Olympic-bound Patrick Chan earns third consecutive Canadian title
Patrick Chan shook off what has been an unsettled season Sunday night by winning his third consecutive Canadian figure skating title with a world's best score.
LONDON, Ont. - Patrick Chan shook off what has been an unsettled season Sunday night by winning his third consecutive Canadian figure skating title with a world's best score.
But the reigning world silver medallist wasn't perfect, leaving plenty of room for improvement heading into next month's Vancouver Olympics.
"I feel awesome, I'm really taken back with everything that's happened here, with all the hardship that I had this season I was able to come through with a good performance here," Chan said.
Chan brought the John Labatt Centre crowd to its feet, scoring 177.88 points for his free program to "Phantasia" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," for a resounding 268.02 total score.
Chan and second-place finisher Vaughn Chipeur, who finished with 222.10 points, both were selected to the Olympic team that will compete in Vancouver next month.
"To get to put that (Canadian team) jacket on, you start realizing, I'm really going to the Olympics," said Chan. "Just really humbled and I'm really happy with the way I performed."
Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., moved up from fifth place to claim the bronze with 216.49, landing a pair of quads - the only four-revolution jumps attempted by anyone.
Chan's score came despite a couple of mishaps. The 19-year-old didn't do the second jump on his opening triple Axel-double toe loop combination, then touched a hand down on a triple toe loop.
Yet his score topped Daisuke Takahashi's world-best 264.41 points scored in 2008. Chan's score won't be recognized internationally - it's not a secret that marks are usually boosted at national championships by about 10 per cent.
Chan admitted as much after Friday's short program, but was more circumspect Sunday.
"Points are points," he said. "The judges did their job and I thank them for what they did."
Chan's score also topped American Jeremy Abbott, who beat what's being touted as the strongest men's field in a long time to win gold Sunday at the U.S. championships with 263.66 points.
"It can't compare, two different judges, U.S. and Canadians," Chan said. "But it really puts me back into focus. I shouldn't celebrate too much, I've got a lot of work to do, because Jeremy's got a bit of a headstart."
Chan, who is considered one of Canada's top hopes for a figure skating medal next month in Vancouver, has had to play catch-up after a tough few months that started with a bad bout of the flu in September, then a torn calf muscle that kept him out of training for a few crucial weeks - and all but one event on the Grand Prix circuit.
Then Don Laws announced last week he was quitting as Chan's coach.
Chan finished a disastrous sixth at HomeSense Skate Canada in November, his only other event this season, but Sunday's skate showed he's come a long way since then.
"I think we set him on a good path six weeks ago," said his choreographer Lori Nichol, who took over coaching duties after Laws quit. "He's been working hard, he's been working smart, and I think tonight showed the progress of that, and there's a lot of work to do."
Chan said he'll be working on the early part of his program, which was shaky in his final competition before the Games.
"(Nichol) noticed that when I was skating around waiting for my program, she could see that my blade was a little shaky, and she was exactly right," Chan said. "Sometimes I have that bad tendency to get nervous and my legs aren't really under me and I start shaking.
"We'll look into that, do some exercises, whether it's jumping on the spot or do something else, we'll figure it out and make sure I'm under myself so I don't miss the first three jumps in the program."