Chan’s 10th title caps a big night for veterans at 2018 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships

VANCOUVER – Three-time world champion Patrick Chan won a record 10th Canadian men’s singles title on Saturday to conclude the 2018 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir notched an eighth ice dancing crown and it was number-seven for Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in pairs. Gabrielle Daleman celebrated her 20th birthday with the women’s title.

Chan placed first in both the short and long programs for 272.24 points. Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., took the silver at 259.25 and Nam Nguyen of Toronto was third at 258.16.

‘’I would have loved to have landed and nailed every single jump,’’ said Chan. ‘’But I did what I had to do. I had a lot of my own demons to battle and I was able to accomplish a big goal and a big step forward.’’

Messing said he was charged up after Elladj Baldé’s stirring performance just before him. Baldé was fourth.

‘’This means everything to me,’’ said Messing. ‘’Every day of hard work, every day I didn’t want to skate that I pushed through. I took every hard fall and kept pushing my body what I felt like was extreme.

‘’I did it.’’

Nguyen produced the second best free skate of the night to move from fifth.

‘’Today was really special for me’’ he said. ‘’I felt relieved after skating. It’s been a tough year. It’s kind of taken it’s toll on me and it’s been hard to skate through those hard days.’’

Duhamel and Radford won the pairs event with 234.55 returning to their Adele soundtrack from two years ago.  Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., followed at 213.00 and Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont. were third at 209.85.

‘’The short and long programs we did here are two of the best we’ve done in a long time,’’ said Duhamel, from Lively, Ont. ‘’But we’re still fine-tuning what we need to do for the Olympics. We’re in a good place. We feel more confident than we have throughout the season.’’

Séguin and Bilodeau missed last year’s nationals due to injury. They also produced their best performance of the season.

‘’We were second two years ago so we’re really happy to get back to that position,’’ said Bilodeau. ‘’What happened last year helped us so much today. We’ve learned a lot from all the things we dealt with.’’

After a slow start, Moore-Towers and Marinaro soared to the finish to maintain third position.

‘’It started out a little rough,’’ said Moore-Towers. ‘’Our jump series was not very good at all. Personally I’m much more comfortable with the second half of our program. When we get to that death spiral in the middle we can kind of breathe, take it down and segue-way into our last half.’’

In ice dancing, Virtue and Moir totalled a whopping 209.82 points. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto hung on to second spot at 192.08 while Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., climbed to the all important third spot at 191.09.

‘’We were trying to feel the program rather than approach it so technically,’’ said Virtue, from London, Ont. ‘’Most of the season we were trying to squeeze every point out and sometimes that can be all consuming.’’

‘’What a great set-up for the Olympic Games,’’ added Moir, from Ilderton, Ont. ‘’It’s a similar feeling because you got so much pressure. This was a big moment for Tessa and I. We got a lot of support from the Canadian fans and we wanted to make sure we had good performances.’’

A gutsy decision to change their free skate for the nationals paid off for Gilles and Poirier.

‘’It was a bit scary to do a new program at this point in the season,’’ said Poirier. ‘’We’ve had our fair share of doubts throughout the last month. We had to go into this competition confident with what we were doing.’’

A major mistake in the short program had shockingly put Weaver and Poje in fourth heading into the free dance. They received an emotional lift right from their introduction.

‘’We know we have the support from the crowd but it was special today,’’ said Poje. ‘’It created a special moment that we definitely will never forget.’’

In women’s competition, Daleman produced a flawless performance for gold with 229.78. Defending champion Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L., took the silver at 218.73.

‘’After I skated that program I couldn’t be more proud of myself,’’ said Daleman. ‘’I’ve had ups and downs through the entire year. This is the way to start 20.’’

Osmond made two jumping errors in her Black Swan routine.

‘’I made silly mistakes again,’’ she said. ‘’It’s probably the most flips I’ve missed in one event so that’s a little frustrating. Still I feel I’m on the right path and I’ll be ready for the Olympics.’’

Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C., had the skate of her life to climb from sixth to third at 169.62, a performance which may send her to the Olympics next month.

‘’It hasn’t totally hit me yet,’’ she said. ‘’I was just so happy to show what I could do and even prove to myself that I could go out there under incredible pressure and still do what I know I can do.’’

The event was also a qualification for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. The Canadian Olympic Committee and Skate Canada will announce the Canadian figure skating team nominated to compete at the Games on Sunday (January 14) at 11 a.m. (Pacific) at the The Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre in Vancouver.

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