Chan takes world title in record-breaking fashion

Kozuka, Gachinski upset favorites to make podium

Patrick Chan shattered two more world records on his way to his first world title.
Patrick Chan shattered two more world records on his way to his first world title. (Getty Images)


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By Lynn Rutherford, special to
(04/28/2011) - The sky just may be the limit for Patrick Chan, who turned in a superlative free skate to take home his first world title, breaking another world record in the process.

Canada's top gun earned 280.98 for a two-quad performance of his Phantom of the Opera program that earned 187.96 points, shattering the previous world record. His 280.98 total also set a new standard, giving the 20-year-old three world records in two days.

"I was hoping I could hit 300, but maybe next time," Chan said. "Marks, I don't know what it means, honestly. I only know if I skate well I will get the marks I need to win."

Takahiko Kozuka came through for the Japanese team, hitting a quad toe in his free and taking the silver medal. In a surprise, Russia's Artur Gachinski, just 17, won bronze.

U.S. skaters Richard Dornbush, Ross Miner and Ryan Bradley finished ninth, 11th and 13th, respectively. Since the placements of the top two skaters total more than 13, U.S. Figure Skating will send two men to the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships.

Chan opened with a quadruple toe loop, but felt tilted in the air and did not complete a combination. Instead, he tacked at triple toe on to his second quad.

The two-time world silver medalist turned out of the landing of a triple Axel, but the rest of his program was fluid and clean.

"I'm really happy I was able to do it, go on to the next quad, add a triple toe on it and also keep the program together somewhat, minus the triple Axel," he said.

"I felt really off in the air. I didn't do a great one in the warm-up. I think that's just proof of good training. A big goal this year was to find my feet, no matter what."

Now that Chan -- who won world silver medals in 2009 and 2010 -- has joined the likes of Don Jackson, Brian Orser, Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko and Jeffrey Buttle as a Canadian world champion, he still feels like his old self.

"It's surreal," he said. "I'm here, and that's it; it feels like it should be more but it isn't, not to be a spoiler. It's the skate that makes it special."

Kozuka, the Japanese champion, picked the perfect time to land his first clean quadruple toe loop in competition, then went on to land eight perfect triples, gaining a higher technical element score (98.53) than Chan.

Japan's champion earned 180.79 for his free skate and 258.41 total.

"Before going in to my program, I'm not saying I wasn't nervous -- I was," Kozuka said.

"My coach [Nobu Sato] told me, think about all the practice and training you went through and be confident and trust in yourself. So I went out there and put all of my efforts into it and the results came."

Gachinski, who trains under Alexei Mishan -- Evgeni Plushenko's coach -- also opened with a perfect quad toe, followed by two triple Axels.

"I was a bit jittery before stepping out on the ice but once I was on the ice I felt calm and serene," Gachinski said. "I just focused on my skating and succeeded with it."

Czech Michal Brezina hit two different quads -- a toe loop and Salchow -- to climb to fourth place, despite falling on has final two jumps.

Daisuke Takahashi, the defending world champion, had his free skate interrupted when his blade separated from his boot, causing him to pop an intended quad toe into a single. Japanese officials hurried to fix the problem within the three-minute time limit. Takahashi retook the ice, but seemed unsettled and made several uncharacteristic jumping errors. He finished sixth in the free and fifth overall.

Dornbush had a fine skate to his Sherlock Holmes program, highlighted by a triple Axel-triple toe combination in the second half.

The U.S. silver medalist had intended to do the combination earlier, but a rough landing on his first Axel changed his plan.

"See that 15 points? I'm pretty proud of that, let the record show," Dornbush said. "I've been training to do a triple Axel-triple toe on both Axels. Just after nationals, my coach and I talked and decided that if I mess up the first Axel, as I did today just a little, that I would be strong enough to do it on the second triple Axel."

Miner, who took bronze at the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, had a clean free skate to music from Casablanca, including two triple Axels.

"Coming back from my Grand Prix events, I reevaluated, kind of changed my perceptions of what working hard was," he said.

"That was six months ago. I've seen what improvements I've made and I'm really proud of myself. I cannot wait to go back home and start back up working on the quad and moving forward."

Bradley hit his opening quad and a triple Axel, but his second quad attempt was judged under rotated by the technical panel, as was his triple flip.

"I felt a little sluggish all day," he said. "I did a lot of things that I'm happy about. It wasn't that perfect program that I wanted or expected. But I did two quads and a triple Axel, that's a little better than at nationals. I hoped to place better, but it's part of ice skating."