Golden Skate

Chan takes World title with record score

Patrick Chan of Canada claimed the Men's title at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships.

Patrick Chan of Canada skated to his first World title while setting new record scores. In what was quite a shake up, Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka surged from sixth to second and Artur Gachinski of Russia was a surprise winner of the bronze medal.

Chan had drawn to skate first in the final flight. The overnight leader lived up to the expectations and hit two quadruple toeloops and six triple jumps in his performance to Phantom of the Opera. The Canadian also earned level threes and fours for his spins and footwork, and only stumbled on the landing of the triple Axel.

The two-time World silver medalist set two new record scores with 187.96 points for the free skating and 280.98 points total score.

“It was an amazing (performance), and considering I had to skate first in my group, I didn’t hold back or change my planned content at all,” Chan said. “I felt some pressure even though people said ‘it’s a great big lead, you don’t need to put in two quads in the long’, but I really wanted to do it because that’s how I’ve been training the program. I felt obligated to do it for myself and to show that it wasn’t out of luck that I did well and I was able to put it out the way I wanted. I was lucky to draw first since I was able to get warmed up and get the nervous bugs out of me before I went out and did the program.”

When Kozuka stepped on to the ice he was the last medal hope of the Japanese men. The Japanese Champion appeared composed and opened his program to Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with a solid quadruple toeloop, followed by two triple Axels, six other triple jumps, and level-four spins. Kozuka achieved a seasons best of 180.79 points and totaled 258.41 points to earn his first medal at the World Championships.

“It was the best performance of the season and I’m very happy,” Kozuka commented. “The whole season was good, but this was the best. I did the quad the best I could have done it. I am very glad that with my performance I was able to inspire the Japanese people in such hard times. It was my dream to do it in this Championship, and I did it.”

Gachinski, who stood in fourth place after the short, seemed unfazed by the roar of the crowd when he was announced. Skating to The Bolt by Dmitri Shostakovitch, he hit a quadruple toeloop and seven triples to score 163.42 points. The 17-year-old claimed the bronze with 241.86 points.

“I can say, that my performance was almost perfect,” Gachinski told the press. “I did my quad and two triple Axels. My points were just super! This is a big result for me. I am nervous in the hotel, just a little, but then I come to the venue and was calm because I take skating as my job which has to be done.”

“When yesterday I said that I’ll definitely have a medal I meant in the future and not necessarily so soon!” he continued. “I am really happy to have won the bronze medal and I am definitely going to hang the medal on my wall and be admiring and contemplating it.”

Michal Brezina came in fourth, as he did last year. The Czech skater produced a quad toe and quad Salchow, but then crashed on a triple flip and triple Lutz towards the end of his American in Paris routine.

“I’m so pleased with my performance in spite of the two mistakes I made at the end, because I had a great start with two different kinds of quads,” said Brezina. “I did this program and now I know I can do it. This season was quite hard for me because there was a time when I tried to recovered from my injury. I even had the feeling it could be my last season.”

Defending World Champion Daisuke Takahashi had bad luck. He slipped on the take off of his planned quad toe, popped it, and stumbled. He interrupted his program immediately and needed to fix his left skating boot as a screw had come loose. The 25-year-old then resumed his performance and pulled off a triple flip-triple toe and four more triples, but fell on a triple Salchow and stepped out of a triple Axel.

“A screw came loose on my boot,” Takahashi explained. “It is my fault although I check them every night. I was very calm when I went out for the second time although I believed already that I won’t have a medal now because I didn’t do the first jump.”

Teammate Nobunari Oda had another type of mishap. Sitting in second after the short, he ruined his chances to medal by doing an extra triple toe. He tripled his planned quad toe and added a triple toe to it, then he also did a triple Axel-triple toe combo. Oda didn’t get any credit for it as a triple jump can’t be repeated three times. He lost approximately 13 points for it.

“I am really disappointed with my performance, because I was training not to do these mistakes,” he said.

Florent Amodio entertained the crowd in the sold out Megasport Arena with his disco style program, and even used lyrics. There was no deduction given as the majority of judges let it pass although using music with lyrics is not allowed. The Frenchman landed two triple Axels and only doubled a Salchow to finish seventh.

“I made an error on my triple triple combination and I felt a lot of pressure as I came here as the European Champion,” admitted Amodio, “but this was the performance I was looking for and I’m very pleased with it. I had a magic moment out there and I could show who I am. Using lyrics turned the performance even more into a party and to lose one point didn’t matter to me. I was 15th last year and now I’m in seventh and I like that!”

Brian Joubert recovered from the short program and ended the season with a strong program that featured a quad toe and two triple Axels. The French Champion cut his hand badly when grabbing his blade in a sit spin and needed medical attention right after his program.

“There is nothing special about it, it’s a pretty ordinary thing,” commented Joubert. “I got injured while doing a spin, my blood was everywhere on the rink, but its alright. I felt very comfortable to perform today. I feel comfortable in my free skating program and enjoy performing it every time. I have no regrets now. I was relaxed in the warm up and I hit a beautiful quad. I have to continue like that.”

USA’s Richard Dornbush cracked the top ten with a solid performance and moved up to ninth.

“It feels great,” said the 19-year-old. “The whole week has been a great experience. There were a couple of small mistakes, but I’ve been training the second Axel with a triple toe combination in run throughs at home so I knew I could do it (in the second half of my free skate) here.”

“I’m definitely happy with my performance overall with this being my first World Championships,” added the Junior Grand Prix Final Champion. “Being able to stay on my feet (in both programs) and seeing all the other skaters and what they’ve done is a total inspiration for next year.”

Javier Fernandez nailed a quad Salchow and toe to finish 10th.

“It was so exciting to complete two quads in one free program for the first time,” the Spaniard offered. “Well, I was a bit disappointed at making some mistakes in triple-triple (Axel-toe). I felt a bit tired today, compared to yesterday, but I’m really happy about the culmination of the season and the competition itself.”

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