Road To The Olympic Games

Patrick Chan wins gold in China

Canadian Patrick Chan won gold at the men's free skate program Saturday, taking advantage of a fall by short program favourite Nobunari Oda of Japan on the last day of the Grand Prix final in Beijing.

Crone and Poirier take bronze in ice dance

There's that quad jump. And here's a gold medal for Patrick Chan.

The 19-year-old Toronto resident nailed his long-practised quadruple toe loop on Saturday in Beijing, and it sent him on the way to a near flawless performance that won the Grand Prix final event.

It was the first of two medals of the day for the Canadian senior team as Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier jumped two places to win bronze in ice dancing.

Chan had only landed his first career quad earlier this fall at Skate Canada, but he made both of them at the Grand Prix final, including Friday in the short program.

"It was really important to get that quad at this point in the season," said Chan, who passed Nobunari Oda of Japan, the leader following the short program.

"I need to know that I can do it on a consistent basis and keep it together. And to land that first triple Axel was a big highlight as well because I was able to quickly regain focus after the quad."

Getting the big one in at the top of the program can often go one of two ways for a skater — either they get on a high that sees them through the rest of the way, or they can lose concentration for the next, easier, jump and miss it entirely.

There was no loss of concentration here.

"It feels great to get the victory. I always wanted to do well at this event," said Chan, previously fifth at the Grand Prix final in both 2007 and 2008.

He did not compete last fall because of injury.

"It was important for me, going into the next part of the season, to put down two solid programs," he said. "I really learned a lot with how I prepared physically and mentally for this competition.

Chan, skating to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantasia, scored 174.16 points in the free for a solid 259.75 overall.

Oda, who fell on his own quad toe loop to open his program, dropped to second.

"I was very disappointed with tonight's performance because I fell," Oda said. "I wasn't satisfied with the performance … I couldn't do the last part because I was late on the music."

Japan's Takahiko Kozuka was third.

Canadians move up from 5th

Crone, from Toronto, and Poirier, of Unionville, Ont., came into the ice dance final in fifth place but put in a strong performance to earn a medal behind winners Meryl Davis and Charlie White, of the U.S.

Kaitlin Weaver and Andrew Poje, of Waterloo, Ont., were fifth.

"Everything felt super solid," Poirier said. "We delivered three strong free dances on the Grand Prix [circuit] this season, and showed we can deliver under pressure."

Earning a medal in ice dance was especially sweet for Canadian skate officials because the team is missing Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Virtue is recovering from surgery on both legs.

Canadian pairs skaters Kirsten Moore-Towers, of  St. Catharines, Ont., and Dylan Moscovitch, of Waterloo, capped a break-out season with sixth place.

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, of German, beat veteran Chinese pair Qing Pan and Jian Tong to win the event.

American wins women's

Alissa Czisny, of the U.S., also started strong with a triple lutz-double toe loop combination, and used that to take the women's singles.

She was third in the free skate, but had been well ahead after the short and that allowed her to hold off Italy's Carolina Kostner in the end.

Kostner, who has been battling a sore left knee this season, was second with Japan's Kanako Murakami third.

In junior competition, Canada's Andrei Rogozine, of Richmond Hill, Ont., moved from seventh to a bronze medal with an outstanding free skate performance in men's singles.

America's Richard Dornbush won the gold.

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