Daleman fights through pneumonia to win Canadian title

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Gabrielle Daleman fought through pneumonia Saturday to win the Canadian national figure skating title, and Patrick Chan set a record with his 10th Canadian championship.

Skating on her 20th birthday and only eight months after emergency surgery for an abdominal cyst, Daleman had the crowd roaring with her skate to Gershwin’s ”Rhapsody in Blue.”

Daleman landed seven triple jumps and finished with a Canadian-record 229.78 points. After topping the short program Friday, she scored 151.90 points in the free skate.

”You become way more grateful for what you’re able to do and how lucky you are when you can’t do it, and that’s what’s really changed me this past year,” Daleman said. ”I said (Friday) that was the way to end 19 . . . this is the way to start 20. It is the absolute best birthday present I could ever ask for.”

Chan finished with 272.24 points, scoring 181.26 on his free skate to Jeff Buckley’s ”Hallelujah.”

”Ten is, after seeing it on the screen, being past Montgomery Wilson (who won nine titles between 1929 and `39), it’s pretty wild,” Chan said. ”And then you see Kurt (Browning) and Brian (Orser) and Elvis (Stojko) on that list, and to see that I’ve accomplished what they’ve accomplished, and a bit more, it’s amazing because I’ve looked up to them as idols.”

Keegan Messing, an Alaskan who recently chose to compete for Canada, was second at 259.25, and Nam Nguyen third at 258.16.

Daleman had been battling chest congestion for a couple of weeks and was diagnosed with pneumonia Thursday. Unable to sleep Friday, she called her boyfriend back in Toronto at midnight, finally falling asleep around 1:30 a.m., and then had a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call for a hair and makeup session and a morning practice. The illness and fatigue certainly wasn’t noticeable in her powerful skating and huge jumps, and her score that topped Kaetlyn Osmond’s Canadian record by about 10 points.

”I didn’t even care that I couldn’t breathe, I just skated from my heart,” she said.

Osmond, second last year in the world championships, fell twice and finished second at 218.73.

”Silly mistakes are what’s getting me,” Osmond said. ”I don’t know the last time I did miss that flip. My loop, it was just the confidence, I lost a bit of confidence on the landing. So they’re silly mistakes, ones that I don’t usually make, I’ve been working on them so hard at home, and I’ve done them numerous times in a row. So I am frustrated that I can’t bring that into my competition side.”

Larkyn Austman was third at 169.62.

Earlier, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won their eighth Canadian ice dance title – in the three-time world champion’s final appearance in the national championships. Set to retire after the Olympic, the scored 209.82 points with their ”Moulin Rouge” program. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier were second at 192.08.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, also retiring after the Pyeongchang Olympics, won their seventh consecutive Canadian pairs title. Skating to Adele’s ”Hometown Glory,” Duhamel and Radford scored 234.55 despite Duhamel falling. Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau were second at 213.00.

The Olympic team will be named Sunday.