Big jumps land Nicolas Nadeau a national title

KINGSTON, ONTARIO – Nicolas Nadeau was on a mission on Wednesday night at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

The 17-year-old skater from Boisbriand, Que., wanted to win the junior national title and leave no doubt about it. So he did something Olympic: after using Lutzes at Skate Canada Challenge last month, he decided to do not one, but two triple Axels in his free skate at nationals. None of his competitors tried that jump.

That plan meant he had to do one of those Axels in combination.

So he did. He astonished the die-hard spectators at the K-Rock Centre when he unleashed a triple Axel – double toe loop as his first jump, then wound up right again and went for a second triple Axel.  He stepped out of that one, but the effort went way beyond what he had done at Skate Canada Challenge.

With this bold plan, Nadeau won with the free skate with 123.68 points (6.36 ahead of closest competitor Antony Cheng of Richmond Hill, Ont.) and won the free with185.75, almost nine points ahead of Cheng, who took the silver medal.

Edrian Paul Célestino  of Dollard-des-Armeaux,  Que., won the bronze medal with his beautiful Nessum Dorma routine, that earned him 114. 44 points and 172.68 overall.

Yvan Desjardins, who trains Nadeau, Daniel-Olivier Boulanger-Trottier who finished fourth with a strong skate and 13-year-old Joseph Phan, who ended fifth, said Nadeau showed no nerves at all. Last year, Nadeau would have liked to have won the junior title and skated last but had a disastrous performance in the free. Desjardins said Nadeau hadn’t forgotten that gloomy day in Ottawa, but still, it did not budge his resolve.

“He’s tough,” Desjardins said. “He has to be. He’s in the family. He has four sisters.”

Nadeau finally earned some Junior Grand Prix competitions earlier this season and the first one was in Japan, an experience that could have daunted him. Desjardins asked him if he felt any nerves. “Nothing,” Nadeau said.

The two triple Axels that Nadeau did are vitally important to his immediate future: if he wanted to win this junior title, he needed it, Desjardins told him. And if he wanted to get to the world junior championships in March, he had some convincing to do, especially since Skate Canada officials may be looking at junior-eligible men who compete in senior already, such as Roman Sadovsky and Mitchell Gordon.

Now that he has delivered, he just has to wait to see his fate.

Nadeau is only the sixth Quebec man to win the junior skating title, and the first since Elladj Baldé won it seven years ago, in 2008. Others were Nicholas Young in 2000, Sebastien Britten in 1990, Jamie Eggleton in 1984 and believe it or not, Toller Cranston – who originally skated out Montreal – in 1964.

Only seven Quebec men have won the novice men’s title, the last one being Phan last year.

Interestingly enough, five of the six skaters in the final flight were all from Quebec. Could the tide be turning?

The new junior pair champions are Mary Orr of Brantford, Ont., and Phelan Simpson of Kitchener, Ont., who won in a landslide with a strong skate. Their winning total of 133.14 points was 12.84 points higher than second-placed Shalena Rau of Waterloo, Ont., and Sebastien Arcieri of Montreal.

The bronze medal went to Rachel Dobson of Campbellville, Ont., and Alexander Sheldrick of Paris, Ont.

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