Oda wows Paris crowd in men's free skate
Lands quadruple toeloop for 3rd Grand Prix win at Trophée Bompard
Japan's Nobunari Oda set the bar high early in his free skate, landing a triple toeloop and triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, before overtaking Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic to win Saturday's Grand Prix event in Paris.
Oda was second at the Trophée Bompard after the short program but reached the top of the field with a flawless performance to a Charlie Chaplin medley.
"I did a good performance today," said Oda, who clinched his third Grand Prix win following victories in last year's NHK Trophy and the 2006 Skate America. "Everything was good. I'm really happy and I really appreciated the people's support."
Oda, skating in a black tuxedo, combined perfect jumps with artistic intensity to seduce the judges and the Parisian crowd, finishing with 166.33 points in the free skate and 242.53 overall.
Verner had 229.96 points, followed by U.S. teenager Adam Rippon with 219.96.
Canada's Vaughn Chipeur began Saturday last in the 12-man field and remained there following the free skate.
Rippon, with 144.14 points in the free skate, approached his personal best of 147.70. He moved to Canada last year to train with Brian Orser, the 1984 and 1988 Olympic silver medallist.
"Working with Brian is a pleasure," the 19-year-old said. "He is a great coach and a mentor. I'm excited to go home and continue working with him. I still have a lot of things to improve."
After a bright opening, Rippon missed the landing on his triple Axel as part of a triple Axel-double toeloop combination on his second item.
Former European champion Verner led after the short program but was betrayed by his jumps in the free skate. The Czech skater started strong with a quadruple toeloop-double toeloop combination but missed a triple Lutz and botched a combination later in his program.
"My first four elements were clean, and then I made a mistake," said Verner, who skated to music from The Godfather. "I'm a bit angry, but I think I can improve that."
Former world champion Brian Joubert of France, sixth after the short program, climbed to fourth place overall despite missing two quadruple jumps.
This is the first time the Trophée Bompard has opened the six-event ISU Grand Prix, which traditionally starts with Skate America.
Skaters collect points toward a place in the Grand Prix final in December in Tokyo.
With files from The Associated Press