Canada clinches Olympic gold in figure skating team event, with ice dance to go
GANGNEUNG – You could think of it as a gold watch.
It will be the perfect parting gift for impending retirees Patrick Chan, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. It was theirs for the taking in figure skating’s team event, after Chan did what Chan can do in the clutch, nailing a couple of quads and skating the heck out of the technical side.
He set it up, and how about this, Gabrielle Daleman hit it out of the park, nailing her long program, helping out her elders.
The reigning Canadian champ finished third in the women’s long program, giving Canada a 63-58 lead over the Olympic Athletes from Russia, with only the dancers to come.
The top dance team in the long gets 10 points, the last just six. Do the math. The most OAR can get is 68 points, the least Canada can register is 69.
Canada has clinched.
Chan stepped up to lead the way home on Monday with a clutch, two-quad tour de force to win the men’s long program and keep Canada in the catbird seat.
He wasn’t perfect — those pesky triple Axels that have been his nemesis reared their ugliest heads again — but he improvised some combos through the back half of the program, and Hallelujah, there he was on top with a season-best score of 179.75, edging Olympic Athlete from Russia Mikhail Kolyada into second spot.
That sent Canada into the final two disciplines — women and dance — with a comfy 55-48 lead over the OAR. The USA was third at 44. Italy and Japan were no longer in the conversation for medals.
And only Canada and the OAR could harbour any more dreams of gold.
Chan was asked if a gold in the team event would feel less of an accomplishment for a three-time world champ who never made it to the top of the podium in an individual event at the Games. He gave a heartfelt, team-guy, Canadian, we-are-in-this-together answer. And good for him.
“At the end of the day a medal is a medal. I’m going to hold this medal tight to me and it’s going to be as good as the individual. I’m sorry, that’s how I’m going to see it, how I’m going to enjoy it, and that’s for me to decide. I worked really hard for this. We all worked really hard. We are a very tight-knit group here in Canada as figure skaters and to me that means more than winning a medal in individuals. We can now embrace each other and know that we collectively did something amazing.”
He didn’t know what colour that medal was going to be. But gold was a pretty good bet. And this Canadian team would be full value for it.
Chan came back from retirement for this, so did Virtue and Moir. They got the band back together and decided that the team event was worth their commitment. That’s why the only substitution for Canada was Gabrielle Daleman in for Kaetlyn Osmond in the women’s long program. The vets stepped up and said, we got this.
“After Tessa and Scott came back I think we all kind of looked at each other and said you know, you know what we’ve got a great chance this time around and we need to take this seriously,” said Chan.
And yes, they feel badly that they can’t share it with some of their teammates on the 17-member Canadian squad.