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FIGURE SKATING

Patrick Chan's performance inspires the competition

The 18-year-old Canadian figure skating champion brings down the house and motivates his rivals at the Four Continents championships.

February 06, 2009|Helene Elliott

VANCOUVER, CANADA — The hang time on Patrick Chan's triple axel was Michael Jordan- esque, a glorious jump in a riveting routine.

The 18-year-old Canadian figure skating champion brought down the house at the Pacific Coliseum. He also motivated his rivals to lift the men's event at the Four Continents championships to impressive levels Thursday.

Chan's short-program score of 88.90 was the second-best since the new judging system was adopted for the 2004-05 season, behind the 90.66 Evgeni Plushenko earned in a gold-medal performance at Turin. Evan Lysacek, so disconsolate after losing his U.S. title two weeks ago that he considered skipping this event, skated with renewed passion and was rewarded with a season-best 81.65.

Japan's Takahiko Kozuka, who worked with Lysacek's coach, Frank Carroll, in El Segundo in 2006, is third at 76.61.

Skating before a friendly audience in the test event for the Vancouver Games, Chan tested his limits and exceeded them.

"I took full advantage to play the crowd and enjoy it and give myself chills," said Chan, who will compete at the world championships next month in Los Angeles. "When I've got chills at the end of the program that means I know it was a good program. And I did have chills."

So did Lysacek.

"It was really exciting to see Patrick's score come up," Lysacek said. "Congratulations to him. More than that, he inspired all of us."

U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, who fell on a triple lutz, is fourth at 75.67. Brandon Mroz, second at the U.S. competition, is fifth after scoring a season-best 75.05.

The first title here went to China's Qing Pang and Jian Tong, whose intricate lifts and throws helped them win the pairs event with 194.94 points.

Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison of Canada were second with 185.82 points. Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao of China, memorable for winning the silver medal at Turin after she endured a horrifying fall, were third with 174.98.

U.S. champions Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker moved up from seventh to fifth despite her fall on a triple toe loop. Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett of Ellenton, Fla., moved up from eighth to sixth, but Rena Inoue and John Baldwin of Santa Monica dropped from fifth to seventh.

In ice dance, world silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada performed the top-ranked original dance to amass a two-segment score of 97.30. Their training mates, U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White, are second at 95.85. Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, second at the U.S. championships, had the top element score (33.10) and rose from fourth to third, at 90.89.

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helene.elliott@latimes.com

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latimes.com

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