Figure skaters wrap up Canada’s first Olympic gold in Pyeongchang
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA — Hallelujah, Canada.
And “Hallelujah” Patrick Chan.
Artistically and metaphorically, the classic song of praise and mourning by Leonard Cohen — as covered in this version by Jeff Buckley — was the perfect interpretive vehicle for the 10-time Canadian champion.
It lifted him — and his Canadian team event platoon — to Olympic champion.
It helped bring Canada its first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
What was so crushingly lost four years ago in Sochi — that hole has been filled, at least in Chan’s heart.
Not the singles title that slipped away that night in Russia. But the team title, which perhaps the Canadian squad didn’t take as seriously as they should have when the event made its Games debut. Only to realize too late the opportunity missed.
Chan, who has become almost the Hamlet of figure skating — to be or not to be and Olympian once more — and often in the past two years clearly regretting his decision to return, was far from clean and nowhere near perfect here Monday morning. His nemesis jump, the triple Axel, bit hard again, doubling one attempt and falling on the other. But he executed a gorgeous quad toe at the start of his “Hallelujah” program and an almost-as-good quad almost immediately after.
Gobs of marks for those two elements, thrusting the 27-year-old from Toronto more than six points ahead of Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada: 179.75 to 173.57 in the free skate competition, on the third and final day of the event.
That segment stake racked up 10 points for Canada and an interim score of 55-48, with women and ice dancing to come. Gabrielle Daleman hit her “Rhapsody in Blue” mark splendidly, doubled over at the waist with happiness at the routine’s end. The 20-year-old from Newmarket had no issues, skating to a third-place finish and 137.14 score behind Russia’s national titleholder Alina Zagitova, and a dazzling performance from Mirai Nagasu of the U.S., landing the first clean triple Axel by a female skater at the Olympics since Japan’s Mao Asada did it at Vancouver.