Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chan stumbles, but still wins free skate at Liberty

The jumps aren't quite there yet, but, judging from Saturday's early-season skate at the Liberty Summer Competition, Patrick Chan's Phantom of the Opera promises to be spectacular.

"It was fun. Every time I fell, I would just get up and think, 'Who cares?' because it's the first time I've competed the program," said the two-time Canadian champion.

No one, except maybe Chan's coach, Don Laws, fixated on the skater's tumbles on a triple Axel, quad toe and some steps. They were too busy taking in the complexity of the skater's footwork and transitions, which were so difficult that Chan wasn't sure he could do them all at first.

"The third day we worked on the program, I told my choreographer, Lori Nichol, 'I don't know about this,' but I heard everyone talking about how amazing it looked, so now I'd hate to make big changes," he said.

"I do have to figure out the [circular] steps. I was late on them, and I've been late in all my practices, too. I have to talk to Lori about how to fix them."

The world silver medalist earned 127.46 points, including some 70.76 points for his program components. He fell on his first two jumps -- the triple Axel and quad toe -- before landing a triple flip-double toe combination.

Chan's quad attempt was a late addition. He hit a clean one in the six-minute warm-up and decided to put it in his program. Despite the fall, the skater got credit for rotating the attempt and earned five points.

"I just got up after the Axel and said why not," Chan said. "I've got to start trying the quad in competition, and what better place than this?"

Chan has nearly three months until his next event, Russia's Rostelecom Cup, plenty of time to refine the program and get more comfortable with the jumps. He plans to train it in three sections and will start to include the quad in his run-throughs.

Laws last led a skater to Olympic gold in 1984, when Scott Hamilton stood atop the podium. Now, more than a quarter century later, history may repeat itself.

Full article.

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