Reynolds makes history at Skate Canada
Patrick Chan had chosen this season to debut his quad jump away from the glaring spotlight that follows Olympians and in a post-Olympic campaign when failure doesn't come at such a stiff cost.
Yet, he couldn't help but feel the sting as he picked himself off the ice Friday after failing in his first attempt at the venerable four-revolution jump in competition.
As debuts go, Chan's was far from the one he was hoping for. The 19-year-old from Toronto fizzled after his botched quad toe loop attempt to fall twice more in a shaky short program at Skate Canada International in Kingston, Ont., and wind up fourth.
"I have no idea what happened, I think it was just a combination of everything, but I think right away when I missed the quad, even in practice I start doubting myself," said Chan.
"The quad's a big jump and it's really important to me. It's just a lack of experience and now I understand how the other guys feel who do it in their program, but it's part of the learning process and I've got to work my way up."
As costly as the quad jump was to Chan, the big jump was a huge boost to Canadian teammate Kevin Reynolds. The 20-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C., became the first man in history to execute two quads in a short program and sits second heading into Saturday's long program (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 4 p.m. ET).
Reynolds took advantage of an International Skating Union rule implemented this season — it allows skaters to have two quads in the short program — to pen his name in the history books. Reynolds landed a quad Salchow in a combination and a quad toe loop to score 80.09 points.
"I was absolutely thrilled when I landed that second quadruple jump … I had so many emotions running through my head, I was so happy," said Reynolds.
Nobunari Oda of Japan skated a flawless performance, but without a quad, to finish first with 81.37 points, while Adam Rippon of the U.S. was third with 77.53.
Fell on 1st attempt
Chan fell on his quad toe loop attempt to open the program and his focus wavered from that point on at the K-Rock Centre. The two-time world silver medallist fell on a triple Axel and again on his step sequence to score 73.20. The three falls cost Chan more than 12 points.
The fall on the footwork, normally one of the strongest points of his program, was a shock, and he had harsh words for himself afterward.
"You're an idiot. You're really dumb," Chan said, when asked what was going through his head. "That's a real rookie mistake and it's really stupid to do that, I just didn't concentrate through the program."
Chan has been outspoken in his defence of competing without a quad and won his two world medals without one. But, partly because of new rules this season that make attempting the quad less risky and because he's become adept at the jump — in practice, at least — he added it to his repertoire this season.
Where Chan has always earned top international marks for his spins and his artistry, Reynolds is a mechanically sound skater who is traditionally weaker when it comes to the presentation of his programs.
The new rules definitely favour Reynolds, who attempted his first quad in competition at the age of 15.
"To be able to do the two quads here, it was a great opportunity for me and the rest of the season I can improve on my presentation side as well, and improve the basic skating," Reynolds said.
Rippon was sporting a red welt the size of a quarter on his cheek and an ice pack on his shoulder after a spectacular crash with Chan in the morning practice. Chan was skating backward doing footwork and turned just in time to see Rippon but too late to avoid a collision, upending the American.
"That was definitely the most exciting collision, maybe not the most dangerous," said Rippon.
Rippon heard the gasp from the crowd and wondered for a split second what the commotion was about before he felt the impact.
"I was thinking 'Oh boy, I can't wait to see what happened.' Two seconds later, smacked down on the ice and I had no idea what happened," Rippon said. "I hit my face a little bit and my shoulder, but I'm fine and I think it knocked some of the nerves out of me. It definitely didn't affect my performance today. And I think I look kind of cool with it too."