LOS ANGELES — Canada’s Patrick Chan won the silver medal in men’s singles competition Thursday at the world figure skating championships.
The 18-year-old from Toronto, who was third after Wednesday’s short program, scored 155.03 and landed eight triples in his nearly flawless free skate to music by Rachmaninov. Chan finished with 237.58 points overall.
“Jeez, I thought I was just going to walk home with a bronze but to win a silver medal is just like icing on the cake,” Chan said. “Getting off the ice I had a huge smile on my face because I just didn’t expect to be where I am now after just my second worlds, and I’m only 18. It’s a big shock. It’s going to be weird going back to high school because I have to be a regular guy again.”
Evan Lysacek of the United States, second after the short program, gave a flawless performance in the free skate to win gold with a total score of 243.23.
“Well, tonight I wasn’t thinking about winning, I wasn’t even thinking about medalling.” Lysacek said. “I just wanted to skate well for my hometown crowd of L.A. “I’ve been looking forward to this event for last few years, ever since I found out it was coming to the Staples Center. I love this building. I’m here to cheer on the Lakers and Kings as much as I can. I think that nervous energy was a positive for me because I turned it into adrenalin.”
Brian Joubert of France, the 2007 world champion who led after the short program, finished third with a total score of 235.97. Joubert fell near the end of his program coming out of a triple Salchow.
Calgary’s Vaughn Chipeur finished 12th with a total score of 202.08, while Jeremy Ten of Vancouver moved up from 21st place to finish 17th with a score of 193.16. Both are making their world championship debut.
Chan was ninth in his world championship debut last year in Sweden, won by Canada’s Jeffrey Buttle, but with Buttle’s retirement and Chan’s spectacular season heading into L.A., the young skater found himself a favourite here.
He opened the season with a pair of Grand Prix victories, won the Canadian championships, and then dominated a strong field to win the ISU Four Continents last year in Vancouver.
This week has certainly been a learning experience for Chan. He stirred up some controversy earlier when he called out Joubert for the Frenchman’s criticism over the state of men’s skating, and the number of skaters who don’t do quads, including Buttle. Chan also doesn’t have a quad in his programs.
Joubert opened with a quad Salchow and looked en route to a possible victory before his tumble on his final jump of the program.
There were rumblings Wednesday after Chan’s relatively low score in the short program, and some suggestion that because recently arrived on the international scene, he was going to have to work to earn a world title.
Earlier Thursday, Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took their first tumble in their road back from injury, but the ice dancing duo are still poised to reach the podium at the world figure skating championships.
The reigning world silver medallists were a disappointing sixth in the original dance portion, but managed to hold on to third place overall.
“A little bit of a difficult performance today, it wasn’t obviously a personal best,” Moir said. “We were still obviously able to perform, really show the program and we always have fun … so we just tried to focus on that. It was a lot of motivation for us going into the free dance, and we’ll be looking to knock that out of the park (Friday).”
Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., who were third after the compulsory dance, earned just 61.05 points for their rendition of the Charleston, and go into Friday’s free dance with a score of 100.42 overall and some considerable ground to make up if they want to improve on their position.
Russians Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin scored 64.68, enough to hold on to first place overall with 105.45. Kingston, Ont.-born Tanith Belbin and partner Ben Agosto of the U.S., the obvious crowd favourites, scored 65.15 for their original dance and sit second with a total 104.81.
“Obviously we’ve fallen back a bit more than we were at the beginning of the day,” Moir said. “Obviously it was not our plan, but we’re still in third and I don’t think that changes what we want to do, and that’s to show that we’re the best in the world and we have the best free dance in the world, and it doesn’t stop us from showing that (Friday).”
The Canadians’ free dance is an innovative piece to music from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.”
Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., who are making their world championship debut, are 11th heading into the free dance after earning 54.75 points for their ragtime dance for a total 88.08 overall.