By any measure, Chan was best in 2011-12
Canadian world champ out-distances Kostner for icenetwork.com 'Skater of the Year' honors
|Patrick Chan is looking down at the rest of the skating world from his lofty perch. (Getty Images)|
Only one other skater -- Italy's Carolina Kostner -- could reasonably lay claim to being Chan's equal in 2011-12, but it is the Canadian who, just as he has done time and time again, came out on top, earning the title of icenetwork.com "Skater of the Year."
(The icenetwork.com "Skater of the Year" was determined by using a points-based formula similar to what is used for the icenetwork.com World Skater Rankings, where each skater's six highest point totals from the 2011-12 season were added together to come up with a total score.)
1. Chan (5,210 points) - His credentials are beyond reproach. The question that looms is will he be able to maintain his success after absorbing the loss of his primary coach, Christy Krall? His aura of invincibility took a small hit at last week's World Team Trophy, where he finished second to Japan's Daisuke Takahashi.
2. Kostner (4,885) - The elegant Italian put it all together in 2011-12, winning five of her seven events, including the Grand Prix Final, European championships and world championships. She was every bit Chan's equal.
3. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (4,640) - A second-place finish at the Grand Prix Final was the only blemish on the Canadian dancers' record. They bounced back from that defeat by taking the gold at Four Continents and worlds, ahead of American adversaries Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
4. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov (4,315) - This Russian pair, which has only been together for two seasons, was less than four-tenths of a point from being undefeated this season, finishing second to Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy at the Grand Prix Final by 0.18 points and at worlds by 0.11 points. The points they earned from their win at Europeans, at which Savchenko and Szolkowy were not present, vaulted them over the Germans.
5. Savchenko and Szolkowy (4,140) - The models of modern pairs excellence, the long-tenured Germans went 5-for-6 this season, picking up gold medals at the Grand Prix Final (their third) and the world championships (their fourth). Their four world pairs titles tie them with seven other teams for second most all time.
6. Davis and White (3,990) - By most standards, a season that included four golds and two silvers would be considered an overwhelming success, but these U.S. ice dancers have set the bar so high, including an undefeated 2010-11 campaign, that 2011-12 could be viewed as a small step backward. Runner-up finishes to Virtue and Moir at Four Continents and worlds will only serve to intensify this already heated rivalry.
7. Takahashi (2,995) - The Japanese veteran electrified audiences worldwide with his innovative choreography and high-energy performances. His only problem is he has been unable to impress the judges as much as Chan, to whom he finished second at the Grand Prix Final, Four Continents and worlds.
8. Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat (2,848) - After knocking on the door for years, these French ice dancers finally broke through, making their first world podium in spite of a broken nose suffered by Péchalat just days before the competition. They also won their second straight European title and medaled at the Grand Prix Final for the third year in a row.
9. Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (2,597) - Splitting their time between the junior and senior circuit, these Chinese youngsters proved they could compete with almost anyone, snagging the title at Four Continents. They certainly showed they were the best junior pairs team in the world, winning the gold at the Junior Grand Prix Final and the world junior championships.
10. Akiko Suzuki (2,522) - Long overshadowed by country mates Miki Ando and Mao Asada, Suzuki made a name for herself this season, placing second at the Grand Prix Final and third at worlds. Davis and White might have had the best "Die Fledermaus" program of the season, but Suzuki's was a close second.