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Chan rides quad to victory at Skate Canada

Canadian comes from fourth after short to win gold

Patrick Chan overcame a rough short program to win gold at Skate Canada.
Patrick Chan overcame a rough short program to win gold at Skate Canada. (Paul Harvath)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(10/30/2010) - Patrick Chan landed a quad for the first time in major competition, climbing from fourth after the short to win the free skate and his second Skate Canada title.

Overnight leader Nobunari Oda fell on a triple Axel and settled for silver. Adam Rippon skated a solid free and took third.

Chan's free skate, choreographed by Lori Nichol to selections from Phantom of the Opera, wasn't perfect; he fell on a triple Axel and under-rotated a triple toe. Still, it was a good recovery from his three-fall short, where he hit the ice on his quad and triple Axel, as well as some steps.

"The short program -- it was a little tough because I wasn't sure what I did wrong [with the quad]," the 19-year-old Canadian said.

"Today, I didn't do anything different, I was just a little more focused. I didn't want to over-analyze; I wanted to do it just the way I do in practice."

After opening with the quad -- which racked up 12 points -- Chan faltered on his first triple Axel before rebounding with a triple Lutz and another triple Axel, done in combination with a double toe.

He struggled on an improvised triple loop-triple toe combination, under-rotating the toe, and doubled a planned triple Salchow, losing points. But the judges awarded him 84.41 points for program components, by far the highest of the event, and he won the free skate with 166.32. Chan finished with 239.52 points overall.

"The landings weren't coming easily," he said. "I had to fight for a couple of landings. I wasn't tired - the altitude [in his Colorado Springs training base] helps with that -- but I had a few mental lapses."

Chan acknowledged his role as a judges' favorite, saying he's grateful to be recognized for his skating skills.

"It's a good position to be in," he said. "I know [coach and choreographer] Lori [Nichol] speaks highly of me to judges, and I want to perform the way she says I can.

"Now that I've added the quad to my arsenal, I think I've stepped up to the Brian [Joubert] and Daisuke [Takahashi] level. It's taken a while with the quad."

Skating to a piano concerto, Oda opened with a quad, although not in combination as he planned. His triple Axel-triple toe combination earned a +2 GOE (for 14.60 points), but he fell on his second Axel attempt. The Japanese silver medalist was third in the free skate and ended the event with 236.52 points.

"I did a few mistakes today; I know I can fix them for next time [at Skate America]," Oda said. "I didn't do my quad [in combination], and I want more speed in my free program."

Rippon took second in the free with strong skate to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, including a triple Axel combination; triple flip-triple toe; and three-jump triple Lutz combination. The American's only major mistake was turning out of his second triple Axel.

The 20-year-old American, who arrived at Skate Canada with a cold and asthma, was pleased with his performance.

"It gives me a lot of confidence," he said. "I came in here not feeling my best, then had that rough bit when Patrick and I collided [in practice], but with all that I kept my head focused and stayed the course.

Rippon's coach, Brian Orser, said his skater hoped to add a quad toe to his free skate later this season.

"It's pretty close," he said. "There's a little cheat [on the landing]. He has to get over that hurdle, and I know he will.

"We'll take a look at both programs at home. He could skate a little faster, add some urgency to his skating. A lot of that was that he was a little uptight; he's not feeling great. Still, he put out two solid programs."

Rippon, who took the brunt of the collision on his cheekbone and shoulder, said he would have his shoulder examined before leaving for Skate America in ten days.

Canadian Kevin Reynolds, who landed two quads in his short yesterday, duplicated the feat in his free, but popped both of his triple Axel attempts and dropped to fourth place.

"I've been doing quads since I was 15 or 16, but the Axel, on the other hand, has been weaker," he said. "It's just becoming more consistent but obviously not tonight."

Javier Fernandez of Spain skated the performance of his life to Pirates of the Caribbean, including a quad toe, to place fourth in the free and fifth overall.

American Grant Hochstein climbed from twelfth after the short to tenth overall with a solid skate to Spartacus, including six triples -- three in combination - and some impressive spins.