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Shaky quad can't stop Joubert in short

Evan Lysacek second; Patrick Chan third

Brian Joubert in the kiss and cry with coach J.C. Simond.
Brian Joubert in the kiss and cry with coach J.C. Simond. (Getty Images)

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By Linda Przygodski
(03/25/2009) - Earlier this week, Brian Joubert told his critics to put up or shut up.

Wednesday night at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships, the Frenchman zipped some, but not all, lips.

Donned in all black, Joubert's Yagudin-esque short program to Safri Duo's "Rise" was not without its flaws. He put a hand down on his opening quad toe loop and stepped out of the following triple toe. He did gain credit for rotating the four-revolution jump and captured the top spot with 84.40 points.

But the win had nothing to do with being a quadruple threat.

In the end, it was the triple Lutz that edged Joubert past second-place finisher Evan Lysacek. Joubert's Lutz counted as his required solo jump, and because Lysacek did a triple Lutz as part of his opening triple-triple combination, his solo jump was a triple flip. The Lutz, which has a higher base value, grabbed Joubert two more points than Lysacek's flip, which received a negative Grade of Execution (GOE). That was enough to push the Frenchman 1.70 points ahead of the lanky, U.S. skater.

"I am very happy about my program today, because I have a good score, even if I do a big mistake on my quad-triple," Joubert, who won the world title in 2007, said. "The rest was good, especially the spins and footwork. I have good levels, and that was my goal."

Lysacek, too, was pleased with his showing.

"Once the hard elements were out of the way, I started celebrating as the rest of the program went on," said Lysacek, who pumped his fists and slid across the ice on one knee instead of striking a final pose.

The two-time world bronze medalist added that he had not yet decided on whether to include a quad in his free skate.

"I'm going to see how it goes tomorrow. I pretty much leave that up to my coach [Frank Carroll] . . . to see if it's worth it. My left foot is a little sore."

Patrick Chan, who traded verbal jabs with Joubert earlier this week, calling him a "sore loser" for repeatedly voicing his belief that no one should win the men's world title without a quad, performed a seemingly perfect, but quad-less, performance on Wednesday. The judges awarded him just 82.55 points, well off his season-best short program score of 88.90.

In what can only be described as a cacaphony of boos, the crowd at the STAPLES Center showed their displeasure over Chan's third-place result. The Canadian champ just shrugged and motioned to the crowd to hush the crescendo of discontent. In the mixed zone, surrounded by his countrymen, the 18-year-old said plenty.

Asked about the disparity between his program component scores, 36.95, and Joubert's, 38.40, he replied, "I was really disappointed with that. I think a lot of people will be talking about that. I'm not going to say anything, but there's any obvious difference between me and Evan and [Joubert] in the program component scores."

Four-time Canadian world champion Kurt Browning, who has done choreography for Joubert in past seasons, weighed in.

"[Chan] created his own moment out there. If we stop creating that moment, and we stop rewarding that moment, we kill the sport," he said. Asked whether he thought Joubert deserved his high program component scores, Browning made a face.

"I don't know what to say; it's very difficult," Joubert responded in the post-event press conference. "I don't know what exactly is said about me. I heard a lot of things about it, but I don't care about it. [Chan] has to do his job on the ice, and I have to do my job on the ice, not compete with journalists."

Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic was fourth with a score of 80.36. He landed the most faultless quad of the evening but stepped out of his following triple toe loop.

Japan's Takahiko Kozuka, who won Skate America in the fall, rounded out the top five.

While lacking the speed of some of the veterans in the field, young American Brandon Mroz nailed his "Till Eulenspiegel" program, scoring a personal-and-season-best score of 76.10, good enough for eighth place. He opened with a clean triple Axel, followed by a consummate triple Lutz-triple toe combination.

"I was very happy with my skate today," the 18-year-old said. "I had some disappointment with my performance at Four Continents. Today I did what I do in practice and tried to deliver my best."

Reigning U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, skating to "Adagio" by Tomaso Albinoni, put a hand down on his triple toe and stepped out of his triple Axel, which was downgraded to a double. The miscues put him in 10th place. His score of 72.15 was disappointing and some six points off his season best.

"I just felt tight," Abbott said. "It's been a long, long season. I think that, training for this, I wanted to get my best points at worlds. I've been skating consistently all season, but I just allowed my mind to get to that place of trying to be good instead of just being me and doing what I know how to do."

Lynn Rutherford contributed to this article