Messing fifth in men’s event; James and Radford fourth in pairs at Skate Canada

A loud crowd cheered on the skates for the event at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at the University of British Columbia.

Messing was third after Friday’s short program with 93.28 points but ran into problems during the free skate, hitting his face on the ice after one fall. He was given a score of 145.06 points, 10th on the day, for a total of 238.34.

“The pride was hurt a little bit today,” said Messing, who was born in Anchorage, Alaska, but whose mother is from Edmonton. “I’ve been in this sport for 26 years, I’ve had my pride hurt before.

“We’re just picking ourselves right up, dusting ourselves off. Not forgetting but learning.”

Messing said he was “shaky on my right leg” during the performance.

“I’m not sure if it was nerves or something,” he said.

Conrad Orzel was ninth with 222.75 points while Roman Sadovsky was 12th with 217.73. Both are from Toronto.

American Nathan Chen won the men’s event with 307.18 points while countryman Jason Brown was second with 259.55. Russia’s Evgeni Semenenko was third with 256.01.

Chen’s coach Rafael Arutunian was forced to watch from the crowd after his accreditation was removed for an inadvertent violation Friday of the COVID-19 protocols at the event.

Chen said the incident didn’t affect his performance.

“I was still able to focus on my skate,” he said. “He’s taught us to be very self-sufficient. Really nothing changed in that regard.

“What went down was appropriate. It’s reasonable to adhere to the bubble protocol. Keeping us all safe is the whole objective of this bubble.”

In the pairs, James and Radford, who were fifth in the short program, collected 122.62 points in a free skate where James fell once and also had a stumble. They finished with 187.92 points.

“We’re still working on getting that clean program,” said James. “We know we are very capable of doing a very high quality. We are still ironing out the kinks.”

Radford, a two-time world champion and three-time Olympic medallist from Balmertown, Ont., announced in April he was coming out of retirement to partner with James, who was born in Toronto but previously competed for France.

The Chinese pair of Wenjing Sui and Cong Han finished first with 224.05 points. Russia’s Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin were second with 193.08 points.

The American team of Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc had the second-best score of 128.22 in the free skate to climb from sixth place after the short program to third with 189.90 points.

“It was a very up-and-down competition for us,” said Leduc. “We are really happy with the result. We worked so hard this season so far. To feel like it paid off is so awesome.”

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, who have won the last two Canadian pairs championships, came into the free skate sitting fourth but slid to sixth with 180.25 points.

“Just a bit of a bummer day,” said Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont. “We didn’t complete any lifts today. We’re not sure what the reason is. We’ll just be going home to train to make sure we don’t do that again.”

Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland, competing in their first senior Grand Prix event, were seventh with 168.81 points.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2021

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

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