Wobbly Chan fools himself to take lead

Chan takes lead in Nice


As it was, the Canadian overcame a two-footed quad landing and two comical wobbles to take the lead in the men's competition on Friday.

The champion's ability to improvise mid-programme and the superior quality and difficulty levels of his acrobatic jumps and footwork allowed him to lead the pack despite the mistakes, with a score of 89.41.

Czech Michael Brezina made sure he would celebrate an unforgettable 22nd birthday as he earned a career-best 87.67.

Japan's Daisuke Takahashi, the 2010 winner, flew around the ice like a caped crusader in his black outfit to finish third with 85.72 despite falling on his opening combination jump.

The loudest cheers, however, were reserved for French pin-up Brian Joubert who has been stalked by dozens of swooning female fans all week. Just when it seemed his career was in free fall after two years of poor results, he put himself in the title mix with a clean skate to draw 83.47.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the ice dance crown on Thursday skating to the soundtrack of 'Funny Face' but the title seemed more apt for their fellow Canadian Chan's performance.

Attempting a relatively simple straight-line step sequence, a wide-eyed Chan started flaying his arms wildly and his face fell into a lopsided grin as he desperately tried to stay on his feet - not once but twice within the space of a few seconds.

"The footwork was kind of funny, I loved the face I made," Chan told reporters about the mishap that drew a chorus of "oooohs" from the crowd.

"When I choreographed it the first time, we wanted to make it look like I'm losing my balance and then gathering my balance - kind of tricking you guys but this time I actually fooled myself and I was off balance.

"I started going forward and lost my balance, changed to backwards to see if that would help but it didn't help. I played with it and my expression was priceless. I kind of enjoyed it and the audience did too."

Chan also had to think quickly on his feet earlier in his 'Take Five' jazz programme after a two-footed landing from his quadruple toeloop meant he skated too close to the barriers and ran out of room to add on a scheduled triple jump.

"I didn't want another Grand Prix Final situation where I rammed into the boards as I added in an extra jump," explained Chan, who stood out from the crowd with his distinctive black waistcoat studded with red, black and silver sequins on the back.

"If it was a good quad landing, then I put a triple toe at the end of it. If it's shaky, then I save (the combination) for the last jump...so I added the (triple) toe to the Lutz at the end which is something I've practised quite a bit."

With so many errors, it was little wonder that Chan looked utterly dejected as he skated off the ice shaking his head. The judges, though, had seen enough to award him his season-best score.

View comments (0)