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2013 Skate Canada:  Men's Free Skate

by Alexandra Stevenson

Chan Presents Strong Free Skate to Win Men's Event

1.  Overall 262.03; 1.FS 173.93 (83.01+90.92) Patrick Chan, has gone back to his “Four Seasons” routine, which, in addition to the well-known Vivaldi music, includes a section from Arcangelo Corelli’s “Concerto Grosso”. The Canadian three-time world champion, who, skating last, brought the competitive part of the event to a glorious close, opened a super quad toe loop to triple toe loop which earned one of the maximum +3s, seven +2s and a solitary +1. His second quad toe received three +3s and the rest +2s. He might just as well have spent the rest of the time shaking the hands of the people in the front row.

The audience was completely won over. They had already got their money’s worth, so they hardly noticed when he did a double instead of the planned third move, a triple Axel. His steps were the maximum Level 4 with five +3s with the minority settling for +2. His flying sit spin was Level 4 with “only” three +3s.

At the halfway mark, where the 10% bonus clicks in, he brought off a +0.40 triple Lutz to loop to double Salchow and banked 8.98 points. That was followed by a second triple Lutz, for which he gained 7.10 points. His triple loop was nothing special and he earned “only” the base value plus 10% of 5.61 points. But the following triple flip to double toe loop got three +2s, although it also received one -1, which was thrown out as the lowest award. That meant he received a total of 8.16 points.

His change foot camel spin was Level 4 and received one +3, which was also thrown out as the highest award. Then came a single Axel which had -0.09 removed from its base value. But so what? It didn’t disrupt the flow of the program and only those knowing the sport would have noticed. His “choreographed” sequence got three +3s and the rest +2s, but his final element a change foot combination spin was only Level 1 and received a couple of -1s. His components included only one “10”and a low of two 8.50s out of the five marks each of the nine judges give.

He said, “The long program was a challenge because I kept thinking of all the long programs I’ve had in the past. I don’t have the best track record with the long program! But, I did the first quad and it felt great with good speed and after that I kind of just hit cruise control. I really paced myself through the transitions into the second quad. That kind of saved gas in the tank for the end.”

He, of course, fudges when asked about his plans after the Olympics. It’s always hard to keep up for Worlds after an Olympics that are only three weeks prior. Chan does say he will always be a part of skating, but whether that will continue from a competitive point of view, he just doesn’t know.

He’s a good cook and lives alone in Detroit, but Elladj Balde sometimes comes over and they share a meal. After a “wrap-up” interview in the Press Room on Sunday, he stayed to eat a burger and watched Balde, delighting the audience as a “special guest” on the in-house television equipment. Balde “warmed-up the audience at the Gala, completing three sommersaults in a row dressed in a “nerd” outfit complete with glasses, which he had to keep taking off and then would replace. Chan joked, “I’m going to get him to teach me that in return for me helping him with his quad.”

Chan says he enjoys playing golf with the guys from the rink on a Saturday. His mom, Karen, after looking after her son in cold ice rinks for so long, is currently on a long awaited trip abroad. She did call him to wish him Good Luck, only to discover she had not accounted for the time change. Chan said, with a smile, “I’m like, MOM – It’s MIDNIGHT! I’ve already skated!” Dad is in Toronto working at his job. Chan definitely seems at a good point in his life. “I’m quite a good cook so I’m looking after myself well. Cars are a big thing in Detroit, so we often work on our cars on the weekend.” He bought a second hand 2011 dark grey BMW. Life appears very sweet at the moment and “relatively” normal. If he wins Olympic gold that will certainly change.

2. Overall 234.80; 2.FS 154.40 (78.54+76.86 -1); Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan, who skated to “Romeo & Juliet” climbed a place up from third, despite a bad fall on his first element, a quad Salchow, but he was still given credit for the full rotation and banked 7.50. He jackknifed the landing of his second element, a quad toe loop and nearly put his hand down. Though the jump got six -1 Grades of Execution, he also got three 0s, from judges who saw nothing wrong. He had only two other negatives. At the half way point he did single Axel to double toe loop, instead of his planned triple-triple (but immediately afterwards did a triple Axel to double toe loop which earned him 9.74 points) and his ninth element , a three jump combination of triple Lutz to single loop to triple Salchow, got an arrow on the last jump for slight under-rotation, although two judges thought the move was satisfactory in every aspect and punched in 0.

He also brought off successfully a triple flip and a second triple Lutz. His spins were all Level 4 although his steps were “only” Level 3. His “choreographed” section received three +3s and the rest +2s. His only other +3 was awarded for his last element, a combination spin. His components ranged from a low of one 7.0 up to two 8.75s.

He said, “I’m not so happy with my program. I was thinking I could do the quad Salchow and quad toe, but I fell. I will practice harder for (the) Eric Bompard Trophy (in two weeks time).

3. Overall 233.00; 3.FS 152.18 (73.32+79.86 -1); Nobunari Oda, Japan, who now trains in Canada with Lee Barkell, skated last. The routine was set to the stirring “William Tell Overture” by Rossini. With just 1.80 more he would have retained second place. “This was far from my best and I feel regrets. I want to do better in my next competition so that I will be able to go to the Grand Prix Final.”

He tripled his first move, a planned quad toe loop which was meant to be combined with a triple toe loop and then he did the exact same thing a second time. That meant he had used up his quota on that jump. He brought off a good triple Axel to double toe loop, and his second triple Axel, set at the halfway point where the bonus marks click in, gained two +3s, which gave him a total of 11.49. After a good triple Lutz, he fell on a triple flip. He earned one other +3 along with eight +2s for his closing element, a Level 4 change foot combination spin.

4. Overall 218.32; 5.FS 146.61 (74.75+72.86 -1) Michal Brezina, the Czech Republic, who appeared as Sherlock Holmes, had a brilliant first half, landing a quad Salchow to double toe loop, a good triple Axel, a second quad Salchow, a Level 4 flying sit spin, and Level 3 steps which earned an extra +0.86). But then fatigue set in. He did a second triple Axel, joined to a double toe loop, as the bonus marks clicked in and lost a full point from the base value. That was followed by a (+0.70) triple flip.

But then he doubled his loop and fell on his triple Lutz. His last jumping pass was a double Salchow to single toe loop. His steps were Level 3 with a good GoE and two of his spins were Level 4 but the final change foot sit spin was only Level 2 with nothing added. Nevertheless, he climbed from seventh after the SP to fourth overall, although he was ranked only fifth in the FS.

5. Overall 216.72; 4.FS 147.58 (+) 74.80+73.78 -1) Joshua Farris, USA, skating third to the very poignant “Schindler’s List” climbed up from eighth after the SP, with a FS which was ranked fourth best. He got off to an unfortunate start, falling on his quad toe loop, which still earned 7.30 points, and tripling his intended quad Salchow. His triple Axel to double toe loop earned 11.09 points, but the second triple Axel set at the halfway point lost a small -0.14. He also accomplished a triple flip (+1 GoE) but his triple Lutz to double toe loop to double loop was saddled with seven -2s, a -3 and a 0. The zero means OK in every aspect, but that mark didn’t count. As the highest, it was thrown out (along with one of the -2s). He subsequently did a second triple Lutz, earning an extra +0.20, but he doubled his final jumping pass, a loop.

Farris is extremely allergic to dairy products, so, when he travels, he does so with a whole suitcase of acceptable foods. Last December he made the Junior Grand Prix Final, which was held along with the senior event, as a try out in Sochi for the Olympic figure (and short track speed) arena. He said he learned a critical lesson last season. People had told him he skated without passion and he didn’t really know what that meant. Finally someone told him to stand in front of a big mirror and walk through his routine with the music, pretending it was a competition, but just looking at his face. “I found out I wasn’t open to the audience. I wasn’t communicating. That’s what I have to work on as a senior.”

6. Overall 215.95; 6.FS 141.37 (65.59+77.78 -2); Jeremy Abbott, USA, performing to Muse’s “Exogenesis Symphony No. 3”, fell on his first element, a quad toe loop but got credit for the full rotation and banked 7.30 points. He then brought off a very successful triple Axel to triple toe loop, which earned seven +2 and two +1s for a total of 14.46 points. However, his change foot sit spin was only Level 2 and that was followed by a double flip to single toe loop.

After his Level 4 straight line steps, which were so good three of the nine judges gave the maximum+3 GoE, he executed a double Axel meant to be a triple. Then he tried again, succeeding in getting the three and one half rotations, but falling. He subsequently did a good (+0.70) triple Salchow. Unfortunately the following Lutz attempt was singled. His last jumping pass was a +0.30 triple loop to double toe loop.

He finished with a Level 3 Upright spin which earned an extra +0.64; the choreographed section which received three +3s, five +2s and a solitary +1, and a Level 4 change foot combination spin, which was a little slow in places but earned one +3 and six +2s, along with two +1s. At the end, he looked positively distraught. His components ranged from a high of one 8.75 down to two 6.50s.

Abbott’s showing was nothing like that which earned him the U.S. title in 2009, 2010 and 2012, along with ninth in the 2010 Olympic Games and fifth in the subsequent world championship. It still is early season. But, he knows, a showing like this will not get him a second Olympic berth.

7. Overall 205.19; 7.FS 132.84 (57.06+65.78); Elladj Balde, Canada, skating to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”, dropped a place. He tripled his initial a move, a planned quad toe loop, but got the full base value for his triple Axel to double toe loop, and +0.80 over the base value of the following triple flip. His triple Lutz to double toe loop and his second triple Lutz were good. He landed his second triple Axel in a stationary pose on his right toe pick and right hand. He looked like a statue. Maybe, he should have got some credit for creating a new move, although that can not have been good for the ice surface! Two of his spins were Level 4. The flying sit spin and his step sequence earned Level 3.

8. Overall 197.35; 9.FS 115.45 (51.15+64.30); Andrei Rogozine, Canada, placed ninth in each section but was 8th overall. He skated to “Nyah” from the soundtrack to “Mission Impossible 2”by Hans Zimmer. In 2011, Rogozine became the first Canadian to win the world Junior Mens title since Dennis Coi won in 1978 and later in 2011 he finished seventh in his first Skate Canada.

He planned to open with a quad toe loop but changed that to a triple flip to double toe loop which earned an extra +0.70. His second element, a triple Axel to triple toe loop had a full point removed from its base value. Then he did a double Lutz, which got only the base value. (He had planned a triple Lutz to triple toe loop.) His second triple flip gained +0.20 over its base value. Two of his spins, which included his final element made the maximum Level 4 with small positive GoEs. The other spin, the change foot sit, was given its base value but nothing more. The steps were also Level 3 with +0.29.

His second triple Axel, set at the halfway mark, lost -0.14 and earned a total of 9.21. A triple loop got its base value plus 10%. A sequence of two double Axels received a total of 6.02. His choreographed section earned 2.50.

9. Overall 196.89; 8.FS 130.18 (60.54+64.64); Ross Miner, USA, climbed a position. Skating to “Glory” by Michael W. Smith, his initial move, meant as a quad Salchow, got a double arrow for a downgrade and then he executed a single Axel to double toe loop. He got into the groove with his third element, a good triple Lutz to triple toe loop which earned a full point over its base value, along with a Level 4 flying sit spin which received one +3 GoE and got an extra +0.93 over the base value, and Level 3 Straight Line steps which got +0.57.But then he singled his Axel.

His triple flip earned a full point extra and his Change foot combination spin was the maximum Level 4 with +0.79. However, his triple Lutz to single loop to triple Salchow got an arrow on the last jump for slight under-rotation and he lost -0.70 from its base value plus 10% of 10.34. The following triple loop received its full base value. His final jump a double Axel got -0.43 removed from the base value and he ended with a Level 3 flying camel which got an extra +0.36. His components went up from two 6.0s up to five 7.50s.

10. Overall 188.53; 10.FS 115.45 (51.15+64.30); Takahito Mura, Japan, who performed to music from “Spartacus” and “Man of Steel” immediately following the second warm-up, dropped from fifth after the SP. He had finished eighth in this event last season, when it was in Windsor. He said, “It was a wrong decision to go for the second quad.” He had doubled his first jump meant as a quad toe loop, and didn’t do the triple toe loop with which it was meant to be combined. Then he had a two-foot landing on the second attempt at the quad immediately afterwards and it was given a double arrow for under-rotation, which meant it only earned 2 points. He did bring off a nice first triple Axel but then singled the second attempt. And he stepped out of his final jump, a triple Salchow. Two of his spins were Level 4. The change foot sit was Level 3 as were his steps.

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