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Chan says he's ready to rock in Moscow

Canadian champion hopes to ride quads to first world gold

Patrick Chan has backed up his confident pre-competition talk this season.
Patrick Chan has backed up his confident pre-competition talk this season. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(04/15/2011) - Patrick Chan says he is ready to take on all comers in Moscow, where the delayed 2011 World Figure Skating Championships begins Apr. 24.

"My goal is to go out and skate the way I do in practice," Chan told reporters on a teleconference today. "I really want to come home with gold from worlds. I feel its time, and I'm in good shape to do it."

Many athletes give out confident sound bites before big events. This season, the 20-year-old Chan has talked the talk, and then walked the walk.

He declared he would add a quadruple toe loop to his repertoire, and at 2010 Skate Canada in Kingston, Ontario, he landed the jump for the first time in international competition. He executed quads in his short program and free skate at the 2010-11 Grand Prix Final, where he won gold with an eye-popping 259.75 points.

Now, after turning in a spectacular two-quad free skate at the 2011 Canadian Figure Skating Championships in January to win his fourth national title, he thinks the time is right to add a world gold to the silver medals he won in 2009 and 2010.

"I honestly don't think I peaked too early or anything," he said. "I only believe in repeating [in competition] what I do in practice. In practice, I skate clean [programs] everyday."

The world championships, originally scheduled to take place in Tokyo in March, were canceled after Japan's tragic earthquake and subsequent tsunamis. After a period of uncertainty, the ISU awarded the event to the Russian Skating Federation. Like all of the competitors, Chan and coach Christy Krall, who coaches the Canadian at Colorado Springs' World Arena, had to recalibrate training sessions to adjust for a month's delay.

"Ever since we heard the news and the final confirmation of where [the event will be], we started remapping the strategy and weekly training regimen, and how much I should recover and build back up," he said.

"I had already started to tone down training [leading in to Tokyo] and when [worlds] was postponed, I had to ramp back up...now we're in the stage of [going] back down and focusing on recovery so in Moscow I will be well-rested."

That means that while Chan has been doing run-throughs every weekday, he's also taken time out to work on his golf game on weekends. It's all part of an overall strategy to stay relaxed.

"I see [being a favorite] more as an excitement; I really like being looked up to," he said. "I can't forget about the other skaters. I'm not the only favorite. There are tons of skaters, including the Japanese [Daisuke Takahashi, Nobunari Oda and Takahiko Kozuka] who will be even more motivated to skate for their country.

"There is also Brian [Joubert] and Tomas [Verner]...I'm not the only one bearing the weight."

Chan added that he and Krall are sticking with the game plan that brought such acclaim in Kingston, with one quad in his short and two quads, along with a triple Axel-triple toe loop combination, planned for his free skate. If landed well, those jumps -- along with Chan's typically high Program Component Scores -- will make the Canadian hard to beat.

"I'm curious to see how other skaters have handled [the worlds delay]; I think I gained a lot in the extra month," he said. "If anything I've improved."

What would Brian Boitano do?

Chan doesn't consult sports psychologists, preferring to stick closer to home for positive reinforcement.

"It's the way I was brought up," he said. "My first coach, Mr. [Osborne] Colson, didn't believe in psychologists and since then I don't either." Instead, Chan relies on his coaches, his father, and -- since the middle of this season -- 1988 Olympic champion Brian Boitano. What the two discuss, though, is a secret.

"I can't indulge you and reveal that," Chan said. "It's all about being positive, keeping positive thoughts in your mind on the ice."