Patrick Chan 'the man to beat in Sochi'

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Patrick Chan wins gold at Trophee Eric Bompard

Three-time world champion Patrick Chan left the ice to a deafening standing ovation after another near-faultless performance in the free skate helped the Canadian win the Trophee Bompard for the fourth time on Saturday in Paris.

Any competition that ends up landing a new world record in the short, free and overall scores has to be a confidence booster for a skater. Patrick Chan is that skater and the Trophee Eric Bompard Grand Prix in France this past weekend was the competition.

With the Olympics less than three months away, the goal for every skater is to get their best out in front of their rivals and judges alike. For Chan, that didn’t happen at the Skate Canada event. The Grand Prix in Paris re-established that he will be the man to beat in Sochi.

Yuzuru Hanyu finished in second place despite errors on both quad jumps off the top of his free program. What was significant for Hanyu in this Grand Prix outing was the fight that he showed throughout the balance of his program to stay in contention.

American champion Ashley Wagner was the gold medallist in Paris and earned a trip to the Grand Prix Final. For me, Wagner is the quintessential American female skater in the style of Dorothy Hamill, Kristi Yamaguchi, Jill Trenary and Michelle Kwan, to name a few. She is as elegant as she is strong technically and artistically; she is one of the most watchable skaters today.

A pair of talented Russian teenagers rounded out the women’s podium: 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova took her second silver medal of the series, while 15-year-old Anna Pogorilaya took bronze, adding to the gold she won at the Cup of China. Both skaters will have to wait for the conclusion of the Cup of Russia next weekend to know for sure that they will be going to the Grand Prix Final.

Pang, Tong ‘in their swan song’

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir easily took the title in Paris and will be meeting biggest rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the Grand Prix Final in three weeks. The goal for Virtue and Moir was to close the point gap between themselves and Meryl Davis and Charlie White, their U.S. rivals. It is not so much what the number is but rather that in each of their two Grand Prix events, Davis and White have earned more points than Virtue and Moir. This can signal to the skaters that they may need to re-visit either the structure of the program or its content in order to maximize their total point potential.

The upset in the dance event happened when the Russian team of Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov got ahead of French champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat to take the silver. I like the French team a lot, admire their creativity and would typically have them ahead in my own rankings but, in France, the Russians had a very strong performance in their free dance that must be acknowledged.

I am happy for Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China on a sentimental level for taking the title at this Grand Prix. They are in their swan song season, have competed at the Grand Prix six times and had never won this event before now.

I am also delighted for Canadian champions and World bronze medallists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who won silver. Although they had hoped to take the title I think their main goal had to be improving on their bronze medal performance from Skate Canada. As far as France was concerned, I think that this competition checked off that box with their improved performance in their Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter program.

Photo: (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

News Category: 

Latest News

  • August 18, 2017
    The fall will see the launch of the Ontario Para-swimming Academy at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre that will give Ontario Para-swimmers the resources needed to succeed on the international stage. The new initiative will be managed by Don Burton...
  • Ontario Athletes Bring Home 212 Medals
    August 15, 2017
    Ontario athletes topped the medal standings at the 2017 Canada Summer Games, bringing home 212 medals and making fans across the province proud. Team Ontario’s athletes are returning home with 87 gold, 65 silver and 60 bronze medals, including...
  • International Paralympic Committee VISTA 2017 Conference Volunteer Call-Out
    August 14, 2017
    Do you have a passion for Paralympic Sport Science and Sport Medicine? For volunteering? Have you ever dreamed of taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and representing your hometown? Well look no further! About VISTA 2017 Toronto, Ontario...
  • RBC Training Ground seeks podium potential athletes in Ontario
    July 31, 2017
    TORONTO (July 31, 2017) - This Fall, four RBC Training Ground Local Qualifiers are set to take place across Ontario, culminating with a Regional Final in Toronto this October in the hopes of finding new Olympic talent. Canadian Sport Institute...
  • Mixed free relay earns third medal for Canada
    July 31, 2017
    BUDAPEST , Hungary – Canada picked up its third medal of the FINA World Championships Saturday, earning bronze in the mixed 4×100-metre freestyle relay in Budapest, Hungary. The team of Yuri Kisil, Javier Acevedo, Chantal Van Landeghem and Penny...