Saturday, November 16, 2013
Chan thrills crowd in winning 4th Trophee Bompard
PARIS -- Three-time world champion Patrick Chan left the ice to a deafening standing ovation after another near-faultless performance in the free skate helped the Canadian win the Trophee Bompard for the fourth time on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Canadian broke his world record score in Friday's short program and again was in unbeatable form, surpassing his score after nailing his opening quad toeloop-triple toeloop, quad toeloop and triple axel jumps with remarkable ease.
"I couldn't have done anything better," Chan said. "I criticize myself a lot and sometimes it's time to give yourself a pat on the back, and today is one of those days."
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu was second ahead of American Jason Brown.
Chan scored 196.75 in the free for an overall mark of 295.27 -- putting him well clear of Hanyu who tallied 168.22 in the free and 263.59 overall. Brown scored 243.09.
Chan, who was at his best in perfect step and choreography sequences to the sounds of Concerto Grosso's "Four Seasons," looked skyward and blew kisses as he skated off to receive a hug from coach Kathy Johnson.
"I felt truly free and I was really able to have ownership of every moment I could skate," Chan said. "That's why we compete. Not for the medals or the money. You kind of feel unbeatable and indestructible. I was happy, free and light."
Hanyu recovered brilliantly after a nervous start where he stumbled on his opening jump -- a quad salchow -- and then fell attempting a quad toeloop. He shook his head as he left the ice as the crowd warmly cheered him.
"There was a little bit too much strength and power in my body. I was thinking about the quad miss too much, so the toeloop didn't go so well," Hanyu said. "But after that, it was a nice performance."
Hanyu and Brown are both 18 years old.
"It's so exciting to be on the podium with the two most incredible guys," Brown said. "I messed up the second (triple) axel, but I'm pleased with how I made up for that."
Chan usually scores so highly in the short that he has room for error in the long. This time he was determined to follow up with an equally strong performance.
"Today was a challenge because I've done very well in the short program in the past and haven't had a good track record with the long. I was, of course, nervous and eager and a bit worried," he said. "The trick is to learn how to breathe between the elements. I really focused on breathing every step of the way."
Earlier, Olympic runners-up Pang Qing and Tong Jian won the pairs at the Trophee Bompard for the first time.
The veteran pair posted the best score in the free skate to secure a total of 193.86 points. World bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada finished second with 190.89.
Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin took the bronze medal with 184.01
"I was very excited because we got the gold medal," the 34-year-old Tong said. "This gold is very important for us because it's our final season."
By finishing second, the Canadians secured their place in the Grand Prix Final, which features the top six skaters in each category.
"That was a difficult skate for Megan and I. We knew we couldn't win the gold but another goal of ours was to reach the Grand Prix final," Radford said. "We're incredibly proud of ourselves to make the final with the pressure we put on ourselves today."
Duhamel hopes to finally win in Paris one day.
"I've got two bronze and two silvers here and I want to win the gold, so hopefully they'll invite us back," she said.
The Americans overtook Russians Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, who were third after the short program.
"We're very excited with our skate," Coughlin said. "I didn't realize how noisy it would be, it was like a soccer crowd out there."
Meanwhile, Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir followed up their success at Skate Canada by winning the ice dance.
The Canadians were nine points better than European runners-up Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia, who beat Cup of China winners Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France by less than a point.
"We felt like we had a pretty strong performance," Moir said. "We're using all of the competitions this year as a stepping stone to the Sochi Olympics and I think we've improved since Skate Canada."
Later, defending champion Ashley Wagner will try to protect her overnight lead.