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Chan lands first-ever quad in "Take Five" short

Messing, Mahbanoozadeh, others also hit their marks

Quads have never been a problem for Patrick Chan. It's the triple Axels that give him some trouble.
Quads have never been a problem for Patrick Chan. It's the triple Axels that give him some trouble. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(07/16/2010) - Liberty must be Patrick Chan's lucky charm.

A few seasons ago, he landed his first triple Axel here. Now, he can check the quadruple toe loop off his list.

This time around, there was even some added drama.

"I was in the changing room and a guy runs in and says, 'Hey, you're up now,'" Chan said. "I said, 'Oh wow, someone [Ross Miner] must have pulled out at the last minute, this will really screw up my chances with the quad.' But it took the pressure off and turned out to be the perfect set-up."

Chan was to skate fourth in the warm-up group; Miner's late withdrawal moved him up to the third spot.

No matter: the two-time Canadian world silver medalist had a memorable debut of his "Take Five" short, choreographed with Lori Nichol in May.

After hitting the quad (worth 12.05 points, including a positive 1.75 GOE), Chan overcame a fall on a triple Axel to deliver a thrilling performance, including a gorgeous camel-to-sit spin combination spin with cross foot variation; nifty triple Lutz, triple toe combination; and the highlight, an extra-long, flowing serpentine step sequence.

"This short is very different from my usual serious, sad, depressing programs," the 19-year-old said. "Lori did a show program for me, to 'Don't Worry, Be Happy,' and she said, 'this is so great, why not do a similar short, with a happy character?'

"It was hard to get into it; I'm not used to slowing down and acting out a part. This music isn't the traditional "Take Five," it's a more colorful, lively version, so without the acting it could really suck."

Chan earned 78.88 points to win the event. Most important, he took a giant step forward toward making the quad a regular component of his programs on the international stage this fall.

"I've got the quad in my free skate tomorrow, so I've got two chances with it here," he said.

"It's the year after the Olympics, there's no better time to do it. Right now, it's better than my triple Axel; [coach Christy Krall] and I are still fixing the Axel technically. It's really not consistent; we need a couple more months to work on it."

Keegan Messing provided some excitement of his own, landing a gorgeous triple Axel and triple flip, triple toe combination in his short to the Robin Hood soundtrack. His 67.59 points put him third, after his change of foot sit spin was declared illegal. (He did a flying sit spin earlier in the program).

Once gain, the highlight was the step sequence.

"My favorite part is the beginning, when I'm on my knee shooting an arrow," Messing said.

"It's like a battle; there are three stabbings, four arrows, and a gunshot. It's fun. Rory [Flack] choreographed the program, and Gary Irving put every up and down in the footwork -- the turns, body movement and foot quickness. He put the energy into it."

Messing, who said he's landing the quad toe every day in practice, plans to do the jump in his Hulk free skate tomorrow.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh offered a change-of-pace with his exotic short to a medley including Jesse Cook's "Mario Takes a Walk," choreographed by Irina Romanova, and took second with 69.80 points.

Mahbanoozadeh and his coach, Priscilla Hill, have been working hard on his triple Axel technique in the off-season, and it showed: his opening Axel was done out of a difficult transition. His other jumps, including a triple Lutz, triple toe and triple flip, were also solid.

"In both the short and long, I'm doing the Axel from an outside back [three-turn] and inside bracket, which is pretty difficult," he said. "Post-nationals, I've also been working really hard on my quad toe."

"We're trying to help Armin perform his programs more, to be more outgoing," Romanova added. "He has so much to offer. He never stops searching; he really challenges himself."

Alexander Johnson landed a fine triple Axel and was fourth with 66.66. Former world junior champion Stephen Carriere, on the comeback trial after withdrawing from the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships with an injury, was fifth.