Friday, January 30, 2009

Chipeur soars on jaw-dropping Axel

There are triple Axels, and then there is Vaughn Chipeur's triple Axel.

When the Albertan unleashes that jump in competition, the audience gasps, momentarily in awe of the gravity-defying distance between skater and ice.

Next week at the ISU Four Continents Championships, the new Canadian silver medalist wants to make his impossibly big Axel even bigger. His intent is to give the judging panel no choice but to award +3s across the board for the execution of his signature jump.

"Everyone says 'You have the best triple Axel.' So, OK, I want the best marks for it," Chipeur said in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, at the 2009 Canadian Championships, where he convinced six of eight judges to give him the maximum grade.

Chipeur, 24, is not one of Canada's most well-known skaters, but he has been around for a while. He competed on the Junior Grand Prix circuit in 2002 and 2003 and twice finished third as a junior at the Canadian championships. He ranked 11th and then 16th in his first two national appearances as a senior competitor.

After those lackluster results, he decided to get a lot more serious about his training. He even recognized the need to nurture his late-blooming inner artiste.

Chipeur skated to a respectable fifth-place finish at Skate Canada in November 2007 but fell to 11th at the NHK Trophy later that month. He was buoyed by a fourth-place result at the 2008 Canadians, although he placed just seventh in the long, and then finished a commendable seventh at Four Continents.

This season, Chipeur wowed the judges at the Cup of China to rank second in the short program, but he again fell back to seventh in the long and, ultimately, finished off the podium in fifth place.

Inconsistency on the jumps has been the culprit behind his mixed results. When his performances went completely off the rails at the Cup of Russia this past fall, resulting in a last place showing, coach Scott Davis decided to crack the whip.

Full article.

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