Denis Ten, a largely unheralded teenager from Kazakhstan, was the surprise silver-medalist. Ten, 19, turned in the performance of his young life, mirroring the bye-gone charm of his music, from the silent film, “The Artist,” at every spin, clever step and well executed jump.
For the two American men in contention, the night delivered mixed results. Reigning U.S. national champion Max Aaron acquitted himself well in his World Championship debut despite a run-in with the wall during his program, set to the rumble scene from “West Side Story.” But the former junior hockey player caromed off and stayed upright, as any Shark or Jet surely would, and ended solidly enough to finish seventh overall.
“I like to use the entire ice sheet. I have it! Why not use it all!” Aaron, 21, joked afterward, conceding that his figure-skating style was “maybe a little rough around the edges and aggressive.”
U.S. silver medalist Ross Miner, 22, had a disastrous long program and ended up 14th.
Combined with Aaron’s seventh, the American men’s placement totaled 21—well over the 13 points needed to earn a third spot for U.S. men at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Taking bronze was Javier Fernandez of Spain (249.06), the only podium finisher credited with two quadruple jumps — an opening quad toe and a quad salchow midway through the program.
Chan, who appeared to have squandered any hope of a third world title after the missteps in his program, showered the audience with thanks even as bouquets rained down on him.
“I think the audience saved me, really,” said Chan, who then addressed the crowd during his post-competition interview. “Thank you so much! I’m sorry I didn’t get to do a good program.”
Skating to Puccini’s La Boheme, Chan, who had won gold or silver in the last four World Championships, opened with a beautiful quad toe-triple toe combination, followed by another quad toe. But he fell on his next jump, a less challenging triple lutz, fell once again and stepped out of another. His gold-medal winning score was 267.78.
While the U.S. men will vie for just two spots at the upcoming Sochi Olympics, the U.S. women are well positioned to reclaim a third spot in Saturday’s free skate. Like the men, U.S. Champion Ashley Wagner, a West Potomac graduate, and U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold, must finish with a combined placement of 13 or less.
They’re tantalizingly close, scored fifth and ninth, respectively, for their short programs on Thursday.