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Chan makes big move after Paris win

Zhang, Zhang take over No. 1 in pairs

Patrick Chan's surprise gold medal moved him up to eighth in the world rankings.
Patrick Chan's surprise gold medal moved him up to eighth in the world rankings. (Getty Images)

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By Todd Hinckley
(11/20/2007) - The Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris included some surprises, one of which led to a young Canadian climbing into the top ten in icenetwork.com's World Figure Skating Rankings. Meanwhile, one Chinese pair unseated their teammates from the No. 1 spot.

Men

At the beginning of the season, Canada's 16-year-old Patrick Chan was coming off a successful junior career, but his senior potential was unknown. The Toronto native won the silver medal at the 2007 World Junior Championships, and he arrived at Skate America last month with something to prove.

That week, American Stephen Carriere, who won the gold at last year's world juniors, overshadowed the young Canadian in the spotlight, but it was Chan who crept onto the podium with a bronze medal in Pennsylvania.

In Paris, the field was left wide open after the withdrawal of world champion Brian Joubert. Chan took advantage. After a second-place short program, he landed seven clean triples in his free skate set to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." He overcame a fall on his last spin to take the gold medal.

With the gold medal and the bonus from winning the free skate, Chan moved up eight spots in the rankings to No. 8 overall. The top seven spots remained the same from the previous week -- Joubert, Evan Lysacek, Daisuke Takahashi, Stephane Lambiel, Nobunari Oda, Johnny Weir, Jeffrey Buttle.

Rounding out the top ten are France's Alban Preaubert, who won the short program in Paris en route to the bronze medal, and Belgium's Kevin van der Perren, who finished off the medal stand in fourth place after many saw him as the favorite after Joubert's departure.

Two men made their debut near the bottom of the rankings. Trophee Eric Bompard silver medalist Sergei Voronov of Russia, who won bronze behind Chan at last year's world juniors, entered the list at No. 18, and American Ryan Bradley moved into the 20th spot.

Ladies

There was not a lot of shake-up in the ladies rankings. Japan's Mao Asada strengthened her position as the world's top-ranked skater by winning her duel with American Kimmie Meissner in Paris. After her silver-medal performance, Meissner stayed at No. 3 behind Korea's Yu-Na Kim, who did not skate this week.

The rest of the ladies top 12 stayed the same. The biggest change came from 16-year-old Ashley Wagner of the U.S., the 2007 world junior bronze medalist. Wagner earned her first Grand Prix medal in Paris, taking the bronze right behind teammate Meissner.

Canada's Mira Leung crept into the rankings at No. 19 after finishing fifth overall in Paris.

Pairs

The only change at the top of the rankings this week came from the pairs. China's Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang supplanted teammates Qing Pang and Jian Tong as the world's top-ranked pair.

Zhang and Zhang had stayed quiet so far this season, but they proved ready to pounce last week. After dropping to a season-low third in last week's rankings, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists vaulted to the No. 1 ranking after their convincing, gold-medal performance in Paris.

Since this was Pang and Tong's third Grand Prix appearance this year, they were unable to receive points for their silver-medal performance. The 2007 world runners-up had their chance to distance themselves from the rest of the world earlier this season, but their disappointing silver medal at Skate America kept them close to the pack.

While the rest of the top of the ranks held firm, there was a little shifting at the bottom of the top 10. Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov of Ukraine moved up one, to ninth overall, after finishing fifth at the Trophee in Paris. The bigger movers were Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov of Russia, who rose five spots to No. 10 after earning the bronze.

The biggest movers in the pairs ranks didn't even finish on the podium in Paris. Americans Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent made plenty of noise on the ice by completing the first successful quad throw Salchow in ISU competition. The fourth-place finish also moved the U.S. pair to No. 12 in the rankings.

Ice Dancing

There was no major shift in the dance standings, but the French team, Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder, made their first rise, to No. 2, of the ISU season. But their win was not as convincing as some might have expected, leaving Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto safely on top of the dance world.

Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski made a significant jump to No. 5. The Russian dancers took silver in Paris, and they earned an added bonus for winning the free dance.

Khokhlova and Novitski's jump meant that Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White actually dropped a spot to No. 7, even though they won their first Grand Prix medal of the season, a bronze, in Paris.

Italy's Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, the 2007 Skate Canada silver medalists, moved back into the top 10 after their fourth-place finish in Paris.

Another French team, Pernelle Carron and Mathieu Jost, made a move of their own after competing in Paris. The bronze medalists from Canada earlier this month moved up to No. 15 after a fifth-place finish this week. Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje entered the ranking at No. 17.