LONDON, Ontario (Reuters) - A day after claiming a third consecutive figure skating world championship, Patrick Chan was still profusely apologizing on Saturday for his performance but the defiant Canadian was making no apologies for the win.
With figure skating’s credibility under ever-intensifying scrutiny, Chan sparked yet another judging controversy when he took the men’s title with a sloppy free skate that in the eyes of many was not medal worthy performance.
Chan landed on his backside twice, botched his three jump combination and made other errors but still did enough in the judges’ estimation to keep Denis Ten, an unknown but engaging young skater from Kazakhstan, from taking top spot on the podium.
”I deserved it,“ declared Chan. ”It’s totally understandable that people have their doubts.
”You look at hockey it’s really simple, you score one more goal than the other team. Figure skating is a little more subjective.
“But I would keep telling people I deserved it and would more than love to explain why.”
Chan rightly pointed out that competition also includes a short skate, which he performed brilliantly, posting a world record score to secure a whopping lead of almost seven points going into the free skate.
Still, the 22-year-old Canadian’s win was savaged by media covering the championships and blasted by some of his fellow skaters on social media.
“No disrespect to Patrick but a skater shouldn’t be able to fall twice & get such high PCS,” tweeted former U.S. and world champion Todd Eldredge.
“Seriously?” questioned flamboyant former U.S. national champion Johnny Weir in a tweet.
A six-time national champion, Chan’s wins have been aided by what have become known in skating circles as “Chanflation”, his marks inflated by his reputation and world champion credentials.
Critics see the results as more evidence that the old biases that have damaged figure skating’s popularity remain entrenched more than a decade after the Salt Lake Olympic judging scandal exposed the seedy underbelly of the sport, forcing a revamp of the scoring system.
”I think people forget it is a two part event,“ defended Chan. ”It wasn’t a gift, they (judges) didn’t give it me yesterday. I worked hard and did the best I could.
‘It was wide open for anyone to take it.
“I came second in the long program so obviously other skaters didn’t skate as well either. I think it was about who makes the least mistakes in the week.”
Editing by Gene Cherry