Angry Chan wins on night of mistakes, while freedom fighter inspires silver medallist

The Miley Cyrus song, Everybody Has Those Days; Everybody Makes Mistakes, was running through my head at Budweiser Gardens Friday night.

And I don’t even like that song.

But as one after another competitor in the men’s free skate messed up, it was just ringing too true.

It would have been wonderful to continue the amazing skating that’s been on display all week at the World Figure Skating Championships.

But as the men upped the ante trying to include more quads, the house of cards fell flat at the Bud, which was a near sellout.

Chan did complete two quads, but missed two triples, and downgraded a couple of planned combination jumps. He was hitting himself on the forehead in frustration afterward.

“The more you fall, the more tired you are,” he told reporters. “I am angry at myself.”

Denis Ten of Kazakhstan won the silver and Javier Fernandez of Spain took bronze.

Ten had the best free skate of the night with another personal best of 174.92. Chan scored 169.41 on the long program, with 267.78 overall. Ten nearly caught him, finishing at 266.48.

An emotional Ten got down on his hands and knees at centre ice after his skate and kissed the ice. He touched his heart and blew kisses to the audience. Two Kazakhstan flags were seen in the crowd. Later he had one of them as he skated around the arena.

But he didn’t skate clean either, missing a triple flip. Still, the list of jumps he mastered was looong: quad toe, triple axel, triple toe, triple lutz, triple toe, double toe, triple salchow, triple loop, double axel. WOW.

And then there was his elastic flexibility, wonderful choreography and interpretation of The Artist and the towering height he achieved on those jumps.

Ten, 19, said he was extremely nervous. “I couldn’t sleep for two nights.”

He calmed himself down by pretending he wasn’t in medal contention. “I said to myself, ‘Imagine if you already lost…and you can just go and skate with freedom.’

“This is still the best skate I’ve done in four years.”

And speaking of freedom, thoughts of Ten’s ancestor, Korean freedom fighter General Min Keung-Ho (who sacrificed his life for Korea’s independence), brought courage to the skater.

“I wish I could meet with him and talk to him because I know how strong he was. All this helps me when I realize my great-great-grandfather was such a great man. Sometimes I skate and I think that he watches at me and I have no chance to fail him, to disappoint him. It’s sort of an additional responsibility to me.”

I was able to catch a quick moment with France’s Brian Joubert, who had a solid program, which included two quads and a triple axel right off the bat, but only received 148.09 from the judges. The crowd booed when his marks were displayed, hoping for higher.

Joubert, who finished ninth, said the marks were disappointing but he was pleased with his efforts. “That’s the judgement. For me, the most important was the feeling on the ice, the audience, my coach. I did my job. I have no regrets.”


NDP leader Thomas Mulcair presents flowers to Patrick Chan on the podium amidst a sea of purple.


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