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Chan promises "quad battle" with Reynolds

Drops triple Axel to make room for second quad toe in Phantom

Patrick Chan is planning two quadruple toe loops in his free skate.
Patrick Chan is planning two quadruple toe loops in his free skate. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(01/14/2011) - One quad isn't enough for Patrick Chan.

The Canadian world silver medalist, who will defend his national title in Victoria, BC, next week, is planning two quadruple toe loops in his free skate to Phantom of the Opera.

"I decided to add more to my programs, especially the long program," Chan, who turned 20 on Dec. 31, said on a conference call with journalists.

"There's no better time than nationals to do it. I'm sure it will be exciting. I'm super excited to do it."

The quadruple toe loops -- one of which must be done in combination with another jump, likely a double or triple toe loop -- are planned back-to-back at the start of Chan's free. To make room, he is deleting the triple Axel previously done in the first half of the program.

The three-time Canadian champion, who trains under Christy Krall at Colorado Springs World Arena, has been practicing his free with two quads for about two weeks, and said he is hitting them "three out of five, or four out of five" times.

"It's been consistent, but it's very different when you get to competition," he said, adding that he hopes to put on a good show for fans in Victoria.

"I want that fourth title on my resume. It's also good testing ground for the world championships. . . It's a great time to test the waters with two [quads] and then we're going to re-evaluate before worlds."

Chan believes doing the quads right off the start should not affect the rest of his program, which has earned consistently high program component scores for choreography, transitions and performance.

"[The placement] is strategic, so I can get back into the performance and the mood," he said.

Canadian bronze medalist Kevin Reynolds, who regularly includes both quad toe loops and quad Salchows in both his short programs and free skates, provided extra-added incentive.

"If I bring two quads [in the free skate], and he's pretty much the quad King, we're going to have a quad battle with the top two men, maybe the top three, doing quads at Canadians," Chan said.

Reynolds, a BC native, landed a record-setting three quads in his short program at Skate Canada this fall.

"[National competition] is very important," Chan said. "It's almost like in practice; when you don't have anyone around at the same level, it's hard [to stay] motivated. Kevin, Jeremy [Ten, now injured] and the other skaters keep nudging me and reminding me they are there. I'm glad Kevin is there to motivate me."

Chan won world silver medals in 2009 and 2010 without including a quad in either his short program or free skate. Since landing it at 2010 Skate Canada in October, however, he has become one of the four-revolution jump's biggest proponents. No matter the outcome in Victoria, he plans to have at least one quad in his free at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo in March, where he and the top Japanese men are expected to contend for gold.

"I really need it this year, for sure," he said. "There is no doubt in my mind I will have at least one quad [in the free skate]. Nobunari [Oda], Daisuke [Takahashi], [Takahiko] Kozuka are all doing them; it's only fair I do the same. I have to keep up with them."

Although Chan has won two events this season -- Skate Canada and the Grand Prix Final -- and placed second in another, his performances have not been flawless. His biggest trouble has come on the triple Axel, the jump he removed from his free skate. Substituting a quad could help him pick up valuable points.

"The Axel is still a work in progress," he said. "It's not one of my easiest jumps, like the triple Lutz or even the quad toe. At this point in my career patience is a virtue. We keep tweaking it, bit by bit . . . the triple Axel is not my forte and that's why it's taken a little more time."