. The fetching Canadian couple said it was just sinking in, weeks after returning home from Russia.

“We were both pretty shocked when the marks came up,” said the Houston-born Weaver, 22. “I just didn’t know what to think. I was so happy that I had tears in my eyes, and I said to Andrew, ‘We did it, we actually did it and we made it.’ We were so happy that we performed the way that we did. That was our main goal, and to move up in the standings was just a bonus.”

Poje agreed. “When we finished the competition, I don’t think we really appreciated what had happened at that moment,” he said. “But the result is something we feel we deserve, and we’re happy to be in the top group in the world. We feel like it’s just going to help us push our skating even further to fight for those top positions, now that we’re
in contention.”

The result was a mighty leap from the 17th-place finish Weaver and Poje earned in 2008 in Gothenburg, Sweden the last time the duo competed at Worlds.

Weaver was quick to lay most of the credit at the feet of their coaches Shae-Lynn Bourne, Anjelika Krylova and Pasquale Camerlengo, with whom they work in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

“We’ve worked so much technically and established a base for our skating,” Weaver said. “That’s most important when you want to build something on top of it. With that come confidence and an ability to perform under pressure. That helps us so much in competition and it’s something we definitely didn’t have before.”

Nothing, however, fueled Weaver and Poje more than perhaps their greatest disappointment. A mere handful of points kept Weaver and Poje off the Olympic team last year.

But they quickly turned that disappointment into a positive, winning the Four Continents Championship in Korea two weeks later.

“It was probably the most challenging thing we’ve faced as a team thus far,” Weaver recalled. “We were heartbroken. Our dreams were kind of shattered. We had made so much progress that year, and the Olympics had always been our main goal. It was such a big deal. To come so close was hard to take.

“But we had to go to Four Continents right away and didn’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves or indulge in any negative feelings. We won that event, which I think set us up very well for this season.

“That was a turning point in our career and I don’t think we’d be where we are right now if it wasn’t for that. As much as it was a hard time, it was a cloud with a silver lining
for us.”

Indeed, it’s been onward and upward ever since. “When we set our goals at the beginning of the year, one was to make the Grand Prix Final and the second was to be in the top five
in the World,” said Poje, 24, of Waterloo, Ont. “We always had top five at Worlds as a goal, and we thought it was attainable. Being in that position now … we felt like it was a surprise but at the same time, we had worked toward that point the whole year.”

Originally published in August 2011