2011 Grand Prix Final

Men's Event

by

Alexandra Stevenson

 
Final Standings
Place Skater Country SP FS
1  Patrick Chan CAN 1 1
2 Daisuke Takahashi JPN 5 2
3 Javier Fernandez ESP 3 4
4 Yuzuru Hanyu JPN 4 3
4 Jeremy Abbott USA 2 5
6 Michal Brezina CZE 6 6

Short Program

Planned Program Content

 
Starting Order - Short Program
1. Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN
2. Javier Fernandez, ESP
3. Michal Brezina,CZE
4. Jeremy Abbott, USA
5. Daisuke Takahashi, JPN
6. Patrick Chan, CAN

Start Time: 21:15

 

Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1  Patrick Chan CAN
2 Jeremy Abbott USA
3 Javier Fernandez ESP
4 Yuzuru Hanyu JPN
5 Daisuke Takahashi JPN
6 Michal Brezina CZE

Patrick Chan


1.SP 86.63 (44.19+43.44 -1) Patrick Chan, the defending champion, who previously made the Final finishing 5th in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons, came in as the top qualifier. The 20-year-old performed to Paul Desmondís version of Take Five, soaring into a good quad toe but then came too close to the barrier in the second jump, a triple toe. He landed the second jump but at the same time he hit his back on the barrier and fell to the ice.

He explained, "Even on practices, I thought, ĎThose boards are coming in pretty fast!í. In practice I did the quad by itself and didnít add the triple toe to it. But, today, it felt so good and I just went for it. I kind of paid for (that decision). I got right back up and into it. I was a bit shocked at first, but I got back into my rhythm. I was a little panicked but I kept it together.

"There was no better place (to host) this event. Thanks to Joannie (Rochette) and such a strong Quebec skating program, there were a lot of skating fans in the building. Even before they said my name, it was so exciting to hear them cheer. I was expecting to hear boos (because of all the fuss over his misinterpreted words about his respect for his ancestry and the change in skatingís popularity), but there was so much energy going into the program.

"I did not get hurt from the fall. But it did hurt my ego a bit and it was a little slap in the face. The quad was comfortable and the best of the season, and I have two planned for tomorrow."

In fact the fall did affect his following move, the triple Axel, on which he put a hand on the ice on the landing and got -1.0 removed from its base value. Everything else was good. One judge punched in +3 for Chanís last four of his seven required elements. A second judge thought the triple Lutz and the Level 4 straight lines steps deserved this rare accolade. Three others each chose one element to punch in a +3. Has there ever before been such admiration for a skater from judges? Going into the Free, he had a comfortable margin of 5.97 points ahead of his nearest rival.

2.SP 82.66 (40.33+42.33) Jeremy Abbott won the 2008 Grand Prix Final. The 26-year old 2009 & 2010 US champion, who now trains in Bloomfield Hills, MI, skated to Benny Goodmanís Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen. He also had a rough beginning, stepping out of his triple flip, which meant he was unable to do the second jump, a triple toe loop, of his combination.

However, the following triple Axel was so good seven of the nine judges punched in +2 while the remaining two contented themselves with +1. He adjusted his routine by adding the missing triple toe loop to his triple Lutz. Two of his spins were Level 4. The final change foot combination spin and the straight line steps were both Level 3.

Abbott said, "It was a lot of fun today. I had to do a lot of thinking. After I stepped out of the first jump, I was worried because I then didnít have the combo . The whole program, I was thinking should I do the triple Lutz-triple toe, or just the triple Lutz? I was thinking so much through the whole program and was exhausted by the end of it. Tomorrow, I want to deliver a good program that is special. I want to stay focused and keep my head up and perform the program the way it is supposed to be performed.

3.SP 81.26 (42.19+39.07) newcomer Javier Fernandez of Spain, wearing a yellow shirt with suspenders, skated to I Love Paris by the Witnesses and Petit Fleur by Rene Henri. He opened with a great quad toeloop, which earned +1.43 over its base value of 10.30 points. But then he had a bad landing on his triple Lutz and could only get airborne a second time for a double, instead of triple, toe loop. The rest of the elements all gained positive GoEs, with two of the spins earning Level 4 and the third spin and the footwork getting Level 3.

He said, "I donít know how I saved my combo. I think sometimes when you have to do something, you just do it without knowing the mechanics. At the end I did a choreographed gesture the wrong way but I donít think anyone noticed. I have to work on my triple flip and Lutz. Those are my worst jumps. I did not expect to be here. If you said to me I would be at the Final at the beginning of the season, I would never have believed you. I am just so happy to be here."

4.SP 79.33 (43.26+36.07) Yazuru Hanyu, who turned 17 on December 7, skated first, to Skriabinís Etude in D Sharp Minor. He was so over-awed by the occasion, he said, "During the six minute warm-up, I lost my concentration. That gives me something to work on. To come to the Grand Prix Final was one of my goals and to do a quad toe loop. On that element, I had a step out, but it was good to try." However, he had enough savvy to improvise by adding the missing triple toe which was meant to be on the tail end of the quad toe, on his triple Lutz.

5.SP 74.49 (35.10+41.39) Daisuke Takahashi, the Japanese Olympic bronze medalist and 2010 world champion whom Patrick Chan dethroned earlier this year, skated just before Chan to In the Garden of Souls. He opened with a quad toe but landed on both feet and got an arrow for slight under-rotation. He pulled himself together and did a superior triple Axel which gained an added +1.43 over the base value. His flying sit spin was the maximum Level 4 with +0.71.

But then he stepped out of his triple Lutz and couldnít do the triple toe with which it was meant to be combined. The base value of that combo is 10.10. Instead, he ended up with 3.90. An extra 6.2 would have taken him up to second at this stage. His change foot camel was Level 3 with +0.43. The straight line steps and he change foot combination spin were Level 4 with +1.30 and +0.86 respectively.

Takahashi said, "I feel really bad because I put the quad toe in and did not do it perfectly. I was thinking of this throughout the rest of my program and lost my rhythm for the rest of the performance."

6.SP 75.26 (38.80+37.46) Michal Brezina, who has placed fourth in the past two world championships, had a day he would rather forget. The 21-year-old, who performed to music from the Best of Kodo Drums, came in as the fourth qualifier and so skated fourth of the six entries. But four minutes forty seconds after he began his routine, he found himself dumped into last place.

He began well with a +0.86 triple Axel but then he had to execute a three turn after the triple flip before he could get airborne again for the triple toe loop. Then, instead of executing a triple Lutz as planned, he decided to try and make up some points lost on the flawed combination of jumps by attempting a quad Salchow but fell. With the compulsory -3 GoE off the base value for the fall plus the one point deduction, he still banked 6.50 which wasnít bad. The base value of a triple Lutz is 6.0 points.

His subsequent flying sit spin was Level 4 with +0.43. The other two spins and the straight line steps were Level 3 with positive GoEs. He lay only 1.23 behind the fifth place. He later explained, "I tried two quads in the warm up. Maybe I should just have done one and saved the other one for the skate. Looking at the competition, most guys do the quad in both the short and in the free. I donít want to stay behind. I want to stay in touch with the very top so it was important for me to go for it."

 

Free Skating

Planned Program Content

 
Starting Order - Free Skating

1. Michal Brezina,CZE
2. Daisuke Takahashi, JPN
3. Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN
4. Javier Fernandez, ESP
5. Jeremy Abbott, USA
6. Patrick Chan, CAN

Start Time: 16:55

 

Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1  Patrick Chan CAN
2 Daisuke Takahashi JPN
3 Yuzuru Hanyu JPN
4 Javier Fernandez ESP
5 Jeremy Abbott USA
6 Michal Brezina CZE

Patrick Chan


Nervous Chan Wins Over Audience

1.Overall 260.30; 1.FS 173.67 (87.59+87.08) "I thought they might boo me," said the relieved Patrick Chan as he left the ice after his winning four-minute-forty-second, gold-medal winning Free Skate at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse in the slightly snowy, picturesque Quebec City Saturday night.

He had been hounded by the media for days after his months-old misinterpreted comments ran in Canadaís national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, which later issued an apology. Patrick Chan held himself together through hours and hours of interview after interview, trying to give his side on what he said.

It was a draining process but he managed to successfully defend his title and win by a margin of 11.18 points. Performing to the Adagio from Concerto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodriguez, Chan, who turns 21 on New Yearís Eve, stepped out of his opening move, the quad toe and was unable to execute the planned second jump, a triple toe. -1.86 was removed from the quadís base value of 10.30.

He tried the quad a second time, putting two hands on the ice but managing to get airborne for a double toe. Minus 2.43 was removed from that elementís base vaue of 11.60. However, he remarkably put that behind him and the next seven elements were superb.

His triple Axel earned +1.57 extra; his Level 4 circular steps got +1.50; the flying change foot combination spin was Level 3 with +0.93; the combination of triple Lutz-half loop-triple Salchow, accomplished after the halfway stage when the 10% bonus for jumps clicks in, got an extra +0.60; the following triple loop was rewarded with an additional full point; and most remarkably his triple flip was joined with a triple toe not the planned double to make up for the missing triple planned to go with one of the quads. That earned +1.30. The last of the stream of successful moves, the change foot sit spin was Level 4 with +0.93.

But then the reigning World Champion fell badly on his triple Lutz. He sprang back up accomplishing a +0.36 double Axel, delight the audience with his choreographed steps (GoE +1.40) and concluded with a Level 4 change foot combination which gained an extra (0.64). At that point, the audience rose to their feet, embracing him with any bad feelings about his perceived bad-mouthing Skate Canada and wanting to skate for China, forgotten.

Smiling, he said his feeling at that moment was, "It's joy, the most joy I had in a long time. It's finally a big event I was able to win in my home country. It's been a bit of a dream of mine to be able to repeat. I think it shows that what I've been doing, in training off the ice, my preparation has all been very positive. It's a message to tell me that everything I'm doing is on the right track. I just hope to keep the momentum."

Later, after analyzing his performance, he said, "The quads were really good this week, especially yesterday so it is kind of funny how they didnít work today. I did some quick thinking on my feet. I donít usually do a triple flip-triple toe but I put one in and it worked well. It was an exciting competition for all of us and the audience. I want to thank Quebec for having us and making it really exciting.

"My training is what really helped me today. After I had difficulty at the start of the program, to bounce back, that is where repetitive training kicks in. You have to stay concentrated on your plan. I had a marvelous triple Axel and continued to skate well. There was a lot of energy in the building which was great. I hope I inspired a lot of young kids here this week and hope that I gave them motivation to work hard and get to this place one day."

He admitted he was handicapped by not being in the best physical shape. "I have been sick since Paris and have had a cold ever since then, although once the adrenalin kicked in, it didnít affect me at all today. But I was mentally exhausted this whole week because it has been a go go go situation. That is totally normal on the Grand Prix circuit, and the audience helps in that situation. The build up to announcing my name is the most amazing part of the day and I really want to thank everyone.

"It is still only the mid point of the season so it is hard to evaluate what will happen. Thereís Nationals, Four Continents and Worlds coming up. I have lots of confidence for Nationals and just want to have fun and relax. Four Continents will be in Colorado Springs and it will be cool to be at altitude and to have the advantage of training there."

About running into the barrier during the short program, he said, "I put the fall behind me and I didnít think about the boards at all during my program. I just thought about techniques during my program. The grand prix season is strenuous with back to back events and we are all exhausted by this point. We all just have to hold it all together to make it through. We all entertained the audience."

2.Overall 249.12; 2.FS 172.63 (87.05+85.58) Daisuke Takahashi climbed from fifth to take the silver, his third such medal in this event. He was runner-up in both the

December 2006 GP Final when Stephane Lambiel won in St. Petersburg and the following year when Brian Joubert won. Earlier, in December 2005, he had claimed the bronze in Tokyo, which Lambiel won.

Skating to unusual music, Blues for Klook most famously used by the Russian ice dancers, Maia Usova & Alexander Zhulin, the 2010 Japanese world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, stumbled badly on his opening move, a quad toe which owned "only" 7.73 points (compared to its base value of 10.30). But then all of his other elements gained positive GoEs, including a triple Axel and a second triple Axel to triple toe timed for when the 10% bonus marks for jumping click in.

Surprisingly, his first spin, the change foot camel, was only Level 2, but his other two spins and the footwork earned the maximum Level 4. He said, "Yesterdayís result was pretty bad, but, because I had nothing to lose, it helped me relax today. After the short program I was in fifth place and I didnít have too far down to go and didnít have too much to lose.

"The audience encouraged me to move better so I am very satisfied with my performance today. It was my best performance of the season because I had a good concentration after yesterday. Just like Patrick said, the audience was great and really helped to push up my performance. Other skaters landed the quad jump but I wasnít able to succeed on mine. I really need to upgrade my technique. Javier did a spectacular performance yesterday so I realized today that I had to do a better performance.

3.Overall 247.55; 4.FS 166.29 (84.89+81.40) Newcomer to this level of skating, Javier Fernandez from Madrid who now trains with Brian Orser in Toronto, held onto third place, winning the bronze, despite a fourth place in the free.

Skating to four pieces operatic piece by Verdi, La Traviata, I Vespri Siciliani, Nabucco and Rigoletto, he emoted as well as skated. The 20 year old, who is just three and a half months older than Chan, said, "I am so happy to be here. It was a pretty good free program with amazing quads. I did some mistakes like yesterday but like my coach says I have to go step by step. Weíre going to work on the mistakes from this competition to improve for Europeans and Worlds. It was a great competition. I am so happy to again be on the podium in Canada with these two. (In the Skate Canada Grand Prix this season, he took silver behind Chan but ahead of Takahashi.) I am so happy to be here today. My plans are not going to do big changes, just keep working with what we are doing now."

Fernandez was the only man to produce two clean quads, a toe loop which earned +1.71 over its base value of 10.30 and a Salchow which got +2 added to 10.50. But he had to execute a double three as he struggled to land the following triple Axel which was meant to be combined with a triple toe loop. He added that missing jump to his second triple Axel but was penalized with -0.71 because the second landing was flawed. A triple Salchow also was given a negative (-0.60) and a triple flip to double toe loop got a double arrow for down grade on the second jump.

He said, "I did not feel pressure after the short program as I always try to focus on myself, to do my work as best as I can and to fight through each performance. The Final is just another competition, but the experience here helped me a lot to gain confidence in myself. I can do better and I can win if I work harder."

4.Overall 245.82; 3.FS 166.49 (87.21+79.28); Yuzuru Hanyu, the newly turned 17-year-old Japanese fourth ranked senior, who created a huge impression when he won silver in the Four Continents Championships earlier this year, stayed fourth despite a FS which was ranked third best.

Hanyu, who is a survivor of the Japanese earthquake earlier this year, was skating in his home rink in Sendai when the ground shaking took place. Hanyu ran out of the shaking rink, which subsequently closed due to broken water pipes, not stopping to put on guards. He ruined his blades and lost much practice time. But, after placing fourth in the Cup of China, Hanyu made a name for himself winning the Moscow Grand Prix.

He said, "I am very pleased that I could finish my first Grand Prix Final to my satisfaction. Not only did I succeed with the quad toe loop but, also, I landed all three combination jumps cleanly (triple Lutz to double toe with arm over head on the second jump; triple Axel to triple toe, and triple Lutz combined with two double toe loops). I did make a small mistake on the easier jump (a triple Salchow) at the end of the program because of my lack of stamina and concentration." His other 12 elements all earned positives, with two of his three spins and his circular steps gaining the maximum Level 4. His final element, a flying change foot combo spin was only Level 2 with +0.64 GoE. He performed to Romeo and Juliet.

5.Overall 238.82; 5.FS 156.16 (74.80+83.36 -2) Jeremy Abbott, the former twice US champion who trains in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., dropped from second after the SP to fifth overall, with a FS ranked 5th best, but he did not seem upset by the downfall.

The 26-year-old performed a choreographically mature and interesting routine to Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 3 by Muse. He began with a good quad toe which earned an extra +0.86. Abbott said, "It was my seasonís best by far. Tying my skates, I could hear how the other boys did. I knew I had to throw it down to really keep my position or keep a medal. I started off the program really strong. I got a little off focus before the second Axel (on which he fell badly)."

He also fell on the second triple Lutz which got an arrow for slight under-rotation, and couldnít do the planned second jump in that combination. "That was a new addition to my program and my legs got tired and I gave it too much. I havenít quite had the practice with it. I felt like I gave a strong performance. I had two mistakes, but I felt for the most part that I was focused through the majority of the program. I want each competition to get better and better. I did the quad here and I definitely gave a much better performance technically than I did in China or Russia (he won the first of those events and got bronze in the second). I got off the ice feeling much happier today than I did at either of those competitions.

"I feel like Iím on the right track, - maybe not perfect now, not a medal here. The whole goal was to continue improving and getting better through the season. Iíve more than stuck to that. I want to be one more step better at U.S. Championships, Four Continents and Worlds."

6.Overall 281.98; Michal Brezina, Czech Republic; 6.FS 143.72 (71.34+73.38 -1) Brezina, performed to the Untouchables, a television series about the early days of the FBI chasing Al Capone. The 21-year-old from Brno, who has been fourth for the past two years in the World Championships, began well with a +0.57 triple Axel and +1.0 triple flip to triple toe, and although he put a hand on the ice landing his quad Salchow, he still banked 9.50 points for this move. And though he later fell on a triple Axel, meant to be a combination and he singled an Axel in his final jumping pass, it was still an enjoyable presentation.

He admitted, "I had two mistakes in tonightís free skate. But, overall, for me, it felt like the best Free Skate I did this season. I had a clean beginning. It was the first fall Iíve had on a triple Axel in years so that was like a new experience for me, and then I felt tired so I singled the second attempt.

 

2011 Grand Prix Final Men's Medalists

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