Figure Skating: Chan upstages Olympic champ Hanyu at Skate Canada

Figure Skating: Chan upstages Olympic champ Hanyu at Skate Canada
Patrick Chan of Canada reacts at his score following his Men's Free program performance at Skate Canada International in Lethbridge, Alberta October 31, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

MONTREAL - Patrick Chan won his first major competition since finishing runner-up at the Sochi Olympics, beating Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu Saturday to claim the Skate Canada men's title.

The 24-year-old Canadian won the much anticipated rematch with Hanyu in their first meeting since the Japanese dynamo beat Chan for the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Games.

Skating to the music of Frederic Chopin, the three-time world champion looked sharp in delivering a clean programme at the Enmax Centre Arena in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Chan, whose parents are both immigrants from China, said he was focused and confident during his skate.

"I just shut my brain off. I had tunnel vision, you know," he told his coach Kathy Johnson while waiting to hear his scores.

Chan earned 190.33 points in Saturday night's free skate to finish with a total of 271.14 points and win easily over runner-up Hanyu. His skate included a quad toe loop and triple axel. Hanyu tallied 259.54 points while his Japanese compatriot Daisuke Murakami finished third at 252.25.

"It has been a battle," Chan said of his comeback after taking the 2014-15 season off following another disappointing Olympic performance.

In Sochi, Chan appeared to have gold in his grasp after Hanyu faltered but the Canadian flubbed his programme and finished second.

Hanyu needed a strong free skate to have a chance at beating Chan in Lethbridge. But the 20-year-old Olympic champ had too much ground to make up after finishing a shocking sixth in Friday's short programme.

American Ashley Wagner won the women's title with a second-place finish in the free skate final after having captured the short programme.

Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, the reigning world champion, rebounded from a shocking seventh in the short programme to win the free skate with 133.62 points to 131.79 for Wagner in the second competition of the ISU Grand Prix season.

But Wagner's personal best short programme score of 70.73 combined with Tuktamisheva's disaster was enough to give her the overall title on 202.52 points to 188.99 for the Russian.

Wagner wasn't perfect but it was enough for the win. She under-rotated on a triple-flip combination and again on a triple loop-half loop-triple salchow.

"For me, I just have to get myself to a point where I can believe in my training," she said. "When I feel prepared, that's when I'm most confident." Japan's Yuka Nagai, a 16-year-old in her first Grand Prix event, finished third overall on 172.92, 1.33 ahead of compatriot Kanako Murakami.

Some skaters complained about the judging this week. Last year's Four Continents champion Polina Edmunds was upset after finishing fifth in the free skate and the short programme.

'Very surprising' 

The judges docked her heavily for a flying sit spin in her short programme.

"I was told that I never achieved a sit position, which, to me, is very surprising since my entire spin is in the sit position," Edmunds said.

Titles were also decided in ice dance, pairs. World champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford routed the field, winning the pairs crown by 25 points. The Canadians took gold with a total score of 216.16 points.

Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov grabbed the silver medal with 191.19 points World bronze medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, of Canada, won the free dance and the gold medal with a score of 173.79. The free dance, to "On the Nature of Daylight" by Max Richter earned them 105.79 points.

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