Fernandez tops men’s podium at Skate Canada; makes history

Javier Fernandez at 2012 Skate Canada

Spain’s Javier Fernandez performs to a “Charlie Chaplin” medley at 2012 Skate Canada.

Javier Fernández of Spain became the first skater of his country ever to win an ISU Grand Prix event when he topped the podium at Skate Canada Saturday in Windsor. Canada’s two-time World champion Patrick Chan trailed him by ten points to finish second. Nobunari Oda of Japan earned the bronze.

Fernández was determined to go for three quads in his “Charlie Chaplin” program. When he tripled the first planned quad toe and crashed badly, it looked like he would not be able to hold on to his overnight lead.

However, the Spaniard recovered immediately to nail a big quad Salchow and a triple Axel. He then checked off one element after the other, including a quad toe-double toe combination in the second half of the program, a triple flip-half loop-triple Salchow combination, as well as level-four footwork, and three other triples.

The current 2011 Grand Prix Final bronze medalist set a new personal best in both the long program with 168.07 points (85.15/83.92), and overall with 253.94 points.

“It’s my first gold in international competition, so it feels amazing,” said the 21-year-old. “I am really happy. We just have to keep going, keep working. There are lots of competitions this season, and I know the other skaters are not going to let me win. They’re going to fight and I have to fight, too.”

Chan started well into his “La Boheme” program with a quad toe-double toe combination, but touched down on the second quad. He missed an underrotated triple Axel, doubled a Salchow, and put his hand down on a triple Lutz. The five-time and reigning Canadian champion landed three clean triples, but his mistakes added up and in spite of the excellent choreography and two-level four spins. He lost the technical mark to Fernández by ten points with his score of 160.91 (75.13/86.78) points. Overall, he accumulated 243.43 points.

“For me, it goes beyond winning,” said the 21-year-old. “It is a learning process. Taking this and taking it step by step to the World Championships. Worlds is my angle and my only goal, and the year after this it will be the Olympics. These are steps I have to take, loosing some competitions and winning some to become successful at the end of the season.”

Oda’s program to music from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice featured a quadruple toeloop and six clean triples, including an Axel. His spins and footwork garnered a level four. His only mistake was a step out on the second triple Axel. The former Japanese Champion earned 156.20 (78.48/77.72) points and racked up 238.34 points total.

“I did a few mistakes,” noted the 25-year-old, who missed the second half of last season due to a knee injury. “I am still happy with my medal and to come back from my injury from last year.”

Florent Amodio of France performed to “umpin’ Jack, Broken Sorrow, and To Build a Home, all arranged for him by French composer Sebastien Damiani. The 2011 European Champion stumbled on his quad Salchow and tripled the second planned quad Salchow, but rallied back to land five triples in the second half of his program, including a triple Axel and a triple Salchow-triple toe combo. He picked up 144.11 points (69.41/74.70) and remained in fourth place at 218.72 points.

Skating to music from Captain Blood, USA’s Ross Miner popped his planned quad Salchow into a double, but then hit two triple Axels, a triple Lutz-triple toe, three more triples, and three level-four spins. The 21-year-old scored 144.19 points (73.91/70.28) and pulled up from eighth to fifth at 213.60 points.

Denis Ten of Kazakhstan had a rough skate and fell on two underrotated quad toes, as well as on a triple toe. Despite the mistakes, the 19-year-old still fought to sell the exquisite choreography of his program to music from The Artist soundtrack. He slipped from fourth to sixth with 203.70 points.

Elladj Baldé wasn’t as strong as in the short program, but landed six triples (the flip had an edge call). He did not go for the quad toe as originally planned. With 199.94 points, he came seventh.

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