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Fatigued Fernández flogs field to win gold in Paris

Rejuvenated Ten snags silver; Rippon earns bronze with clean free skate
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Javier Fernández earned the top spot at 2016 Rostelecom Cup, and he matched that performance with a gold medal-winning display in France. The Spaniard soared through his Elvis Presley free, tallying 285.38 points to claim another Grand Prix crown. -Getty Images

Javier Fernández won the 2016 Trophée de France easily -- and with Spanish "panache" -- with a score of 285.28, placing the two-time world champion well ahead of Kazakhstan's Denis Ten (269.26 points) and Team USA's Adam Rippon (267.53 points), who jumped up to reach the podium after an error-free program. Nathan Chen finished in fourth place with 264.80 points.

Fernández won in Paris just one week after outpacing the field at the Rostelcom Cup in Moscow. He nailed a splendid quad toe, which brought him 13.16 points, a quad salchow-double toe, a triple axel and another quad salchow later in his program. His second triple axel eluded him, however. He received Level 3 and 4 for his spins and footwork as well as superlative component scores, ranging from 9.04 for performance to 9.39 for composition and interpretation.

"It's the first time I've done back-to-back competitions, and I was a bit tired," Fernández said. "I'm happy that I was able to perform not perfect but very well."

In between his elements, and even during his transitions, Fernández took the time to entertain the audience, which responded right away, especially during his choreographic sequence, in the middle of his program. He amassed 188.81 points for his free program -- below his personal record but far higher than anyone else in Paris.

Ten did hold on to his program, displaying the whole array of his talent, from his opening quad toe loop to two triple axels to a whole range of triple jumps (six in total). Three of his elements were rated Level 4, and one (a spin) earned a Level 3.

He skated a delicate yet powerful program to Puccini's Tosca, which he acknowledged still needs a lot of work. Ten won his second Grand Prix medal, which made him laugh.

"I have two world medals, one Olympic medal, and now I have two Grand Prix medals, one bronze and one silver, which I both won at the Paris leg of the Grand Prix," Ten joked. "So I hope I get the same assignment next year, so I can win the gold medal!"

Rippon's program to "The Arrival of the Birds" and "O" was a pure delight. The American perfectly executed all his jumps, including his quad toe -- a first for him. Skating first in the last group, he landed two triple axels and six triples in total, and three of his elements were rated Level 4.

"I just wanted to skate smooth and beautiful," a relieved Rippon said. "I'm so proud of what I've done. These last years have been so much hard work. Here, I felt mature, ready, prepared. I just felt like practice.

"I'm so glad that everybody saw my quad finally. It just took 27 years!" he continued. "But I can tell you, age is just a number. This is really a big step forward for me, and a huge monkey off my back. No one can say that I've never landed a quad!"

Rippon flew over the ice, moving his arms as if they were wings, flexing his torso like no other man does, playing with his hands and head. Not only did he skate a perfect program -- he also delivered a masterpiece on its own.

"More important to me is the storyline. At home, I focus on those technical elements, all the jumps and spins, which I let go (of) when I am here," Rippon said. "Here, I can really think of my story."

That fact was reflected in Rippon's program components, which were the second highest of the field. His interpretation, for which he received a mark of 9.11, especially stood out.

The event of the night could have been Chen's attempt to land all four quads (lutz, flip, salchow and toe loop) in a single free skate. Chen started his program to "Polovtsian Dances" with an incredibly precise quad lutz-triple toe combo, which was soon followed by an impressive quad flip. Those two elements brought him a mere 34.20 points! He then attempted a quad salchow and a quad toe but fell on both.

"I had planned to trade the triple axels for two quads, but that didn't work better," Chen explained.

He landed yet another quad toe, which was followed by three more triples and a powerful step sequence, proving he had managed to save some stamina for the end.

"I was simply drained after the two most difficult quads (lutz and flip). I landed them so early into the program, and they took all my energy. I think that's where I faltered today, and I'll need to work on that," Chen said. "Then I tried to put the last bit of energy I had into the footwork, and I'm glad it showed. Overall, though, that performance was not too bad."

Chen amassed 171.95 points for his free program and 264.80 overall, both personal bests.