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Surprise winner in Paris

Young Canadian Chan wins men's program

Gold medalist Patrick Chan.
Gold medalist Patrick Chan. (Getty Images)

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By Klaus Reinhold Kany, special to icenetwork.com
(11/17/2007) - The men's and ice dance competitions of the Trophee Eric Bompard Cachemire, which is the fourth Grand Prix event, are finished. In ice dancing, Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France won with a distance of just 3.13 points. Their free dance to the soundtrack of Michael Nyman's "The Piano" contained many difficult elements, including an innovative lift at the beginning. But Schoenfelder's sequence of twizzles was not clean, and the reverse rotational lift was a bit rough. The majority of the dance was fluid, but it lacked a bit of emotion. Therefore they got only the second best free dance, but it was enough to win overall. Delobel said: "The compulsory dance was our best part this time. Today it was not our best dance, we had some minor problems. Not all elements got as many points as we had hoped. But we hope to do better in two weeks in Japan."

Second overall with the best free dance are Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski from Moscow. The Russians chose a modern version of Modest Mussorgski's dramatic music "Night on a Bald Mountain" for their free dance. They danced exactly to the beat of the music. Their choreography took profit from Khokhlova's extreme flexibility during their lifts and some other innovative movements. Therefore they got several +3's for four of their eight elements, 14 times altogether. Moreover, they received huge applause from the public, in spite of being the biggest rivals of the home skaters.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White from Canton, Michigan won the bronze medal with a speedy and high-level free dance to the music of "Eleanor Rigby". Six of their eight elements got a level 4,and they received many +2's for them. They collected many points for their intricate footwork during the step sequences and the steps between the elements. Later they said: " We are happy for now and our first Grand Prix medal, it was a good competition for us, but we can skate it much better."

Surprise men's winner from Canada

The men's competition ended with a surprise. All well-known senior skaters made mistakes, but two youngsters who were second and third at last season's Junior World Championships, and are at the beginning of their careers nabbed first and second. The winner was Patrick Chan from Canada, only 16-years-old, and coached by Ellen Burka and Don Laws. Chan won his first Grand Prix medal (bronze) three weeks ago at Skate America. After being second in the short, he performed a good long program including seven excellent triples; which received many +2's and +1's from the judges. Three of his four spins had a level 4 difficulty, but he fell during the last one. His components were about 7.25 and went up to 8.25 because of his clean skate and outstanding skating skills, unique for such a young skater. Later he said: "I did not expect to win here at all or to make the final because there were so many great skaters here. But after my second place in the short I wanted to keep the result. After my last triple flip I had some overjoy going into the last spin and may have lost concentration. With this result I will go with more confidence into nationals. My goal there is to make the world team."

Second was Sergei Voronov from St. Petersburg, third at Junior Worlds seven months ago, and s pupil of 1994 Olympic gold medal winner Alexei Urmanov. At the moment he can jump neither a triple flip nor a Lutz because of a foot injury, but he skated without any mistakes. He did two good triple Axels, five more triples and two double Axels. "I did not expect this result at all and am very happy. Unfortunately I cannot qualify for the final because I had to cancel my second Grand Prix at Skate Canada two weeks ago because of my foot injury."

Third was Alban Preaubert of France with an entertaining program to the soundtrack of "Dracula". He started with a good quad toleoop, but several of his later jumps were not clean, and he fell on a triple flip.