What does this mean in the larger scheme of things?
There is a lot of speculation that with only the Canadian nationals remaining for Patrick before his appearance at the Olympics, that his podium possibilities are behind him. I don’t agree. In my opinion, it’s not about how many more competitive chances he has, it’s more about having wasted his Skate Canada opportunity.
As a strategy, appearing at a competition indicates that you are ready to compete. Anything less exposes your vulnerabilities as a contender to the other hopefuls in the field. More than the mediocre result, that becomes his hurdle to surmount.
You only have to look at his history as a competitor to know he is a young man who learns from his mistakes. I remember seeing him take the ice in South Korea’s Goyang city last December at the ISU Grand Prix Final with body language that clearly said: “how did I get here?”
It showed as his ensuring shaky performance resulted in a fifth place result. I also remember seeing the same young man dominate the ice at the Canadian nationals and then the worlds with amazing silver-medal performance.
He was widely regarded as “the one” at the beginning of this season and bound for Olympic glory. With.the rise of Japan’s Nobunari Oda, the return to competition of 2006 Olympic champion from Russia, Evgeni Plushenko, and 2006 Olympic silver medallist, Stephane Lambiel from Switzerland, Chan is reduced to being just another medal possibility.
Think of the advantage of being another face in the crowd. This may be just the break in media intensity that Chan needs in order to off the immense weight of a nation’s Olympic hopes and skate the way he knows he can. Lori Nichol’s choreographic brush strokes beautifully illuminate Chan as an artist and one of the skaters of his generation.
Regardless, in the Olympic season, the only skate that counts is the one coming up in February.
German pairs Olympic favourites
This event established for me that the two-time world champions from Germany, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy are now definitive Olympic challengers for the Gold. With a less than stellar bronze medal at the first Grand Prix in Paris, they went back to the drawing board and created something magical in the form of a free program that is majestic enough to warrant the beautiful music they chose from the Out of Africa soundtrack.
They not only took the title decisively but also earned a 10 (perfect score) in one of their program component scores. Silver medalists were the Russian team of Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov. Both teams have now qualified for the Grand Prix Final. The bronze medalists were Canadians Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison whose
The Way We Were soundtrack program is still a crowd favourite and continues to evolve.
Virtue, Moir captivate audience
The next “goosebumps” moment was delivered by Canada’s two-time world medalists in ece dance, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir who won the gold in ice dance. The applause was thundering at the conclusion of their free dance to Mahler’s 5th Symphony where the audience was on its’ feet almost before the end of the music. They earned a new season’s best score and also scored 10 in one of their program component scores on their way to the top of the podium.
Silver medalists were the French team of Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat whose avant-garde free dance was not easily understood from the outside, well at least not by me anyway. Both teams have qualified for the Grand Prix Final. The real treat of the event was from Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who were outstanding in both the original and free dance and earned their first international medal since taking a bronze at the ISU world junior championships in 2007.
Rochette earns Grand Prix Final berth
The women’s event was a bit of a mixed bag but one thing is clear: Canada’s five-time national champion and defending world silver medallist, Joannie Rochette, is back on track with a win. The victory earned her a berth in the Grand Prix Final.
Her short program was a personal best (70.00) and showed Joannie as confident as I have ever seen. This short program helped set her up for the rest of the event. The silver medal went to American Alissa Czisny and the bronze to Finland’s Laura Lepisto, who is the defending European champion.
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