Patrick Chan

Patrick Chan runs away with Skate Canada title (video)

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Patrick Chan‘s Olympic season is off to a dominant start.

The three-time reigning world champion dusted off the field to win his fourth Skate Canada, posting 262.03 total points and receiving a standing ovation from a flag-waving crowd in Saint John, New Brunswick, on Saturday.

Chan won by a comfortable 27.23 over second-place Nobunari Oda of Japan.

Earlier, Canadian Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the ice dance competition with 181.03 points. Their total was 7.20 points lower than world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White at Skate America last week.

NBC and NBC Live Extra will have Skate Canada coverage Sunday from 4-6.

Gold gets bronze behind Russian teen

Chan, 22, did not beat Japan’s Tatsuki Machida‘s score at Skate America last week — 265.38.

He landed a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination to start his program and added another quad jump skating to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”

“To be honest, I was kind of nervous,” Chan said of his free skate. “The best way to look at it is one element at a time.”

Also, the silver and bronze medalists from March’s World Championships, Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten and Spain’s Javier Fernandez, have yet to skate in the early Grand Prix season.

Americans Jeremy Abbott and Josh Farris fell on their opening jumps. Farris, the reigning world junior champion, recovered and improved from eighth after the short program to fifth with 216.72 points.

Abbott, the three-time U.S. champion, unraveled and dropped from fourth to sixth with 215.95. The other American, Ross Miner, was ninth at 196.89.

All three U.S. men at Skate America last week — Adam Rippon, Max Aaron and Jason Brown — posted higher overall scores.

Two U.S. men will make the Olympic team following the U.S. Championships in Boston in January.

In ice dancing, Virtue and Moir beat fellow Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje by 5.80 points in their Grand Prix season debut.

Virtue and Moir are next scheduled for Trophee Bombard in Paris in three weeks and could go head-to-head with Davis and White at the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, in the first week of December.

The only U.S. couple at Skate Canada, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, placed third with 153.20 points. They scored .22 higher than at Skate America last week, where they were the third best U.S. couple.

The U.S. earned three ice dance spots at the Olympics. Hubbell and Donohue will know how they stack up early in the season when U.S. silver medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates skate at Cup of China next week.

1. Patrick Chan (CAN) 262.03
3. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) 234.80
2. Nobunari Oda (JPN) 233.00
4. Michal Brezina (CZE) 218.32
5. Josh Farris (USA) 216.72
6. Jeremy Abbott (USA) 215.95
7. Elladj Balde (CAN) 205.19
8. Andrei Rogozine (CAN) 197.35
9. Ross Miner (USA) 196.89
10. Takahito Mura (JPN) 188.53

Ice Dance
1. Virtue/Moir (CAN) 181.03
2. Weaver/Poje (CAN) 175.23
3. Hubbell/Donohue (USA) 153.20
4. Razanova/Tkachenko (RUS) 145.56
5. Paul/Islam (CAN) 143.77
6. Zhiganshina/Gazsi (GER) 138.16
7. Guignard/Fabbri (ITA) 134.28
8. Stepanova/Bukin (RUS) 133.12

Patrick Chan defends Detroit, inspired by Justin Verlander

Yuzuru Hanyu sets short program record; Wagner in medal territory at NHK Trophy

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu set the new short program world record – raising his own world record by about five points from when he set it in Sochi – to lead the men’s field at the NHK Trophy in Nagano, Japan.

The 20-year-old landed two clean quads, one in combination, and a triple Axel in front of a home crowd. In his other Grand Prix appearance, two of those three jumps received zero points.

China’s Jin Boyang and Hanyu’s countryman Takahito Mura sit in second and third place, respectively, though Hanyu has built a 10-point lead heading into tonight’s free program. Jin landed two quads and a triple Axel cleanly, a program that surely would lead in any other field, while Mura was clean, too.

By holding off the competition, which seems likely, Hanyu can clinch a berth into the Grand Prix Final, where he is reigning champion.

Richard Dornbush and Grant Hochstein are the only U.S. men in the competition, as Jason Brown withdrew due to a back sprain. Dornbush is seventh and Hochstein is eighth before tonight’s free program.

2015 Worlds silver medalist Satoko Miyahara of Japan leads the ladies’ field after the short program over the other Japanese skater highlighting the field, Mao Asada (currently fourth), and two of the U.S.’ skaters. Courtney Hicks is second while Ashley Wagner is third. Vancouver Olympian Mirai Nagasu is fifth.

Miyahara landed three triples in her short program, compared to Hicks and Wagner, who both turned out of their planned triple-triple combinations. Nagasu was relatively clean in her short program. Asada fell on her signature triple Axel attempt and singled her planned triple Lutz.

Asada made her return to competition this season after winning the 2014 World title but skipping the subsequent season. Both Asada and Wagner can clinch berths to the Grand Prix Final by winning medals of any color in tonight’s free program. More on that process here.

It seems it is impossible to discuss figure skating results without mentioning the Russian dominance in the ladies’ field; however, in the short program, their competitors sat a lackluster seventh, ninth, and 11th in a field of 11. Russia’s Maria Artemieva, Alena Leonova and Anna Pogorilaya each had at least one fall in their short programs.

Canadian pairs team Meaghan Duhamel and Eric Radford are in the hunt for their ninth straight international win and a Grand Prix Final berth – a feat made a lot easier after the withdrawl of Olympic pairs champs Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov of Russia. The Canadian pair leads over Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim of the United States, currently second, also looking for a berth with a medal in Japan.

Men’s free skate — Saturday, 2:30 a.m. ET (start order here)
Women’s free skate — Saturday, 5:35 a.m. ET (start order here)

Russia vows to follow all WADA recommendations on doping

Russia Olympic Committee
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MOSCOW (AP) Russia says it will follow any recommendations from the World Anti-Doping Agency to clean up its own troubled drug-testing body.

A WADA commission’s report this month accused the Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA, of covering up failed drug tests by top athletes. RUSADA was suspended by WADA following the report’s publication.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko met WADA director general David Howman in Germany on Thursday.

According to an account of the meeting posted by the ministry, Mutko said Russia would “follow all recommendations from WADA aimed at the necessary transformations in the activities and structure of RUSADA.”

The ministry also quoted Howman as saying he welcomed Mutko’s assurances “with pleasure.”

Russia’s track and field team was also suspended this month by the IAAF and could miss next year’s Olympics in Brazil.

MORE: Ashton Eaton named male IAAF Athlete of the Year