Chan opens Olympic season with Skate Canada win

The Associated Press
Chan opens Olympic season with Skate Canada win
Chan opens Olympic season with Skate Canada win

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick (AP) -- Patrick Chan opened the Olympic season with a victory at Skate Canada.

The Canadian star and three-time world champion landed two huge quad jumps Saturday night to open his free program and finished with 262.03 points.

''I was nervous, honestly,'' Chan said. ''I started having the (negative) feelings I had last season. ... It was really challenging even before I got on the ice to stay positive, and remember the things that I wanted to repeat that I had in the short program - looking forward to going out there, to look forward to doing the quad, but not looking too far ahead, doing one quad at a time and then moving on.''

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu followed at 234.8, and teammate Nobunari Oda was third at 233.0. Hanyu and Oda failed to land clean quads, Hanyu falling on his quad Salchow, then putting a hand down on a quad toe loop, and Oda tripling both his quad attempts.

Fifteen-year-old Russian sensation Julia Lipnitskaia won the women's title, finishing with 198.23 points after a near flawless long program.

''I'm never really thinking about winning, when I have won something,'' Lipnitskaia said. ''For me, you have to go on. You have to continue to work. You cannot remain in the same place. You have to move forward all the time.''

Japan's Akiko Suzuki was second at 193.75. American Gracie Gold, the leader Friday after the short program, was third at 186.65.

Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir kicked off what will likely be their final season, winning their fifth Skate Canada title. The Canadians finished with 181.03 points with their elegant skate at Harbour Station.

''For where we are in the season right now, I'm particularly pleased with that performance,'' Moir said.

Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were second at 175.23, and Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue took the bronze at 153.20.

Italy's Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek won in pairs, finishing at 193.92. China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong were second at 193.77. Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, the leaders after the short program, settled for bronze at 190.62.

The 22-year-old Chan was plagued by negative feelings last season, and it showed in his shaky performances. He managed to pull out his third world victory in March, a couple of weeks after he moved from Colorado Springs to Detroit, saying he hadn't been happy in Colorado.

As the world's most dominant skater for three seasons, he's easily the man to beat in Sochi. He boasts the physical tools to take him to the top of the podium, but says this season is all about the mental game.

''It's not about physically being prepared but mostly being mentally prepared, because I think that's the only thing that held me back (last season),'' Chan said. ''When I think of being aggressive and being really focused, I get too serious and I start to stress too much, and think of the little things.''

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