American Chen wins gold at Skate Canada


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A trio of Russian women swept their Grand Prix podium at Skate Canada International on Saturday, while three-time world champion Nathan Chen won gold with a bang.

Kamila Valieva, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Alena Kostornaia finished 1-2-3 in Vancouver, repeating their Finlandia Trophy success earlier this month.

En route to victory, 15-year-old Valieva managed three magnificent quadruple jumps, two of which were combined with triples, in her magnificent interpretation of Ravel’s Bolero.

Valieva, who performs most of the jumps with both arms above his head, broke her own Finnish records, posting 180.89 for her final and 265.08 overall, even with one step on her triple Axel landing. .

With that, the 2020 junior world champion has established herself as a favorite for the Olympic gold medal with the 2022 Beijing Winter Games just 97 days away.

“Today I did everything that was planned in my schedule but I’m really excited by these scores, and I’ll try to do even better than that,” said Valieva.

“The triple Axel could have been better, but I don’t plan on adding more difficulty (technique).”

Tuktamysheva had two triple Axels in his naughty Arab-themed routine (151.64), while Kostornaia had a hard landing on his jump (138.96).

Tuktamysheva finished the competition with 232.88 points against 214.54 for Kostornaia.

For Chen, it was mission accomplished as he bounced back from last week’s atypical bronze medal at Skate America with masterful but slightly less risky skating.

He opted for four quadruple jumps rather than the six he attempted – with two misfires – in Las Vegas.

The American champion scored 200.46 points for his Mozart-backed performance, 307.18 overall, to finish some 50 points ahead of teammate Jason Brown (259.55) and Grand Prix rookie Evgeni Semenenko of Russia (256 , 01).

Canadian Keegan Messing had a disastrous performance to move from third to fifth place.

“Always with the competitions, I want to push myself a little forward even if it means taking out an element to be a little cleaner.

“I am delighted to be coming home, training and hope to have another competition (in Osaka) in five weeks,” said Chen, who is treating a minor hip injury.

The 26 points Chen earned for his first and third finishes will likely be enough to place him in the top six qualifying for the December Grand Prix final in Japan.

In pairs competition, double world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong were unmistakably golden, despite Sui falling on her triple salchow.

The duo scored 145.11 points for their lyrically serene “Bridge over Troubled Water” program, with a total score of 224.05.

Russians Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin struggled early in their Black Swan-themed performance, but regrouped halfway to take second place with 193.08 overall.

Americans Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc won bronze (189.90).

The 2018 Chinese Olympic silver medalists, whose ultimate goal is to win home gold, will compete again next week in Italy.

In ice dance, 2021 bronze medalists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier won their second gold at Skate Canada.

The Canadiens’ total score of 210.97 was far ahead of Italians Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (200.05) and Spaniards Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz (192.93).

Next week’s ISU Grand Prix competition in Turin has been moved from China due to travel complications from the pandemic.

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