KINGSTON, Ontario — Nobunari Oda got his season off to a strong start Friday, taking the lead after the men’s short program at Skate Canada, the second event of the Grand Prix series.
Skating to “Storm” by the Yoshida Brothers, Oda delivered a precise routine to earn 81.37 points and lead Canada’s Kevin Reynolds (80.09) and American Adam Rippon (77.53).
Oda said he was pleased with a program that featured a solid triple axel, a triple flip-triple toe, a triple lutz and level-four spins.
“I was nervous to skate last, but I did a good job with my jumps and spins, and so I’m very satisfied with today’s performance,” he said.
Victory here for Oda would make it two Grand Prix wins out of two for Japan’s men after world champion Daisuke Takahashi won the season-opening NHK Trophy in Nagoya last week.
The 20-year-old Reynolds, from Coquitlam, British Columbia, became the first man to execute two quads in a short program, landing a quad salchow in a combination and a quad toe loop to score 80.09 points.
“I was absolutely thrilled when I landed that second quadruple jump,” Reynolds said. “I had so many emotions running through my head, I was so happy.”
Cynthia Phaneuf finished first in the women’s short program.
Phaneuf, the top-ranked Canadian in the absence of Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette, scored 58.24 points, then said she’s perfectly comfortable carrying Canada’s flag for the women.
“My job is the same (with or without Rochette), but for sure it’s a pleasure for me to be the first Canadian and be proud to go out there and know I’m the top lady,” Phaneuf said. “For me it’s an honor to have that title and just do my job knowing I’m the one that has to lead.”
Rochette, who skated her way onto the podium at the Vancouver Olympics days after her mother’s death, is skipping the Grand Prix season as she contemplates her competitive future.
Ksenia Makarova of Russia, who lives in Newburgh, N.Y., was second in the short program with 57.90 points, while Agnes Zawadzki of Colorado Springs, Colo., was third with 56.29.
Patrick Chan, a two-time world silver medalist, was fourth in the men’s competition after a rocky performance. Chan fell on his quad toe loop attempt to open the program and lost focus from there, falling twice more — on a triple Axel and his step sequence — to score 73.20.
“I have no idea what happened,” Chan said. “I think it was just a combination of everything, but I think right away when I missed the quad, even in practice I start doubting myself. The quad’s a big jump and it’s really important to me. It’s just a lack of experience and now I understand how the other guys feel who do it in their program, but it’s part of the learning process and I’ve got to work my way up.”
Rippon was sporting a red welt the size of a quarter on his cheek and an ice pack on his shoulder after a spectacular crash with Chan in the morning practice. Chan was skating backward doing footwork and turned just in time to see Rippon but too late to avoid a collision, completely upending the American.
“That was definitely the most exciting collision, maybe not the most dangerous,” Rippon said.
Rippon heard the gasp from the crowd and wondered for a split-second what the commotion was about before he felt the impact.
“I was thinking ‘Oh boy, I can’t wait to see what happened.’ Two seconds later, smacked down on the ice and I had no idea what happened,” Rippon said.