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San Francisco skater gets a jump on competitors at championships

Elliott Almond, The Mercury News on

Published in Olympics

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Dinh Tran is used to taking a different track to figure skating stardom.

So, he just shrugged after heading to a Caltrain station Monday after a stirring performance to place second in the junior men's short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose.

Tran, 16, followed Richmond Alysa Liu's powerful performance a night earlier as young Bay Area skaters have left local audiences spellbound in the championships that heat up Wednesday at SAP Center with seniors competing for berths to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Tran, of San Francisco, finished with 67.28 points, just .60 of a point behind favorite Camden Pulkinen of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Mimi Hoang and her son got a ride to Solar4America Ice on Monday morning from the skater's sponsor, who has requested to remain anonymous. But they had no way to get home afterward.

Hoang, who has raised four boys in a Tenderloin studio apartment, doesn't own a car. Mom and son hitched a ride to Belmont with coach Jeffrey Crandell. Then they took the train the rest of the way.

 

They had plenty to celebrate after the teen landed his first triple axel in competition.

"He made me cry," Hoang said.

Tran matched Pulkinen's technical program but judges deducted points on the second part of a planned triple flip-triple toe loop combination jump.

Stepping out of the toe loop left Tran briefly flustered as he also lost points on his change foot camel spin.

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