LONDON, Ontario (AP) — Denis Ten saw his marks and his mouth fell open. He jumped to his feet, screaming and pumping his fists as if he'd won.
The title may have gone to Patrick Chan, but there was no question that the night belonged to Ten.
With a beautifully breezy and technically impressive performance to "The Artist," the little-known skater from Kazakhstan stole the Canadian star's spotlight at the World Figure Skating Championships on Friday night.
Ten won the free skate, but he couldn't overcome the big lead Chan had from the short program. He finished 1.3 points behind Chan, who became the first man since Alexei Yagudin (1998-2000) to win three straight titles.
Javier Fernandez was third, giving Spain its first medal, too.
"My dream came true. I still cannot believe that it all happened," said Ten, who had never finished better than seventh at a world championships or Olympics.
"This is my first world medal and, what's even more important is it's the first medal for my country. I'm feeling very proud, and I'm realizing that the whole country now is very proud of my little win and my little victory. It feels great."
Earlier Friday, Tatiana Volosozhar and Makim Trankov won the pairs title, Russia's first since 2005.
The Russians shattered two world records in the process. Their total score of 225.71 was almost eight points better than the previous mark, while their free skate score of 149.87 was exactly five points higher.
"It means we can fight for the gold in Sochi," Trankov said. "It would be big to give back for Russia the Olympic gold, because we lost it in Vancouver in 2010."
Ten began skating on outdoor rinks in Kazakhstan — "I still remember how my mother would put three pairs of pants on me. I looked like a cabbage. That's how I learned all the doubles, it helped me to be quicker" — before shopping malls with tiny rinks began springing up.
In search of better training, he moved to Russia when he was 10, then came to California three years ago to train with Frank Carroll, Evan Lysacek's coach.
No one — Ten included — could have predicted his remarkable performance a few days ago. He'd been 12th just last month at Four Continents, a competition that doesn't include the Europeans or, this year, Chan.
Continuing a story he'd started with the short program, Ten was a revelation. He didn't so much as skate to "The Artist" as he did pick up where the Oscar-winning movie had left off. He was a silent film star on ice, pantomiming and using every other inch of his body to talk to the audience — and judges — without ever uttering a word.
His skating was flawless, with centered spins and complex footwork. His quad was big and solid and the rest of his jumps were strong. But it was the landings that were most impressive, with his blades carving the ice like a diamond cutter.
Had he not doubled the first jump in his triple flip-double toe combination, he — not Chan — would have been standing atop the podium.
"I feel like I had a long way being a kid skating like a cabbage," he said. "Now I skate in a good costume at the worlds."
With the Sochi Olympics a year away and these world championships in his own country, Chan wanted this title badly.
He got off to a spectacular start, doing a quadruple toe loop-triple toe combination and a solo quad toe that were technically perfect.
Then the downward spiral began. He splatted on a triple lutz, a jump that's simple in comparison to those quads, and fell on an under-rotated triple axel. He flipped out of the landing on the last jump of a triple flip-single loop-triple salchow combination and watered down a triple lutz-double toe combo.
Chan knew this wasn't one of his more memorable performances, slapping his forehead several times when he finished. He did it again as he waited for his marks, giving the audience a sheepish smile.
"I'm a little disappointed I wasn't able to do great program in front of such a great audience," Chan said. "But you know what? I'm going to take the win, put it in my back pocket and really learn from it next season."
Oozing charisma and swagger, Fernandez can sell his programs like few other skaters these days.
At 21, he's way too young to recall Charlie Chaplin. But Fernandez's portrayal of him was so spot on, no one could take their eyes off of him.
Early in the program, he did an old-fashioned royal curtsy, rolling his hand down from his nose to the ground. He started one footwork sequence by stuffing his hands in his pockets, fixing the audience with a flirty smile and shrugging his shoulders.
The flaws in his program were with his jumps. Fernandez has always had great hops, and he did two quads — one salchow and one toe loop — that were very nice.
But he popped both jumps in what was supposed to be a quad salchow-triple toe combination into doubles, and singled the opening lutz in a planned triple lutz-double toe combination.
He watched the final skaters with Chan, his hopes of a medal climbing with each performance.
"I was getting a little bit more excited, a little bit more excited, a little bit more excited," Fernandez said. "When (the last skater) finished and I saw I was in the third position, I didn't know what to do. Jump. Cry. Hug Patrick."
The victory by Volosozhar and Trankov completed a sweep of the season's major titles — Grand Prix Final, European championships, worlds — for the Russians. They haven't lost a competition since finishing second at last year's worlds.
The pair's upset of four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy at the Europeans set up what was expected to be an exciting rematch at the worlds. But the Germans turned out to be something of a dud, finishing about 20 points back with a subdued performance.
Russia has a sterling tradition in pairs, winning at least a share of the gold medal at every Olympics from 1964 to 2006. But that streak came to a thudding halt in Vancouver. Not only did the Russians fail to win gold, they didn't even have a pair on the podium. It was a tremendous embarrassment, made even worse by the fact the next Olympics are in Russia.
But Volosozhar and Trankov have restored the proud lineage.
With nearly perfect unison and choreography that exquisitely fit their "Violin Muse" program, they were a pure joy on Friday. Their ballet training was evident in gorgeous lines and extensions, details that elevate a good program to greatness.
The Russians also know how to thrill. On their final lift, not only did he carry her for what seemed like hours, he did most of it while gliding backward on only one foot, a feat that takes strength, dexterity and more than a little guts.
They weren't perfect, with him tripping after their throw triple salchow. But it hardly mattered when the rest of their program was so spectacular.