It was a super Saturday at Cup of China for Canadian figure skaters, who stood on the podium in all four events at the penultimate stop of the ISU Grand Prix series.
Patrick Chan led the way, coming back from third place after the short program to win the men’s gold medal. Silver medals were won by Kaetlyn Osmond in the ladies’ event as well as Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje in the ice dance. Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch closed the competition with bronze in the pairs event.
Chan had been 12.76 points back of the leader, world bronze medallist Boyang Jin of China, after doubling a planned triple Lutz in the short program, which invalidated that element. He’d also stumbled out of the landing on his triple Axel.
But the free skate was a completely different story as Chan flew through his jumps with ease, making only one mistake when he fell on the quad Salchow, which is new to his program this season. Both his opening quad toe-triple toe combination and first triple Axel earned huge grades of execution.
Jin, who is one of the few skaters attempting four of the four-revolution jumps in his free skate, also fell on one of his quad attempts. Despite having a start value more than eight points greater than Chan, he only got the edge on the technical mark by a quarter of a point due to the execution of the elements.
But it was on the components side where Chan really made up ground, outscoring Jin by more than 14 points to take gold with an overall score of 279.72 to 278.54. Russia’s Sergei Voronov was third with 243.76.
With his victory earlier in the season at Skate Canada International, Chan is now qualified for the Grand Prix Final in December.
Osmond had been the short program leader after a very solid performance that only included a minor turnout on the landing of her double Axel. There were a few more jump errors in the free skate, but on a day that saw numerous mistakes from most of the field, Osmond did what she needed to win her second silver of the Grand Prix series, following up on her podium finish at Skate Canada. Her final overall score of 196.00 left her sandwiched between a pair of Russian world medallists, Elena Radionova (205.90) and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (192.57).
This fall has seen a great return to form for Osmond, who first launched herself onto the international scene with a gold medal at Skate Canada in the fall of 2012. But then injuries struck, including a broken leg that wiped out her 2014-15 season. She competed in two Grand Prix events for the first time ever in her comeback last season, but is now showing renewed confidence and a sense of belonging amongst the top contenders. She’s likely headed off to her first Grand Prix Final, the first by a Canadian woman since Joannie Rochette in 2009.
Weaver and Poje had also led after the short dance, but with only a half point advantage on last year’s world silver medallists Maia and Alex Shibutani. It was the Americans who got the nod in the free skate in both the execution of the elements and the components to take the gold with an overall total of 185.13 points to Weaver and Poje’s 181.54. Russians Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin (177.41) were third.
Coming off their first Grand Prix podium together at Skate Canada, Ilyushechkina and Moscovitch won their second bronze of the series, dropping from second after the short program. It has been the side-by-side jumps that have caused them problems so far this year. But with everything else in their programs evolving, they have something to build on as the season goes along.