Chan comes back to win Skate Canada

Patrick Chan reacts to his score after his men's free program performance at Skate Canada...

Patrick Chan reacts to his score after his men's free program performance at Skate Canada International in Mississauga, Ont., Oct. 29, 2011. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:21 AM ET

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - After Javier Fernandez topped Patrick Chan in the Skate Canada International short program Friday night, Brian Orser warned his new Spanish protege things would change.

The free skate is a far different beast.

“When we walked in (to the Hershey Centre) Friday, the (TV crew) kind of waited for us to go by to focus the cameras on Patrick,” Orser, the Canadian figure skating legend-turned-coach said. “I told Javier it’s going to be different today. They were all over him and we had a good laugh about it.”

And though Fernandez was a revelation in finishing second for his country’s first International Skating Union medal, the spotlight predictably reverted to Chan late Saturday night.

The reigning world champ wasn’t at his record-breaking best, but still scored a come-from-behind victory with a 170.46-point free skate and 253.74 total to secure Canada’s first gold medal here and his third triumph in four years at this event.

“It was a different program than I usually skate it,” the 20-year-old said with a grin.“A big part of this season has been about breathing pattern in my program. It’s the most basic thing, but Kathy Johnson (his movement coach), she was on me about it last year religiously. I’m still in search of that. My foot kind of caught flat many times.

“I had quite a bit of trouble staying light.

“It wasn’t pretty but I was proud of myself. I was so happy I was able to keep a strong mind and follow through to the end.”

Chan wasn’t sharp on all his jumps and stumbled to the ice on footwork, but it was enough.

He has been in this position under this kind of pressure many times. For Fernandez, it’s a brand new business.

He found himself skating after two world champs in Chan and Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi, who ended up third.

“With these skaters, they are great,” Fernandez said. “They are like monsters. I was pretty nervous. I think I did the best I can. We’ve done good work and I will try to do the best I can to get to the Grand Prix final.”

“Those are his heroes,” Orser echoed. “He’s never been in this position before. But this should be good for him. He should believe he belongs here and hopefully, he gets used to this.

“He has a lot of promise. It’s the most excited I’ve been in a long time.”

With the top three hardly separated by a point after the short program, Chan promised an old-fashioned gun show.

But he was the skater with the most ammo, finishing three-and-a-half points ahead of Fernandez.

Chan admits he is still getting a feel for his program.

Things aren’t quite natural yet.

“I’m still thinking about what comes next,” he said. “With Phantom (his previous program), I had two years with it. The first year was like that, too, early on.

“It takes time. You put together all the ingredients and try to cook the best recipe.”

He’s a gunslinger who should have his own Food Network show.

United States skater Adam Rippon tried to make history with the first quad Lutz in Grand Prix history.

He under-rotated it and two-footed the landing, so he didn’t get credit for it.

“I’m proud of my attempt,” he said. “I’m going to keep trying. I’ll try again in my next competition.”

On the bright side, he didn’t collide with Chan in practice or warm-up this weekend. The two skaters had a spectacular collision last year at this event in Kingston.

“I was watching it on-line a bunch of times,” Rippon laughed, “and I told Patrick we’re going to go down in infamous skating history for that crash. Neither of us needed that again this year.

“It was pretty significant.”


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