Ex­it­ing with grace

Ten-time Cana­dian cham­pion an­nounces his re­tire­ment ‘with a huge smile’

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY LORI EWING

In Pa­trick Chan’s per­fect fu­ture, he’s run­ning a skat­ing school in Van­cou­ver with girl­friend Liz Put­nam, the two are liv­ing in a mil­lion-dol­lar apart­ment in the city’s lovely Kit­si­lano neigh­bour­hood, and he’s en­joy­ing a wildly suc­cess­ful ca­reer in com­mer­cial real es­tate.

It’s been two months since Chan took one fi­nal spin around the com­pet­i­tive rink, but the three-time world cham­pion has barely paused to re­flect. He’s lov­ing look­ing for­ward.

“I’m just run­ning around town do­ing what I want to do, and mov­ing on with a huge smile on my face. I feel good and light,” Chan said, ahead of Mon­day’s re­tire­ment an­nounce­ment.

“I had three or four things lined up that I wanted to just learn about, and that’s what I’m do­ing. I’m meet­ing peo­ple and pick­ing their brain and un­der­stand­ing what life is like. I don’t think I had any sense of that when I was in the com­pet­i­tive world. It’s awe­some. I’m just a sponge again. I’m just ab­sorb­ing and learn­ing.”

The 27-year-old from Toronto, who sat out a sea­son af­ter the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was ninth in men’s sin­gles at the Pyeongchang Olympics. But his ter­rific long pro­gram in the team event all but guar­an­teed Canada gold be­fore dance duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir even stepped on the ice.

If he’d had any doubts about the come­back, that golden mo­ment erased them.

“It would have been easy to be com­pla­cent and say ‘I don’t care, I’m just here to sup­port the team and be a part of it,’ and I could’ve fallen back and said ‘I’ll let Tessa and Scott help me through this.’ I knew that this was my chance to shine and chance to prove I still had some­thing to give.

“When I sat in that kiss and cry with my two dif­fer­ent coaches right next to me smil­ing and hav­ing the en­tire team be­hind me as well, and hav­ing them all re­act to me win­ning . . . gosh that was a bet­ter feel­ing I think than win­ning in­di­vid­ual gold. It’s a huge rush to see all these peo­ple that are gen­uinely smil­ing, and gen­uinely cheer­ing, and they’re ec­static, that’s so cool. To be able to say ‘I did

it, we did it,’ that’s a very very spe­cial feel­ing.”

Chan had planned his re­tire­ment an­nounce­ment for Sun­day at Flat Rock Cel­lars in Jor­dan, Ont. Chan launched his ice wine “On Ice” in part­ner­ship with Flat Rock in 2015. But the week­end’s ice storm forced a reschedul­ing to Mon­day in Toronto.

The 10-time Cana­dian cham­pion con­sid­ered re­tir­ing af­ter his heart­break­ing sil­ver-medal per­for­mance at the 2014 Sochi Games. And while his re­turn wasn’t what he’d en­vi­sioned, he’s glad he came back.

“It wouldn’t have been fair to end af­ter 2014, be­cause I didn’t re­ally have a good un­der­stand­ing of who I was and what my as­pi­ra­tions were and what I wanted from the sport. It just didn’t feel ful­fill­ing, skat­ing didn’t ful­fil me com­pletely.

“Now I ba­si­cally have three high­lights to my life: do­ing shows (like Stars on Ice), get­ting fa­mil­iar with the com­mer­cial

real es­tate world, which has been a lot of fun, and fi­nally the third dream would be to have the skat­ing rink go­ing and build­ing a skat­ing pro­gram,” Chan said.

“I say to my­self ‘Let’s see how ev­ery­thing un­folds one thing at a time . . . That’s a rea­son why this time around just feels right. It wouldn’t have felt right af­ter Sochi.”

If there are any re­grets, it’s that he played his cards too early be­fore Sochi. Chan dom­i­nated men’s skat­ing for three years be­fore those Olympics, and when Chan added two quadru­ple jumps, the rest of the world fol­lowed suit, and even­tu­ally took the quad brigade a step further. Amer­i­can Nathan Chen does six quads in his long pro­gram.

“I hate go­ing back­wards, but if there is one re­gret . . . I would have been more strate­gic about adding the quads to the pro­gram, and built it one step at a time,” Chan said.

Moir de­scribed Chan as a skater best ap­pre­ci­ated live.

“On TV, you can’t feel your hair blow back when you are close to him on the ice, be­cause he has so much speed and com­mand,” Moir said.

Chan will be known for his strength and speed on the ice, but also for artistry and ex­quis­ite

skat­ing skills that he hopes didn’t sin­gle him out as a dy­ing breed in the sport.

“At the end of the day, the foun­da­tion of it all is the joy of skat­ing and the glide and the power, that’s what’s amaz­ing,” Chan said. “I think even­tu­ally quads will all look the same, they’ll all look like triples. But the one thing that can dif­fer­en­ti­ate a skater and cre­ate ex­cite­ment in the sport is what skaters can bring to the ta­ble when it comes to in­ter­pre­ta­tion and how they can match the beau­ti­ful glide of skat­ing to mu­sic and to a per­for­mance.

“I want to play a part in mak­ing sure peo­ple don’t for­get how im­por­tant that as­pect is.”

To that end, Chan and his girl­friend, a skat­ing coach and for­mer pairs skater, en­vi­sion open­ing a skat­ing school much like the Cricket Club in Toronto, and have al­ready started lay­ing the ground­work.

“That’s the dream . . . a base for young coaches in the area to come, and brain­storm and chat about skaters, how we can make a cer­tain skater bet­ter, and make it an in­di­vid­u­al­ized cur­ricu­lum for each skater, and most im­por­tantly a fun en­vi­ron­ment for both skater and coach.”

“At the end of the day, the foun­da­tion of it all is the joy of skat­ing and the glide and the power, that’s what’s amaz­ing.” Pa­trick Chan


Cana­dian fig­ure skater Pa­trick Chan an­nounces his re­tire­ment Mon­day in Toronto.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.