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Chan moves closer to gold at ISU Grand Prix

QUEBEC CITY--Canada's Patrick Chan shrugged off the distractions and an uncharacteristic fall into the boards to win the short program Friday night in the ISU Grand Prix Final.

The 20-year-old from Toronto scored 86.63 points for the jazzy program marred by the hard fall into the boards on a triple toe loop. American Jeremy Abbott was second at 82.66 points, and Spain's Javier Fernandez followed at 81.26.

Chan found himself in trouble a day earlier for comments that were perceived as comparing Canada unfavorably to his parents' country of China. The skater apologized for his comments.

“It was so exciting to hear them cheer and not hear boos. I was expecting boos actually,” Chan said. “For me to hear that, it gave me energy, it almost came from the ice, and I completely forgot about everything and focused on skating.”

Chan, the defending Grand Prix Final champion, was happy to put the controversy behind him.

“Luckily, I was still able to sleep well,” Chan said. “I have great people around me, Skate Canada has been really behind me, my parents and my coach, Christy (Krall) is always great at keeping it light, completely distracting me. And I accept that it happened, and that's the best way to get rid of something, accept it happened and accept the responsibility.”

Chan's fall came on a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination. He laid down a beautiful quad toe but was too close to the end of the rink for his triple, banging hard into the boards.

“I was shocked, actually I said a bad word. A four-letter word,” Chan said.

Italy's Carolina Kostner won the women's short program, scoring 66.43 points.

“I was actually quite nervous going into the 6 minutes,” Kostner said. “I didn't really find my rhythm in that time, so I just tried to forget about everything and just do like I did in practice many times. I am very happy to have finally done the short program with no major mistakes.”

Japan's Akiko Suzuki was second at 61.30, and Russia's Alena Leonova was third at 60.46.

In ice dance, world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States topped the field after the short program with 76.17 points. Canadian Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were second, five points behind. France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat were third at 68.68.

“Charlie and I were really pleased with the way the short dance went,” White said. “We got our season's best in points and we also felt like it was our best program in competition so far this season.”

Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov led the pairs competition after the short program at 71.57, compatriots Alona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy were second at 69.82, and China's Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao third at 63.43.

“It was very hard to skate last for the short program as it is the first time for the season and we were a little bit nervous,” Trankov said. “We have a lot of small mistakes and we are very happy that we have very good scores, but we don't know why we lost a lot of levels in our elements. We are very happy that we are the first after the short program, and tomorrow we will try to skate better and do our best.”

Earlier, China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong won the junior pairs. Canada's Katherine Bobak and Ian Beharry took the silver, and Americans Britney Simpson and Matthew Blackmer finished third.

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Chan moves closer to gold at ISU Grand Prix
Narumi Takahashi, top, is thrown by her partner Mervin Tran, of Japan, as they perform their short program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Quebec City, Friday, ...

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