To the delight of the home crowd, World Champion Patrick Chan of Canada skated to the gold medal at Skate Canada International in Mississauga on Saturday. Spaniard Javier Fernandez wrote history by winning the silver, the first Grand Prix medal for his country. 2010 World Champion Daisuke Takahashi of Japan earned the bronze.
Chan stood in third place after the short and he attacked. The 20-year-old went down on the first quad toe, but rallied to nail a quad toe-triple toe as his next element. He also produced a triple Axel and four more triples in his routine to Concierto de Aranjuez. He slipped and fell when setting up for the triple Lutz, but still did the jump, though it was wobbly. The World Champion scored 170.46 points and moved up from third to first at 253.74 points.
“Today I had trouble staying light, and really being in the ice, using the bend and rise of my knees,” explained Chan. “It wasn’t pretty, but I was proud of myself to trip before that Lutz and still put it out. I’m happy that I am able to keep that strong mind like I did in the short. It shows that I’m maturing as an athlete and as a competitor.”
Overnight leader Fernandez felt the pressure of being in first place and skating last.
“After the Short Program I got so much pressure in me,” he admitted. “I think I did the best I can. My legs were shaking, I was pretty nervous before [the performance].”
Fernandez put his hand down on the quad toe but the quad Salchow was good. He also took a fall on the first triple Axel, but the program to a selection of operas by Guiseppe Verdi went pretty smoothly afterwards. He also landed a triple Axel-triple toe and a triple Lutz-triple toe, and scored 165.62 points for the free and 250.33 points overall.
“It feels great with theses skaters,” said the 20-year-old. “They are the monsters, the kings of figure skating. I’m so happy to be here today.”
Takahashi attempted a quadruple flip, but landed forward. The 2010 World Champion otherwise hit six clean triples and three level-four spins in his expressive Blues for Klook to earn 153.21 points. He racked up 237.87 points overall.
“My performance was not good,” the Olympic bronze medalist admitted, “but I got a level four for all spins for the first time and I’m so happy about that. I noted that my technical score was low and I realized that I need to get stronger technically.”
Like the Japanese, USA’s Adam Rippon didn’t shy away from the risk and went for a quadruple Lutz, but it was cheated and downgraded as well. He also fell on a triple Axel in the lyrical program to Air and Toccata and Fugue. The two-time World Junior champion scored 217.97 points.
“I’m really excited and happy that I went for it,” the 21-year-old said of the quad. “It was a little tight, it wasn’t perfect, but I’m happy with the intent I made today. I took it one element at a time and stayed focused.”
“It was my first competition of the season and I think it was a really good starting point for the whole year,” Rippon summed up. “My goal is U.S. Nationals and I think I’m setting myself up really well for that.”
Denis Ten of Kazakhstan improved on his performance from Skate America last week. The 18-year-old landed the quad again, but it was fully rotated this time, however, he put his hand down. He also put out a beautiful triple Axel, but crashed on a triple loop. He finished fifth like he had last week, but had a higher score (212.39 points).
USA’s Ross Miner recovered from his faulty short with a solid free to The Untouchables. He landed six clean triples and moved up from ninth to sixth at 202.36 points.
“I was really happy with that,” said Miner. “I sort of went back to my hotel room (after the short) and said, ‘I skate myself tomorrow’. I think I did skate myself today. I was nervous as hell as I stepped on to the ice, but that was kind of to be expected at a big event. It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever skated, but it was in the realm of acceptable.”
Now I’m excited for Japan in two weeks,” U.S. bronze medalist declared. “I feel I’ve been through the fire now. I need to get home for a week, train, and get focused.”
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