Golden Skate

Spectacular Chan mines gold in Taipei

Patrick Chan

Canada’s Patrick Chan and coach Kathy Johnson react to the free skate scores at the 2016 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

Patrick Chan of Canada mined gold in Taipei with a spectacular performance as the 2016 ISU Four Continents Championships, which wraps up today. The silver medal went to China’s quad king Boyang Jin, while teammate Han Yan claimed the bronze.

2016 Four Continents – Free Skate
Patrick Chan (CAN)

Chan stood in fifth place following a somewhat shaky short program, trailing leader Jin by almost 12 points. However, in the free skate to a Chopin medley, the three-time world champion rallied back and delivered one of his best performances to date. He nailed a quadruple-triple toeloop, quadruple toeloop, two triple Axels, as well as four triple jumps, showing off intricate footwork and strong spins throughout.

The Olympic silver medalist posted a new personal best with 203.99 points and racked up 290.21 points overall to take his third Four Continents after 2009 and 2011. At the end of the program he victoriously hit the ice with his hand.

“I think it is a mix of frustration and just happiness and joy of finally being able to put my practice programs on competition day,” Chan explained regarding his emotional reaction. “It’s been such a hard week for me since the first day in practice, but I didn’t panic.”

The 25-year-old felt like all the work and stress he went through this season with his coach paid off.

“It all came out in that program just the way it was supposed to be,” said the eight-time and current Canadian national champion. “It just felt exhilarating. I know this isn’t the world championships, but this is one step closer. This year has been so successful for the first year back.”

2016 Four Continents – Free Skate
Boyang Jin (CHN)

Jin became the first skater in history to land four quads—Lutz, Salchow and two toeloops—in one program in international competition, and also the first to land three different kinds of quads in one program. He picked up 110.66 points in the technical score alone, which is more than some lower ranked skaters earned for their whole free skate.

The 18-year-old also produced five triples jumps, including two Axels, in his dynamic program to “Dragon Racing”. Overall he had 191.38 points, a personal best, but was narrowly overtaken by Chan and came in second at 289.83 points.

“I competed for the first time at the Four Continents and therefore I felt I was competing against myself mainly,” said the 2015 World Junior silver medalist. “I feel like my free skate is a challenge for myself from my first to my last jump. I performed quite well and I landed all the quads. I did them before at the national Winter Games and it gave me confidence for this competition, but the quality of the jumps was not as good as today.”

2016 Four Continents – Free Skate
Han Yan (CHN)

Jin’s teammate Yan turned in a personal-best performance as well. Skating to “Romeo and Juliet” he nailed two quadruple toeloops and seven triple jumps. The 19-year-old scored 181.98 points for a total of 271.55 points to for a third bronze medal in this event.

“The performance was the best of the season,” said the two-time Chinese national champion. “Today I put out the best of me and I feel happy about it.”

“However, after taking three times the bronze at this event, hopefully next time I’ll get at least the silver,” Yan joked.

There were more strong performances in Taipei on Sunday. The Japanese men finished fourth, fifth and sixth. Shoma Uno of Japan slipped from second to fourth at 269.81 points after stumbling on his quad toes. The second quad toe was also downgraded, which cost Uno a medal.

“I’m not satisfied with my performance, but I think I tried to do my best,” the 2015 World Junior Champion commented. “The quad toeloop was not consistent until the end, however, I improved the elements other than jumps in the free compared to the short. I also did a better triple Axel compared to the short.”

Takahito Mura was solid with two quad toes and only stepped out of one triple Axel to come in fifth with 268.43 points. Keiji Tanaka was sixth with 222.70 points.