Ice Network

Chan wins record-tying ninth Canadian crown

Three-time world champion lands two quads, outpaces field by 41 points
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Patrick Chan said his mental preparation leading up to the Canadian championships helped him put out one of his best skates of the season. -Getty Images

All season, Patrick Chan has been looking to find a sense of freedom in his skating, where he is able to perform with the elegance and command of the ice that has been the hallmark of his skating. He found that Saturday night at the 2017 Canadian Championships and, in doing so, claimed a historic ninth senior men's title, surpassing Brian Orser's record and tying the late Montgomery Wilson.

"It's so special now that I can really enjoy it," said Chan, whose score of 298.86 beat that of his closest competitor by more than 41 points. "The biggest challenge was not to think about it leading into the long program. Now that it's all over, I can really enjoy it, to be there with Montgomery Wilson, who won the ninth title nearly 80 years ago. That's the same era as my first coach, Osborn Colson, so it's really crazy to think of the connection to history and the true pioneers of figure skating."

Chan, 26, opened his program with a bang, with a quadruple toe-triple toe combination, a triple axel and a quadruple salchow. He said he viewed his performance as a stepping stone to add more experience and comfort to performing the quad salchow in competition.

"For this week, I really wanted to concentrate on my mental preparation, getting myself prepared mentally before I got on the ice and trying to keep my anxiety and stress at the lowest level possible, so I could give myself the best chance to perform and be in control of every movement and every execution of jumps," Chan said.

Now training in Detroit with Marina Zoueva, Oleg Epstein and Johnny Johns, Chan said Zoueva suggested to him after a rough skate at the Grand Prix Final that he work with a sports psychologist, which was something new for him.

"(I'm just) trying to stay in the moment, stay in the present," said Chan, who consulted a sports psychologist at the University of Michigan. "I had two sessions prior to the national championships. I found it helped, and I made great strides mentally."

Chan's free skate is set to music composed by Canadian pairs champion Eric Radford. Its title is "A Journey," which represents both of their journeys as skaters and friends.

"It's special," he said. "He brings a breath of fresh air to my skating. To bring him along with me on the journey on the ice, as much as I feel alone on the ice, I feel like it's a bit of his performance as well. That's the ultimate sign of a great friendship and a great partnership.

"I trusted my instinct in the offseason when I first picked it. I felt it was the right thing to do, and my body told me the energy it created was perfect."

While desire and hunger to compete evolves over time, Chan said those things are still present in him. He feels different than he did as a young up-and-coming skater: His main objective now when he's on the ice is staying in the present.

"When you're able to perform in the moment and not think of the results and the buts and the ifs, just be completely mindful and immersed in what's happening in that exact moment, it's really special," Chan said. "It's what I strive for in every performance. That's going to be my goal leading all the way up to the Olympics."

Chan plans to compete at the Four Continents Championships and then worlds.

The silver medal was won by Kevin Reynolds, with 255.77 points, and the bronze went to Nam Nguyen, with 240.60.