Monday, January 19, 2009

Chan raises the roof in title defense

Luckily for Patrick Chan, his triple Axel troubles proved to be only temporary.

En route to defending his title at the 2009 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships, the 18-year-old upstart unleashed three beautiful Axels and looked set to challenge for the world crown in March.

Saturday night in Saskatoon, Chan raised the roof with a performance that few men in the world could match. His program set to Rachmaninov scored 165.93 points, giving him a total of 254.82. That score was some 46 points higher than his nearest rival.

Calgary's Vaughn Chipeur and Jeremy Ten, of Vancouver, claimed silver and bronze in an exciting men's final which brought these 2009 Canadian championships to a close.

Chipeur, the man with the humongous triple Axel, tallied 206.30 for the meet, while Ten, collected 204.03.

Following the event, Skate Canada announced that the three medalists will compete at both the 2009 Four Continents Championships in Vancouver in two weeks and Worlds in Los Angeles in March.

"I'm still like, 'Omigod. This happened,'" said Chan about an hour after his victory.

"People said after the short that I pretty much had it in the bag, but I didn't think exactly that. The skaters here aren't the only ones I will be competing against. I'm going to be against Evan [Lysacek], Daisuke [Takahashi], Takahiko Kozuka, all the Europeans, so they would probably have total scores close to what I had here.

"So, I thought, 'I'm not the last skater. I have three other skaters after me who are gunning for the gold medal as well.' I had that mindset to motivate myself to attack and do everything planned in the program," said Chan, explaining how he mentally inserted the world's top skaters into the picture here to ensure he was motivated to give his best performance possible.

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