Lipnitskaia, Chan golden at Skate Canada
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia skates during the ladies free program on day two at the ISU GP 2013 Skate Canada International at Harbour Station on October 26, 2013 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Lipnitskaia topped the women’s field with a magnificent, seemingly flawless and technically superlative performance that earned a standing ovation.
Chan also had the fans on their feet, but he was far from flawless despite opening with a quadruple-triple jump combination and sailing through a second quad moments later.
Chan’s triple Axel eluded him as he doubled on one attempt and singled another in his Vivaldi-backed program.
Still, the quads alone brought 29 points for a total of 173.93 for Saturday’s free skate. In all, he put 262.03 points on the scoreboard, well ahead of Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu (234.8) and Nobunari Oda (233).
"I was nervous, honestly," Chan said. "I started having the same feelings as I had last season and that's when the Grand Prix didn’t go well. It was a real challenge to stay positive even before I got on the ice."
Hanyu, fourth at the 2013 Worlds, nailed his second quad -- a toe loop -- but fell on his opening quad salchow and singled an Axel.
"I'm not so happy with my program. I was thinking I would do quad salchow and quad toe, but I fell. I don’t know why. I will practise harder so I can land both at Trophee Bompard," Hanyu said.
He and Chan will meet again at that Grand Prix in Paris in three weeks. Oda, who tripled both his planned quads, will be at home for the NHK Trophy in Japan in two weeks.
On the women’s side, the errors were fewer and further between, especially for the medallists.
Lipnitskaia rose to the occasion, outskating overnight leader Gracie Gold of the United States, who slipped to third with a fall on her triple lutz.
The silver medal belonged to Japanese veteran Akiko Suzuki who also brought the cheering fans to their feet with her emotionally riveting routine set to Phantom of the Opera.
Lipnitskaia earned 198.23 in total to 193.75 for Suzuki and 186.65 for Gold.
The Russian and Japanese both tallied seven triple jumps, but Lipnitskaia showed the most difficult combinations including a fabulous triple lutz-triple toe to open.
With the 2014 Olympic Games just over 100 days off, Lipnitskaia’s success here should bolster her country's hopes for a medal on home soil in Sochi.
"I never really think about winning because you have to keep working, there is always more you can do. But I'm very happy everything worked out."
Lipnitskaia will only have a few days to recharge as she is slated to compete in six days in Beijing.
In ice dance, Canada claimed gold and silver, outdistancing the rest of the field by a significant margin.
Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir captured the hearts and minds of the fans with their free program which tells the story of their 17-year career together. The choreography features intricate steps and dazzling dance lifts.
"It was a really strong performance. We executed our elements. Now we have to do our homework, build up our power and speed going into France," Moir said of their next Grand Prix in Paris. "For where we are in the season, for right now, we’re particularly pleased."
Virtue and Moir’s total score for the event was 181.03 to 175.23 for their teammates Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje who offered a passionate tango. Bronze went to American duo Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue on 153.20.
On the podium, Moir's eyes moistened as he soaked up the atmosphere of what could be their final appearance at Skate Canada, an event they have won five times. The couple is expected to call it a career at the end of this season.
Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek claimed Italy's first Grand Prix pairs gold in an upset that saw Canada's world bronze medallists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford settle for third.
Berton and Hotarek, fifth last week at Skate America, posted 193.92 points, to edge China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong by just 15-hundredths. Duhamel and Radford scored 190.62.
Sui and Han wowed the crowd here with a rarely seen quadruple twist lift. A quadruple throw jump could come when they compete next in Japan.
Skate Canada is the second of six stops on the ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix circuit which culminates with the Final for the top six performers in each discipline.
That event in Fukuoka, Japan, will serve as a preview of the contenders for the 2014 Olympic podium in Sochi.
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