The men’s competition at Skate Canada in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, features 2011 World Champion Patrick Chan of Canada skating against 2010 World Champion Daisuke Takahashi of Japan. Also thrown into the mix are 2011 U.S. Championship bronze medalist Ross Miner (Watertown, Mass.) of the United States, two-time World Junior Champion (Clarks Summit, Pa.) of the United and 2011 Skate America silver medalist Kevin Van Der Perren of Belgium.
Chan holds all three world records after his immaculate 280.98 point performance at the 2011 World Championships. In the short program, he scored 93.02 points with a performance that included an opening quadruple toe-triple toe combination. Chan landed two more quad toes in his free skate (187.96). While he has technically demanding programs, he scores incredibly well in program components, even receiving multiple 10.00s last season. He won Skate Canada, the Grand Prix Final and his fourth consecutive Canadian title before taking his first World title. The last competition he lost was 2010 Cup of Russia.
Takahashi is an electrifying skater who, like Chan, performs quads without sacrificing important program components like choreography, performance and transitions/linking footwork. He recently spent time with ice dancing specialist Muriel Boucher-Zazoui in Lyon, France, working on his new “In the Garden of Souls” short program (choreographed by David Wilson) and “Blues for Klook” free (choreographed by Pasquale Camerlengo). While Takahashi has put in a lot of work since his fifth place showing at 2011 Worlds, he did undergo surgery in May to remove a bolt that was put in his right knee in 2008. Mississauga will be the first major test of his knee, although he did finish sixth in the free skating only Japan Open competition earlier this fall.
Miner made his Grand Prix debut last season with a seventh place finish at Cup of China and a ninth place showing at NHK Trophy. At the U.S. Championships in Greensboro, N.C., in January, Miner won the bronze medal with a second place free skate that included a triple Lutz-triple toe and six other triples, including a triple Axel-double toe combination. He went on to place 11th in his World debut. In the off season, Miner has worked on the quadruple Salchow.
Rippon started last season with an amazing performance at Japan Open. He was third at Skate Canada, fourth at Skate America and poised for his first podium performance at the 2011 U.S. Championships. But after disappointing fifth place showings at the 2011 U.S. Championships and then Four Continents Championship, Rippon left coach Brian Orser and started training with Jason Dungjen at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Rippon, the 2010 Four Continents Champion, has been working on the quad Lutz over the summer. He is looking for redemption in Mississauga.
Van Der Perren comes into Skate Canada fresh off a surprise silver medal at last week’s Skate Canada. In Ontario, Calif., he opened his program with a quad toe that garnered 12.16 points and followed that with a triple Axel and a triple flip. He also performed a triple Salchow-triple toe-triple toe combination that earned 14.54 points. He finished with 212.48 points.
As Chan starts his season in his home country, he will be difficult to beat. Podium predictions: 1) Patrick Chan, Canada. 2) Daisuke Takahashi, Japan. 3) Adam Rippon, United States.
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