Fourth-Place Medal

Chan and his quad in lead after short program at Worlds

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

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After a record-breaking performance in the short program, Canada's Patrick Chan is in the lead of the men's World Figure Skating Championships, more than 11 points ahead of Japan's Nobunari Oda, Chan's closest competitor. Chan's performance garnered a 93.02, smashing the 91.3 held by Russian Evgeni Plushenko, who looked on as Chan dazzled the crowd in Russia with a quadruple-jump combination.

Japanese skater Daisuke Takahashi is in third place, followed by Arthur Gachinski (Russia) and Florent Amodio (France). Americans Richard Dornbush, Ryan Bradley and Ross Miner are in 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively.

Chan hit the quadruple toe-triple toe combination early in his program, an instant boost to his confidence. His next jumps, a triple Axel and a triple flip, were easy after he had completed the quad.

In previous years, skaters weren't willing to try quadruple jumps because there wasn't enough of a upside to the risk. Now, the rules have been tweaked to reward a skater for trying the quad. Chan had struggled with the jump until he made a small tweak in practice. Now, he's so at ease with it that he plans to do two quad jumps in the free program, despite his comfortable lead.

His energetic skate drew loud cheers from the crowd in Moscow, who filled the lower bowl of the stadium despite the last-minute notice. Moscow agreed to host worlds after the event, planned for Tokyo in late March, had to be postponed and moved because of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

Several Japanese fans were on-hand to both cheer on Oda and Takahashi and say thank you for the support. They held up signs reading, "We're hanging in there," and "Thank you, world" as their skaters took the ice, but none of skaters lived up to Chan. Oda stepped out of his quad attempt, and Takahashi didn't attempt the jump.

Chan will now try to take home the championship on Friday. With a dynamite program and a big lead, it's his to lose.

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