Verner wins flawed men's event in Moscow

Mistakes and tumbles bite Chan and Abbott

A first-place free skate secured Tomas Verner the men's gold in Moscow.
A first-place free skate secured Tomas Verner the men's gold in Moscow. (Getty Images)


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By Lynn Rutherford, special to
(11/20/2010) - In a disappointing men's competition, Tomas Verner skated a relatively clean if conservative program to Michael Jackson hits and came out on top.

The Czech, who has yet to attempt his formerly reliable quad toe this season, earned 156.21 points for a program including an opening triple Lutz, triple toe combination and triple Axel, double toe done after the halfway mark. His winning free skate, when added to his third-place finish in the short, gave him gold with 230.31.

"[The quad] is not on the schedule for now," Verner said. "I can do it separately, but it's a big deal to make in the program. If have time, I'll train it for the [Grand Prix] final. It's a big stage and we have nothing to lose."

Short program leader Patrick Chan, who won gold at Skate Canada earlier this season, had a free skate he'd rather forget. The world silver medalist fell three times in his Phantom of the Opera program, on his opening quad toe; second triple Axel; and a triple Lutz that was intended to be done in combination. That last fall likely cost him the title, as the Canadian's final completed combination, a double Axel, triple toe, did not count.

Chan did land a strong triple Axel, triple toe combination, and also gained the event's highest program component scores, 81.30. He placed second in the free and won silver with 227.21.

With their medal finishes here, both Verner and Chan have likely qualified for the Grand Prix Final next month.

"Sometimes the jumps just don't go out, it happens," Chan said. "I'm going to the final, I'm happy about it and I know what to work on."

Jeremy Abbott also had jump trouble in his It's a Beautiful Life program, under rotating and falling on an opening quad toe attempt as well as a triple Lutz. The U.S. champion did land a strong triple Axel, triple toe combination, but his score -- 139.60 - was well under the mark he set at Cup of China. Although he won bronze with 217.21, he may not qualify for the Final.

"My training has been sporadic, with the boot issues I was having this season," Abbott said. "I lost time after [winning silver at] NHK Trophy.

"It wasn't as good a routine as I wanted it to be. I felt that my program was strong but the ice is slippery and sometimes we fall."

Italy's Samuel Contesti had the event's cleanest program, including two solid triple Axels. He earned 141.61 for third place in the free and climbed from ninth after the short to fourth overall.