Patrick Chan easily nabbed his eighth national tile at the 2016 Canadian Figure Skating Championships on Saturday, while Liam Firus and Kevin Reynolds took silver and bronze, respectively.
With his 2016 Canadian crown, Chan has matched Brian Orser’s eight-title record.
“It’s cool,” the 25-year-old said of the feat. “It’s so special. To be at that credibility in Canada, to have eight national titles, it’s amazing!”
Chan accomplished the feat with a glorious Rachmaninoff free skate that featured two quadruple toe loops (one in combination with a triple toe loop), a triple Axel, and three other triple jumps. as well as three other triples. The judges awarded 192.09 points for his free skate, totaling a combined score of 295.67.
The judges also issued a grade of execution (GOE) of 3 for the opening combination and his lowest component score was a 9.50 out of 10.
“It’s been a great week, such a good learning week,” reflected Chan. “Especially what I needed going forward into the rest of the season. I just couldn’t find my rhythm throughout the Grand Prixes. Here, I was not even close to being as scared and nervous as I was in all my Grand Prixes, especially Skate Canada and the Final. I am going to remember a lot of things from this week to help me down the road.”
Chan actually doubled one of his second triple Axel (combo) and chalks it up to being “gassed,” adding that he thinks this is the first event he was able to do a second quad in.
“The second quad wasn’t as great as the first one to be honest,” he admitted. “I felt a little off and then I kind of like straightened myself on the landing. Going into the second Axel, my legs just had that feeling, the tingly feeling of tiredness, so just a little rushed, but I stayed on my feet which is important.”
The 2014 Olympic silver medalist is pleased with the performance on his route to Boston.
“It’s a fight, but again this week has been great,” he said. “Great steps forward. Great short program. Great second quad in the long. I can’t rush these things. I got to remember it has only been seven or eight months since I came back. I got to keep that in mind.”
Nevertheless, his plans remain lofty as he would like to do two quads and two triple Axels at the Four Continents and World Figure Skating Championships.
“I don’t even want to think medals,” he said. “Wining worlds again, that would be awesome, but in order to get to that point, I have to achieve my own little goals which is to do the second Axel. It’s sweet when I land it in practice and that pattern going into that second Axel almost is better than the first one. So if I can do that on game day, that will be a pretty sweet feeling.”
Following his win in Halifax, Chan says he will now rest given the pain he has been contending with this season, particularly due to his reworked triple Axel set up.
“Resting my knee and my glute, it’s been really uncomfortable this week,” he said. “Luckily, adrenaline just kind of numbs it, but first thing first next week is to just rest.”
Firus managed to stay ahead of the pack of skaters clamouring for the silver medal with a gritty performance to “Moulin Rouge” in which he scored 158.33 points for a combined total of 237.20.
“My goad for this event was to show people how much I have improved and it wasn’t my best skate today,” said the 23-year-old, “but it was definitely showing people that I have improved as a skater both technically and artistically. I have gotten better each competition this year and I am trying to get even better for the next.”
His first three jumping passes – a quadruple toe loop, triple Axel and quadruple toe loop in combination – gave the Vancouverite problems, however, he managed five other triples including a double Axel-half loop-triple Salchow series.
“It hasn’t been an easy week, but it’s been an easy training year,” Liam reflected. “When it’s an easy training year and all of a sudden you get to a competition and you have to start fighting for things, it’s overwhelming and it’s stressful so you rely on your training and that’s what I did today.”
The skater, who trains in Colorado Springs, Colo., under Christy Krall, has a new approach to interpretation this season.
“It’s just sell, sell, sell and just get the points as much as you can because they’ll give you the points if you ask them for them,” said Firus. “So I was just throwing it all out there and asking them, begging them, for the points. And they gave them to me.”
Reynolds climbed back onto the podium with a program set to selections from “The Grand Piano” that earned 158.53 for a competition total of 236.18 and included a quadruple toe loop and triple Axel.
“I knew there was an opportunity after the short program, not only to make the national team, but maybe something more than that, so I really wanted to do well for myself,” the 25-year-old said. “To be back on the national team and be back on the podium is a great feeling.”
Reynolds struggled on the landing of several jumps, but finished second in the long.
“A couple mistakes were expected, but at the same time, I wish I would have attempted that first jump,” he said, dissecting his errors. “It’s really frustrating for me to pop jumps, so hopefully I will get another chance this season to improve on this performance.”
Last year’s champion Nam Nguyen placed fourth (151.65, 227.69), followed by Nicolas Nadeau (151.34 226.56).