Russia's Tuktamisheva wins Skate Canada at age 14
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario (AP)
Russian teen Elizaveta Tuktamisheva became Skate Canada's youngest women's winner in 30 years on Saturday, and Patrick Chan began the defense of his world championship with a come-from-behind win in the men's event.
The 14-year-old Tuktamisheva won the short program Friday and finished with 177.38 points after placing second to Japan's Akiko Suzuki in Saturday's free skate. The Russian is the youngest gold medalist at the Grand Prix event since Canada's Tracey Wainman won at age 13 in 1981.
Suzuki was fourth in the short program and scored 172.26 points overall to earn silver. American Ashley Wagner won bronze with 165.48 points.
Chan was third after the men's short program Friday, but his free skate program was good enough, even with a fall and a stumble, to take gold with 253.74 points.
Javier Fernandez of Spain, the leader after the short program, took silver (250.33) and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi won bronze (237.87).
It was Tuktamisheva's first senior Grand Prix appearance.
''I didn't feel a big difference,'' she said through an interpreter when asked about stepping up from the junior ranks. ''I try not to think of the importance of the competition.''
Chan fell on his first jump, a quadruple toe loop, but just attempting it was worth a pile of points. He followed with another quad toe and nailed it. He tacked on a triple toe to make it a combo and show why he's the world champion.
''I made an extra effort to stay relaxed today and it felt good,'' Chan said. ''My (free-skating) program is so brand new that my breathing pattern is not there yet.''
The 20-year-old Canadian stumbled on a footwork sequence, too, but his overall skills were better than those of his competitors.
''It wasn't pretty but I was really proud of myself in recovering after my (footwork) trip. I'm extremely relieved. Hopefully the next competition, in Paris, will be a little stronger. It's a work in progress.''
The next Grand Prix meet is in Paris in two weeks.
Wagner showed she's well on the way back to prominence. The 20-year-old American's only world championship appearance was in 2008 when she placed 16th. She was sixth at the 2011 U.S. nationals.
''I was so happy with what I put out there,'' she said. ''I was very satisfied, with the exception my Lutz.''
She fell on a Lutz midway through her program; the jump has been a hard one for her to land because of tendinitis in the landing foot. Everything else was impressive in her Black Swan routine.
The International Skating Union is allowing Tuktamisheva to compete at the highest level this season even though she won't be eligible to skate for the senior world championship until 2013. By 2014 in Sochi, Russia, she hopes to skate for Olympic gold.
''I'm trying not to show everything that is inside,'' she said. ''Even if I'm nervous, I try to hide it. I try to approach everything calmly. There is pressure but I try not to pay attention to that too much.
''I just try to do my job.''
Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia won gold in the pairs competition with 201.38 points overall after topping the standings in both the short and long programs.
Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China, who had been fourth after the short, were second in the free and wound up with 180.82 points and a silver medal.
Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze with 174.84 points.