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Chan medals, slams scoring

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LOS ANGELES -- Patrick Chan captured silver, but the judges still found him lacking.

And while he could half-heartedly laugh at his predicament Friday, if this were to happen next year at the Vancouver OIympics, the young Canadian skating star wouldn't be nearly so forgiving.

The 18-year-old from Toronto was runner-up in men's singles at the world figure skating championships Thursday, yet the evening didn't unfold without a bit of controversy. He still scored lower on components -- what used to be known as presentation -- than bronze medallist Brian Joubert of France.

Chan was stunned when that was pointed out to him Friday.

"No kidding?" he said. "That's bad, that's really disappointing. I was watching Brian last night. I looked over at Mike Slipchuk (Skate Canada's high-performance director) and said, 'Are you serious? Are you kidding me? This is his program?' That's really unfortunate. I'm really disappointed and hopefully they discuss it."

It's like comparing Shaq and Kobe and deciding Shaq is the better ballhandler.

Chan has grown up with the new judging system, implemented in 2004 after the skating scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, and prides himself on his wide array of refined skills, from his spins to his footwork to the execution of his jumps.

The 24-year-old Joubert, the 2007 world champion, on the other hand, is a huge jumper who's not known for his artistic flare.

"I don't know who the boss is, but I'm pretty sure he's going to be upset about what happened," Chan said. "I think it's good that it's happening now and this didn't happen at the Olympics, I think that would be really bad. They'll be discussing it and hopefully spread the word to more judges."

American Evan Lysacek, who shares a choreographer with Chan -- Canada's Lori Nichol -- won the gold Thursday night with a flawless performance. Chan, skating to Rachmaninov, had one discernable error when he turned a triple loop into a double. Joubert's program was unremarkable, ending with a spectacular face plant on a triple Axel.

"Like seriously, come on! It's so obvious," said Chan, who also scored lower than Joubert on components in the short program, prompting boos from the Staples Center crowd. "If you put me or Evan's program against Brian, it's white and black. It's pretty obvious."

Chan's silver medal capped a meteoric rise this season for the skater, who was ninth last year in his world champion debut where Canada's Jeffrey Buttle won gold. Chan, who pockets US$27,000 for his performance, became the second-youngest Canadian male ever to win a world championship medal. The youngest was Don McPherson in 1963, who was less than two months younger than Chan.

Chan was too young, perhaps, to be handed the world title, some suggested. If that's the case, he's not sweating it.

"It might be again earning the stripes, for sure that plays a factor," Chan said on the puzzling judging. "Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. Maybe it's holding back for now, keeping the horse in the gate before the big race, which is the Olympic Games, which is great."


-- The Canadian Press


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 28, 2009 D9

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