LONDON, Canada (AP) ― Patrick Chan delivered the biggest thrill in a night full of them.
The two-time defending champion shattered the world record for the short program Wednesday night, restoring order to standings that no one could have predicted when the World Figure Skating Championships began.
Chan’s score of 98.37 for his elegantly sublime performance beat the previous world record by more than three points.
When he saw the mark, the Canadian’s jaw dropped and the crowd let out a roar that could be heard across the country. He is almost seven points ahead of Denis Ten of Kazakhstan going into Friday night’s free skate.
“This feels almost as great as the Vancouver Olympics,” Chan said. “I love the Canadian fans. They’re inspirational and create excitement.”
|Canada’s Patrick Chan celebrates after his short program. (Yonhap News)|
No, Chan and Co. had that covered.
European champion Javier Fernandez and Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, last year’s bronze medalist, were expected to challenge Chan for the title. But they didn’t even make the top five after flawed programs, upstaged by the little-known Ten and Kevin Reynolds.
Ten, who has never finished higher than seventh at the world championships or an Olympics, is second (91.56). Canada’s Kevin Reynolds (85.16) is third after doing two quadruple jumps.
“I’m shocked,” Ten admitted.
U.S. champion Max Aaron is in eighth place. But the U.S. hopes of regaining a third men’s spot at the Sochi Olympics all but ended after Ross Miner fell on his quadruple salchow and finished 15th. The Americans would need a combined placement of 13 or better ― fifth and eighth, say ― to qualify for three spots in Sochi.
“I’m pretty disappointed with how I skated,” Miner said. “It’s not the way I trained. My coach told me I have until 11 tonight to be angry. Then I regroup and get ready for the free skate Friday. I’m ready to do that.”
Chan has dominated men’s skating since the Vancouver Olympics. He’s won the last two world titles along with last season’s Grand Prix Final, and he was usually so far ahead no one else ever had a chance.
But he started this season in a funk, losing his first competition in nearly two years when he finished second to Fernandez at Skate Canada.