Patrick Chan ran away with the men’s title at the Canadian Championships last night in London, Ont. Vaughn Chipeur and Kevin Reynolds placed second and third, respectively.
It was Chan’s third consecutive national title. Considering he was coming back from a calf injury, his performance was especially meaningful. He was superb and left the competition in his wake; his margin of victory was more than 45 points.
“I’m taken aback by everything that’s happened here,” Chan said. “With all the hardship I’ve had this season, I was able to come through with a great performance here.”
Chan landed eight triples, four of them in combination. Chan’s footwork set him apart as did his overall presentation in his “Phantom of the Opera” program, which was far superior to the rest of the men's field.
With the victory, Chan punched his ticket to Vancouver where the 2010 Olympic Games are being held. It will be his first time competing at an Olympic Games.
“To put that [Canadian team] jacket on you start to realize I’m going to the Olympics. I’m really humbled and really happy with how I performed here,” he said. “I wish I had [performed like this] this a little bit earlier [this season]. It’s a little late. I’m cutting it a little close [to the Olympics], but it makes it exciting.”
The reigning World men’s silver medalist notched 177.88 points (88.78 technical score/89.10 component score) for his free skate and an overall mark of 268.02. His errors were few — a hand down on a triple flip and a stumble out of a triple Axel — and the highlights were many.
“To have this performance, I’m really relieved,” Chan said. “I’m going to look forward to training with a little bit of weight off my shoulders. Even though the program was quite good in my mind, it could still have a lot of improvements.”
Chipeur also put down eight triples with four in combination, but his component scores were lower than Chan’s. Chipeur held on to claim silver, though, and the second spot on the Canadian men’s team for the Olympic Games. He scored 143.23 points (87.68 technical score/61.42 component score) for his free program. His overall score was 222.10.
“That skate has been a long time in coming,” he said. “It matches the short program and it just felt great to get it out there. It’s just incredible pressure. It’s the Olympic year and all that goes along with that. You just want to go out there and skate your best."
Reynolds tried to jump his way onto the Canadian Olympic team, which has two men’s spots. He had three quads and seven triples planned for this program. He landed two quads and eight triples. He scored 149.10 in the free skate and 216.49 overall.
“The atmosphere was so intense,” Reynolds said. “You build on that energy [from the crowd] and after each jump, you just build and build and build, and they cheer you on. It was just a great experience.
"It’s bittersweet because I was so close to that Olympic team. But to have a personal best for the long, 149, it’s something to be proud of, skating nearly perfect in the long.”
Shawn Sawyer and Joey Russell placed fourth and fifth, respectively. -- Rob Brodie contributed to this report.