Lambiel shocks ’em all
Swiss star stuns everyone, including himself, with comeback win
As the two-time defending world champion and 2006 Turin Winter Olympics silver-medallist, Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland has skated through a lot of doors. He backed through one yesterday, winning a strangely twisted men’s title at the 2006 Skate Canada International before 5,347 fans at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
“It’s like, what’s up?” said Lambiel, who thought he had no hope after placing seventh in the short program Friday, followed by a long program yesterday that wasn’t clean, either.
But everybody else kept slip sliding away on the SOFMC ice surface, like the Salmon Kings on one of their particularly bad nights in the past, and handed the title to Lambiel. This is a guy who normally wouldn’t need such an early Christmas gift.
“After the short program, I thought it’s impossible to get a medal,” said Lambiel, a national hero in Switzerland.
That door to the top podium was wide open for the defending and three-time U.S. champion Johnny Weir but he was unable to knock it down, fading to the bronze medal placing after entering the long program in second place.
With short-program leader and Japanese champion Daisuke Takahashi slipping to second after the long program, all it would have take was a clean skate by Weir to win the Skate Canada men’s title.
“It’s hard . . . I could have won but it was stressful and I was just trying to make it through . . . I was trying to pull things out of my butt out there today,” said Weir, who tired noticeably near the end of his long program.
“I came from the Olympics [Turin] to the world championships [Calgary] and then went right into the Champions on Ice Tour all summer,” added Weir, who was also second after the Olympic short program before finishing fifth in Turin.
“It’s not like I’ve been sitting around in a shorty bathrobe drinking Mai Tais. And you never get used to skating last. You get the jitters. But there are no excuses.”
Lambiel finished at 210.70 points, Takahashi second at 208.21, Weir third at 198.70 and Olympian Shawn Sawyer of Edmundston, N.B., fourth with 195.17. The other Canadians, Vaughn Chipeur and Marc Andre Craig, were seventh and eighth.
Canadian skater Vaughn Chipeur performs one of his spins during the men’s free skate competition at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre last night.Chipeur finished up in seventh place overall.