Chan soars with record score; Hanyu makes GP Final

AFP-JIJI

World champion Patrick Chan gave a performance which he believes can win him gold at the Sochi Olympics as American Ashley Wagner successfully defended her women’s title at the Trophee Bompard Grand Prix on Saturday.

Chan won a fourth Paris gold in spectacular style as fellow Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir claimed their third in ice dancing on the last day of competition at the fifth of the six-round ISU Grand Prix series.

Wagner, 22, held off Russian teenagers Adelina Sotnikova and Anna Pogorilaya, who claimed silver and bronze, respectively, to stay top of the podium.

But three months before the Winter Olympics, it was Chan who stole the show at the Paris-Bercy rink over the two days of competition.

The 22-year-old outshone rival Yuzuru Hanyu as he followed his record in Friday’s short program with a new world best in both the free skate, 196.75 points, and overall total score, 295.27.

The Canadian brought the crowd to their feet after his skate to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and “Concerto Grosso.”

“I don’t want to jinx it, but I will say today I’m very pleased with my skate,” said Chan.

“I think if I put that up at the Olympics it would be very, very hard to beat.

“I couldn’t have done anything better. I criticize myself a lot, but sometimes it’s time to give yourself a pat on the back and today is one of those days.”

He won by a massive 31.68-point margin over Hanyu with American Jason Brown winning his first senior medal in third.

Chan took to the ice last after his rivals had stumbled through their routines, opening with a superb quad/triple toe loop combination followed by another quad and a triple axel with a further six triple jumps.

“Maybe the last spin could be improved,” the three-time world champion mused when asked what he needed to work on.

“It was a level 3 and was supposed to be a level 4. Otherwise I’m very pleased with myself.”

Hanyu, 18, was no match as he popped his opening quad jump and fell on his second quad attempt in his skate to Nino Rota’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

The Japanese champion fought bravely back and completed the remainder of his program cleanly with an additional eight triples.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Hanyu, who like Chan qualifies for the Grand Prix Final after they also finished 1-2 at Skate Canada.

“I was thinking about the quad salchow so much that the quad toe loop didn’t go well. After that I calmed down and managed to give a good performance.”

He added: “The big difference between Patrick and me is experience, so I need to keep practicing.”

On the women’s side, Wagner finished second in her free skate to Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, behind Sotnikova, but held her overnight lead from the short program for an overall 194.37.

“I’m happy despite a performance that wasn’t perfect,” said Wagner, who like Cup of China winner Pogorilaya and Sotnikova, runnerup in Beijing, qualifies for the GP Final.

Sotnikova, 17, was emotional after her free skate to Camille Saint-Saens’ “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.”

“Finally I was able to skate in a way I haven’t skated in a long time,” said Sotnikova, who scored 189.81, with Pogorilaya achieving 184.69.

“I’m overwhelmed by my emotions. It’s the first time in two years I’ve skated a clean free program and hopefully now I’ll make it to the Grand Prix Final.”

Olympic champions Virtue and Moir skated their free program to the story of their 17-year career together with a choreography filled with intricate steps and dazzling dance lifts.

The Skate Canada winners scored 180.96 to take gold ahead of Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, 171.89, with defending champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat having to settle for bronze 171.08.

Earlier Chinese veterans Pang Qing and Tong Jian won the pairs title on their sixth attempt despite an error-strewn performance to “I Dreamed a Dream,” from Les Miserables.

“This is our last season so to get the gold medal here is very important to us,” said 34-year-old Tong.

The Olympic silver medallists scored their season’s best 126.17 points for the free skate and 193.86 overall for their fifth medal in Paris.

Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford took silver for the second consecutive year with an overall total of 190.89 and 124.82 for their free skate to the “Alice in Wonderland” soundtrack.

American’s Caydee Denney and John Coughlin finished in third place.

The final leg of the Grand Prix series, the Cup of Russia, takes place in Moscow next weekend.