BY ROBERT TAGLIALEGNE
Even he looked surprised, figure skater Jeffery Buttle won a bronze medal for Canada Thursday after climbing three places in the men's long program.
Buttle's reaction when he saw the points posted on the board said it all. Â?Oh, my GodÂ? was what he mouthed as the camera captured his surprise.
His four-and-a-half-minute free skate - to the music of Samson and Delilah - hit all the right chords with the judges who were impressed enough with his hypnotic footwork and dizzying spins to place Buttle ahead of Japanese skater Daisuke Takahashi.
The 23-year old's performance was not perfect, though. He attempted a quadruple jump and fell. No matter. He had amassed a raft of points with the attempt, and with fluidity and form from the rest of his program.
Buttle went in to the long program in sixth place and seemed out of the running for a medal.
Buttle got bronze, Russian favorite Evgeni Plushenko got the gold and StÃ©fane Lambiel of Switzerland earned the silver. Plushenko finished far ahead of the pack racking up an overall score of 258.33 while Buttle, who rebounded from mistakes in the short program, finished with an impressive 227.59.
Buttle's bronze was the fourth Canadian medal won Thursday, tying a national record for medals won in a single day of competition, dating back to Feb. 23, 2002 in Salt Lake City.
Canadians Shawn Sawyer finished 12th and Emanuel Sandhu ended up in 13th place.