Canadian Reynolds takes bronze; Americans Hochstein, Minor struggle.Posted by Lynn Rutherford
He didn’t have the free skate he wanted, but Patrick Chan hung on to defeat Yuzuru Hanyu and win his sixthSkate Canada title in Mississauga, Ontario on Saturday.
Skating to a lyrical composition by world pair champion Eric Radford, Canada’s three-time world champion opened with a spectacular quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and superb triple axel.
After falling on a quadruple salchow – the first Chan has tried in competition – his jumps faded, with a poorly landed second triple axel and doubling of an intended triple-triple combination. Although he maintained a smooth, contemplative performance quality, his free skate score of 91.12 points was second to Hanyu’s. He ended with 266.95 points.
“Good opening, strong opening, I felt light and confident,” Chan said. “My goal was to at least rotate the quad sal, no matter how I felt going into it. Maybe I didn’t plan to be as tired, that’s one challenge when you add an another quad, experiencing the extra fatigue. So I started dying a little bit, the legs started getting heavier at the end of the program.”
Chan estimated his success on the jump as seven out of ten on a good day, and said his coach, Marina Zoueva, was careful to limit the number of quads he tried in his practices.
“Maybe it’s just the anticipation of the quad sal, knowing it’s coming, that got me today,” he said. “I do it in practice, I want to do it even more. Your breathing changes, your heartrate starts getting higher, so all those little things add up to making you more tired at the end.”
Chan was not the only skater to have problems with a new quad. Performing to “Hope and Legacy” by Joe Hisaishi, Hanyu fell on the opening quad loop, which was downgraded by the technical panel. But Japan’s Olympic champion landed a solid quad salchow, as well as a quad toe in his program’s second half, and showed his usual liquid grace and finely tuned sense of drama. He won the free with 183.41 points, and climbed from fourth place after the short to place second behind Chan for the second straight season.
“I was a little nervous, and I didn’t rotate the quad loop,” Hanyu said. “But I tried quad loop in both programs (at Skate Canada) and got really good experience for my next Grand Prix (NHK Trophy). I feel a little regret for my performance, but I am a little satisfied (about) my quad toe.”
Hanyu landed quad loops in his programs at the Autumn Classic International in Montreal, Quebec earlier this month, and has vowed to put them in his programs for the rest of the season. He attempted six quads at Skate Canada — loop and salchow in his short, and loop, toe and two salchows in his free skate — and cleanly landed two.
“I really practiced my free program a lot for this event,” Hanyu said through an interpreter. “However, as you know, I was not able to land in either program the quad loop, so I left points on the table, but those are things are have to work on.”
In 2013, Kevin Reynolds landed five quads to win the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. Since then, Canada’s bronze medalist has suffered a seemingly endless series of boot problems and injuries. Last season, he was 11th at Four Continents and didn’t attain the minimum technical scores needed to compete at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships.
Now, he’s on the rise again, landing three quads in a stately, dramatic program to the soundtrack of “Grand Piano,” as well as a triple axel and three other triples. His 176.39 point free skate gave him the bronze medal with 245.06 points.
“It’s been four years since I’ve been on the Grand Prix circuit, so to come back from my injuries in the awesome way I did, with two strong performances here, feels great,” Reynolds said.
Grant Hochstein, fourth in the U.S. and tenth in the world last season, placed eighth in the free skate and 11th overall. Three-time U.S. medalist Ross Miner was 12th.