Some disjointed ramblings about this weekend's national championships in everyone's favorite few acres of snow....
Big egos, much like gases, expand to fill the space others give them, and so Patrick Chan rises to the position as the top man in Canada yet again. This was more or less a foregone conclusion the moment this season began as Mr. Chan is by far the top-ranked Canadian man, so not much to say here. Yes, his score was astronomical but such things are acceptable in the annual bout of nationalistic ego-stroking that is the typical national championship. At the very least we should be grateful for the fact that Mr. Chan skated well enough to spare us hapless viewers another Skate Canada-style victory.
Of much more interest is Shawn Sawyer, Morozombie's favorite Canadian in the competitive ranks. Mr. Sawyer dispelled any notions of him being a washed-up has-been by skating what was perhaps the performance of his life in the LP, seizing the silver medal with a particularly inspired skate. Mr. Sawyer's Alice in Wonderland is the most creative LP among the men, and it alone justifies the existence of the CH component of PCS this season. Mr. Sawyer's program is full of brilliant choreographic touches that are incorporated into the program very well--the spiral, the cantilever, the 3Lo from out of nowhere, a step sequence that actually fits the music and is visibly different from every other step sequence out in the field (what a novel concept!)--and perhaps more importantly, the program is on the whole interpretative of the music and is performed with verve and character. Rather predictably, the judges have somehow confused reputation/ranking with what a skater actually achieves on the ice and have consistently lowballed Mr. Sawyer with mostly 6s and 7s in PCS. Mr. Sawyer's PCS were much more respectable at the Canadian Nationals, but he is realistically unlikely to receive the same sort of marks internationally. If only Mr. Sawyer has a solid 3A and skating skills like Mr. Chan's--he's certainly one skater we won't mind Skate Canada shoving down our collective throats.
The ladies event at Canadian Nationals was unfortunately not quite up to snuff, especially when compared to the men's event. The fact that Jessica Dube--normally a pairs skater--finished in sixth place is indicative of the quality of the field. Cynthia Phaneuf regains her national title 5910951 skate-years after her first with a LP to the music of the mysteriously popular and insipid Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. It is, however, interesting to note the dominance of Quebecois skaters in the ladies event in recent years--even with Joannie Rochette currently out of the picture, six out of the top ten ladies skaters in Canada this year are from Quebec.
Watching the duo of Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch makes me long for the days of Sale/Pelletier or even Dube/Davison--and I was never, ever an acolyte of either pair. Enough said.