LONDON, ONT.–When Patrick Chan takes to the ice Wednesday night, skating fans will find out whether the two-time world champ has finally got his mojo back or this entire season has been one to forget.
“It would mean a lot to me to overcome all the hardships that I had this season (and) come to the big competition and nail it on the right day,” he said.
“I want to defend my title.”
The first part of doing that comes in the men’s short program Wednesday. Chan skates second last. The men’s free skate comes later in the week on Friday at the world figure skating championships.
One thing is already certain: The quadruple jump will be a deciding factor at this event. It is no longer a question of whether the top male skaters will do one but how many and what kind.
Fellow Canadian skater Kevin Reynolds who just won Four Continents last month made history there by being the first to land five quads in a single competition. Reynolds, who trains in Vancouver, had two in his short program and three in his free skate.
“I don’t think it’s ever been that abundant in programs,” said Chan. “It’s really cool for me to stand back and see what’s evolved since the Vancouver Olympics and kind of being there (as) one of the top guys doing the quads.”
When Canada’s Kurt Browning first landed a quad in competition in 1988 it was huge. But by the late 1990s the quad was fairly common in men’s skating. Its popularity dropped off a bit when the judging system was changed in 2003.
American Evan Lysacek even managed to win the 2010 Olympic gold without a quad, much to the chagrin of silver medalist Russian Evgeni Plushenko.
The quad is back now and in greater numbers than ever.
“It worried me at first,” Chan said, noting that he has wondered if he should add a new quad to his program. “That’s something to be determined later on in the off season after worlds,” he said.
“It’s not like I’m totally against doing another quad and starting to train another one. It’s definitely in the back of my mind. But, on the other hand, if I look at myself as an overall skater there are a lot of other elements in the program that can fill in those blank spots (of) not having a third quad or a different quad other than toe.
“I think my footwork, my spins and my overall program thankfully makes up for it.”
At the Budweiser Gardens this week, he’ll find out if the judges agree.