Canada is buzzing about two-time defending world champion, Patrick Chan, who was awarded 98.37 on his short program Wednesday at Budweiser Gardens.
Chan was impressive to be sure and the hushed crowd took in every breathtaking chisel of his skates as he painted a picture on the ice surface. You could hear each stroke.
“It was so inspiring to be out there,” Chan said, moments after his world record-setting performance.
Close to the end of his program he said a cold rush went through his body, something you “only feel once in a lifetime. Or if you’re going to jump off a building.”
Not everyone was sure he deserved such high marks. A journalist from the Czech Republic was shaking her head. It was worth about 85, she said. A Canadian writer added, perhaps there was some home cooking going on.
I spoke to Skate Canada president Benoit Lavoie and he disagreed. He was a figure skating judge. Another international judge, not on the judging panel Wednesday, was disappointed Chan didn’t receive perfect scores, Benoit said.
But Chan even told reporters his landings weren’t great. He reached level four on his spins and footwork.
While I enjoyed watching Chan, it was 18-year-old Denis Ten of Kazakhstan who stole the show for me.
His artistry was stellar as he performed to the soundtrack of The Artist.
The passion of the skate sent a rush through the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation.
He pulled off a 91.56 score, tons better than his personal best of 75.94. He put his hands to his face when he realized he just had the performance of his career. He sits in second behind Chan
His bio said that he is part of the Korean minority in Kazakhstan. He is a descendant of Korean General Min Keung Ho, said to be famous, but I’m not sure why.
I also loved the performance side of Daisuke Takahashi of Japan. He also exuded charm as he skated to Moonlight Sonata.
Chan seemed like he was skating just to get it over with. I thought his flair was too forced.
He did say he was on “auto pilot.”
Chan also said there were doubts going into his short program. Now that he’s got those doubts out of the way, I’m sure Chan will skate a memorable long program Friday.
I’ve been following Max Aaron as I’m writing about him for Haaretz in Israel. He took a bump to the head last night during his warmup when he fell and slid into the boards.
“I felt it right away, I thought for a second I’d black out.” His coach, Tom Zakrajsek said he checked his pupils for any sign of a concussion.
Aaron set a personal best score of 78.20 and sits eighth.