Canadian champion Joannie Rochette rallied to win the Skate Canada women's title, beating Japan's Fumie Suguri in the free skate to the delighted cheers of the crowd at Victoria's Memorial Center on Saturday.
In the men's competition, world champion Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland rallied from seventh place after the short program to win the Grand Prix event.
The 20-year-old Rochette, fifth after the short program, made only one error, popping out of a planned triple-loop jump.
She landed five other triples cleanly and her spins, step sequences and artistry carried her past Suguri.
"I thought, `Do one thing at a time, one element at a time, and just do it for yourself and don't worry about what the others do,"' said Rochette.
Rochette set personal bests in the free skate (118.16) and for her overall total (173.86).
She received a standing ovation after her flamenco routine that was set to music from Felix Gray's Don Juan.
"It felt great, especially since it's in Canada," she said. "Before I went to take my starting pose, I was so nervous because the crowd was really, really loud, but I kept telling myself that every time I have an opportunity to perform at home it's an opportunity to prepare for the 2010 Olympics."
Suguri earned 110.24 points in the free skate to finish with 168.76.
"I wasn't in really good condition before I came here," Suguri said. "I did not know how much I could do at this competition. I think the audience helped me a lot."
South Korea's Kim Yu-na, the 16-year-old star who won the world junior championship last winter, finished third and defending champion Alissa Czisny of the US was fourth.
In the men's event, Japanese champion Daisuke Takahashi, the leader after the short program, finished second after falling twice. Johnny Weir from the US was third.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
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