SOCHI, Russia — Thus did the Rising Sun appear above the Black Sea before midnight on Friday. Thus did men’s figure skating go where the women’s version went eight years ago, as the sport’s axis has shifted to Asia and away from Russia and the United States. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and Denis Ten of Kazakhstan went gold and bronze at Olympus and it wasn’t a random rotation of the earth.
Had Patrick Chan performed his program as written, he would have ended the Canadian Curse that undid fellow world champions Elvis Stojko and Kurt Browning (twice) and Brian Orser before him at the Games. But he came undone, just as he did at last year’s world championships on his home ice in Ontario and settled for silver after winning the last three global titles.
“Figure skating is hard,” concluded Chan, who nailed his opening quadruple-triple combination but put his hands down on his quad toe, then went down on his triple axel. It’s harder still for the Americans, who had their worst Olympic finish since 1936.
Jason Brown, the stylish rookie who wowed ’em with his Irish number on Causeway Street last month, performed creditably enough for his first trip in the planetary fast lane and placed a reasonable ninth. But Jeremy Abbott, whose short-program crash left him as bruised as a Haymarket tomato, couldn’t pull himself up higher than 12th.
Coming in the wake of a ninth-place showing in Vancouver that was the worst ever by a US champion, it was more evidence for observers who say Abbott is a choker whenever he faces anyone with a different passport.
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