Mitchell Gordon captures novice gold

Mitchell Gordon performs to by Aaron Copland at the 2011 BMO Junior Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

Mitchell Gordon performs to by Aaron Copland at the 2011 BMO Junior Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

In a come-from-behind victory, Mitchell Gordon (BC/YT) jumped from fourth to first to eke out a victory over Mathieu Nepton (QC).

Gordon’s free skate to music from Aaron Copland was wonderfully presented. Although he fell on his toughest jump, a triple Lutz, and stepped out of one of his double Axels, the mistakes did not affect the flow of the program too much. His opening combination, a triple toe loop-double toe loop, was flawless and his spins were also quite good, although he still has some room to maximize his levels and earn more points on those.

A triple toe loop late in the program brought a big smile to Gordon’s face and his great effort resulted in a score of 79.41 for the free skate. With a total score of 120.24, Gordon finished less than a point ahead of Nepton to capture the gold.

Nepton’s free skate took a darker approach, using music from Halo. Although Nepton had a more technically difficult program than Gordon, mistakes cost him. Along with a fall on his triple flip, he also stumbled out of his triple Lutz and popped an intended triple loop into a downgraded double. His attempt to include a double Axel-triple toe loop combination was admirable, but a loss of speed and a turnout between the two jumps cost him a couple of points.

Nepton’s level three step sequence was solid and well-choreographed, but overall, it seemed like he didn’t have his feet quite under him. Still, it was enough to hang on to the silver medal, a big jump up from 10th, which is where he finished at this event last year.

After a second-place short program and a fifth-place free skate, Christophe Belley of (QC) ended up third overall with 111.19 points. Belley displayed a lot of polish in his Lawrence of Arabia free skate, which scored 69.06, but the jumps were not solid. His only completely clean triple was a triple loop in combination with a double toe loop near the beginning of the program. Since the routine was a bit messy overall, Belley’s good skating skills and solid marks on spins and steps helped him hold on to the bronze medal.

Less than a point from the podium, Alistair Sylvester (WO) finished fourth with 110.29 points. His 69.40-point free skate was also ranked fourth. Sylvester brought dramatic flair to the ice with his program to music from The Truman Show. Unfortunately, he did too many jumps as he opened his program with three combinations in a row, and only two combinations are permitted in a novice free skate. Therefore, the third set of jumps were not scored.

Sylvester’s conundrum is the same one that has plagued Nobunari Oda of Japan in several competitions. Sylvester and Oda both have the same coach—Lee Barkell at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ont. Aside from the combination count, the program was well-done and he looked thrilled with his skate when he finished.

Nicolas Tondreau-Alin (QC) bounced back from a 10th-place short program to finish fifth overall with 106.02 points. His Gettysburg free skate opened with two strong combinations, including a triple toe loop-triple toe loop that garnered 9.25 points. Although he fell on a triple loop later in the program and stumbled out of a triple Salchow, he climbed the standings with a third-place free skate that scored 70.75.

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