Figure Skating

Chan wins third Trophee Bompard; Virtue, Moir victorious

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The Associated Press
11/19/2011 5:48:21 PM
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PARIS -- Canadians skated away with two gold medals at the Trophee Bompard on Saturday.

World champion Patrick Chan won in men's solo competition for the third time at the Grand Prix event in Paris, while Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir defended their overnight lead in the free dance to win in ice dancing.

Toronto's Chan started strong by nailing a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination, but then lost his balance during the circular step sequence.

It seemed to affect his confidence, and he landed awkwardly on two jumps in quick succession.

"The warmup felt really good, the program didn't," Chan said. "I felt shaky on the quads all week. Sometimes you make mistakes but overall I'm very pleased."

Having dominated the short program on Friday, Chan had enough overall points (240.60) to comfortably beat Song Nan of China (224.10) and the Czech Republic's Michal Brezina (218.60).

Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., scored a total of 176.93 points to beat defending champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France (164.56) for their gold medal.

Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy finished third with 153.76.

Both Virtue and Moir felt their short program needed some polish, but were pleased with the final result.

"Our short dance was a step in the right direction, there's still a lot I'd like to do with it," said Virtue. "We had a few bobbles here and there. It wasn't necessarily our best.

"I think we've been training that program much better at home but we've made some changes since Skate Canada (in late Oct.) and I think they were definitely positive."

Chan, Virtue and Moir have all qualified for the Grand Prix Final which will be held in Quebec City in early December.

"I'm really excited going into Quebec," Chan said. "Every single final I've done has been somewhere else, somewhere abroad, and this is the first time it'll be in Canada.

"I'm so excited to go and defend my Grand Prix Final title."

The reigning world champion is confident in the program he's put together this year, and will just work on his comfort levels with the routine as he prepares for Quebec.

"The program will pretty much stay the same," Chan said. "It's just re-enforcing those movement patterns and jump patterns and everything. Just getting myself to where it's almost second nature, not even hesitate going into these jumps.

"Aesthetically, mostly everything will stay the same."

Virtue echoed Chan's dedication to practise, with a focus on execution heading into the Grand Prix Final.

"We're really happy with where the programs are and we can't wait to get home and work on them even more before the Grand Prix Final," said Virtue.

Illness affected several Canadian athletes leading up to the Trophee Bompard. Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., was sixth after the short program but had to withdraw with a stomach flu.

Chan struggled with a fever in the days leading up to the event.

"I didn't feel so good the first couple of days, like my balance was off on the ice," Chan said. "I started feeling better for the short and felt really relaxed going into the program and felt relaxed going into the long as well.

"I just didn't have the pop I wanted on the quad and on the other jumps. I made the best of the situation."

Later, world junior runner-up Elizaveta Tuktamisheva won the women's event after a clinical free program.

The 14-year-old Russian had the crowd on its feet as she nailed all of her jumps with barely a wobble, following up her win at Skate Canada -- where she was the youngest winner in 30 years -- with another composed performance.

Despite another win in only her second senior Grand Prix appearance, Tuktamisheva was focusing only on where she can improve.

"I didn't skate badly but there were still a few minor mistakes I could improve on," she said. "Next year I'll be able to go to the European and world championships, but not as a junior."

Also, Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmerton, Ont., won bronze in pairs figure skating with 176.62 points.

"That was a fight for us," said Radford, who admitted they struggled to find a consistent rhythm. "We did a great element, then we had some problems. We're capable of scoring a lot higher than that."

Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took gold with 194.13 points, while Russians Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov won silver with a score of 184.91.

Jessica Dube of Saint-Cyrille de Wendover, Que., and Sebastien Wolfe of Terrebonne, Que, placed fifth with 150.68 points.

Patrick Chan (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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