Chan thrills at national skate championships

Patrick Chan salutes the crowd after skating the Men short program at the Canadian Figure Skating...

Patrick Chan salutes the crowd after skating the Men short program at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, Jan. 21, 2012. (REUTERS/ Mike Cassese)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 PM ET

So much for those nutrition freaks who believe you have to eat soya based noodles and garbanzo beans or whatever to compete at an optimal level.

World figure skating champion Patrick Chan was spotted in the elevator of his hotel on Saturday morning with big plate of bacon and eggs, and then he went out a few hours later and laid down a Lori Nichol-designed short program that very well might have been his best ever.

Skating to the groovy Take Five, Chan, 21, landed all his major jumps and elements, including a quad toe-triple toe combination, triple Axel and triple lutz to earn a remarkable score of 101.33 points. If not for the fact that it was a national championships, the score would have been a world record — eclipsing the previous world record of 93.02, set by Chan at last year’s world championships in Moscow. So, technically, it was not a world record, (though it is a Canadian record) but in the minds of Chan and his coach Christy Krall, it certainly was his best.

“The jumps were a little off,” said Chan, who is gunning for a fifth straight Canadian title here. “But I worked the hardest in this program, yet it had the finesse. So it had the best of both worlds. I think those points were deserved. It wasn’t a walk in the park.”

Krall was more adamant about the greatness of the performance.

“That was seamless, beautifully-executed, delightfully-presented,” she said. “It was first class.”

Chan struggled earlier this season and took off for Las Vegas for a few days over the New Year to recharge. The trip paid off.

“It was kind of nerve racking because I haven’t done a good short all season long and to finally put it out here at nationals ... At last year’s nationals I did the exact same thing, put out a strong short program, and I had a great world championships,” said the Toronto skater. “Hopefully, this is a sign that it’s on the right track.”

Krall said her skater’s performance at a nearly-full Moncton Coliseum Complex was typical of how he has been practicing of late.

“This year there is a whole different maturity about him,” she said. “I think you can see that he’s starting to play with the audience a little bit more. There’s nothing like watching Patrick Chan and his movement, his flow. I delighted in every moment.”

So did the crowd, which gave Chan a standing ovation. Almost as impressive was Kevin Reynolds. Reynolds, who has been competing against Chan since they were 10 years old, landed a quad salchow-triple toe combo as well as a triple axel and triple lutz, to earn a score 80.81, and second place heading into Sunday’s free program.

One of the best pure jumpers in the world, last year the Coquitlam, B.C., skater suffered a hip injury late in the season and wasn’t able to perform his best. But he also looks back on track.

Chan saluted his long-time rival and believes he’ll have to be at his best to outskate him in the free on Sunday. So does that mean he’ll start his day again with another plate of bacon and eggs?

“Yeah, and sausage,” said Chan.

The ladies singles title was won by Amelie Lacoste of Delson, Que., with an overall score of 159.51. Defending champion Cynthia Phaneuf won the freeskate, but was fourth after the short, and finished second overall with a score of 157.94.

That finish has created a controversy. Lacoste believes, as national champion, she should be selected for the worlds in March. But Phaneuf believes that, as a skater who won the free and placed fifth at the 2010 worlds, she should be selected.

Skate Canada CEO William Thompson said the champ does not automatically get the nod, and the decision will be made by committee.


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