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France's Joubert 'surprised' by Chan's criticism

Latest update : 2009-03-24

France's Brian Joubert (photo) has hit back at criticism by Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan, who called him a "sore loser", referring to comments made by Joubert in 2008 after his failure to win gold at the World Championships.

AFP - Former World Champion Brian Joubert brushed aside criticism from Canadian No. 1 Patrick Chan on Tuesday, saying he would rather be known as a risk taker than be rewarded for mediocrity.

Chan described Joubert on Monday as a "sore loser" and bad sport in response to Joubert's criticism of Chan's Canadian teammate Jeff Buttle at the 2008 World Championships in Sweden.

"So I am a bad guy, sorry," France's Joubert said after his practice session on Tuesday.

Both 18-year-old Chan and 24-year-old Joubert are competing at the World Figure Skating Championships which began on Tuesday at the Staples Center Arena.

"I don't understand why he said that," Joubert said of Chan. "I am very surprised. Because he is a nice guy. So I don't understand. Maybe he is disappointed about what I said from last season."

Chan and 2007 World Champion Joubert are two of the favourites for the men's event which begins with the short programme on Wednesday, followed by Thursday's free skate final.

Joubert, 24, lost the gold medal to Buttle at the Worlds last year in Gothenburg, Sweden. Joubert reiterated on Tuesday that Buttle should have attempted a quadruple jump.

"I was disappointed to see a World Champion without the quad," Joubert said. "I am like the other skaters I don't like to lose.

"I respect the other skaters, but I prefer when they beat me with the quad jump."

Joubert was surprised by Chan's comments, adding the Canadians are the only ones that seem to have taken offence to what he said.

"The French people agreed with me," Joubert said. "I think the Canadians no. I am sorry for them."

Chan said he tired of hearing excuses from Joubert when he loses. He added Joubert would be a better skater if he put more effort into improving the footwork part of his routine and not relying so much on the jumps.

"I respect the other skaters," Joubert said. "Patrick Chan and the other skaters can say what they want. I don't care. I just want to do my job. To give some fun to the judges to the audience and that's all. The best one will win the competition."

Joubert said too many young skaters are playing it safe by avoiding quad jumps in competition. Chan has yet to do a quad but says he hopes to add it to his routine for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in February.

"For the young skaters who are coming they don't want to do it (quad)," Joubert said. "They dont want to do the quad jump. They say 'We don't need it.'"

He said there has been a dramatic reduction in skaters attempting quads since the International Skating Union's new scoring system was implemented five years ago.

"When I did my first World Championship in 2002, maybe 15 skaters were doing the quads in the short programme," Joubert said.

"Now we can see the difference. Maybe the skaters today are better on footwork, spins on skating.

"For me, figure skating is not just the jumps, but I think it is more fun for the audience to see a quad jump, that is all."

Joubert says a quad jump should be worth more than its current base score of 9.8 points.

"I think the quad jump should be 12 points," he said. "We have to see. We will talk with the others skaters. I think they will change it after the Olympic Games."

Joubert said the men's field is wide open this year with a half dozen skaters who could win the overall crown.

"Patrick is not the only one," he said. "The Japanese skaters, the Americans and Canadians are strong. There are maybe six or seven who can be world champion."

Date created : 2009-03-24

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