Chan finds comfort zone in winning sixth in a row

Skater says future plans do not include defending Four Continents crown

Patrick Chan won the title by more than 12 points over Kevin Reynolds.
Patrick Chan won the title by more than 12 points over Kevin Reynolds. (Getty Images)


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By Lois Elfman, special to
(01/19/2013) - It wasn't perfect, but Patrick Chan's performance at the 2013 Canadian Figure Skating Championships was enough to earn the skater his sixth consecutive national title and inspire him as he heads toward this year's world championships in London, Ontario, in March.

"The national championships are like your lucky socks, or like when you're a child: It's your favorite blanket, and you can always sleep well when you have that blanket around you," Chan said. "Despite having a rough season, I can come back to nationals and know that when I step on the ice at nationals, I'm going to feel at home. I'm going to feel comfortable skating my programs in front of the judges and in front of a huge audience. (Saturday night's free skates were sold out.)

"It's my comfort zone," he added. "I can definitely use that this year."

Chan said he felt he had something to prove when he hit the ice. Despite missing his triple flip and doubling a planned triple Axel, he was solid. He had a drive and excitement to perform, especially on his quads. He landed both quadruple jumps, one in combination.

After a couple of media days in Toronto, Chan, 22, is headed to New York City for a little rest and relaxation.

"I can go out and really enjoy the city. It's so vibrant -- you feel the energy pumping throughout the city," Chan said. "It's great for people watching. You can discover so many new things in New York."

After that, he'll go to Calgary to work with trainer Andy O'Brien, with whom Chan has worked since 2010.

"Get a new workout program," Chan said. "Talk to him about how I feel physically when I'm competing, so he dials me in for the world championships."

Then it's back to Colorado Springs to focus on training until he leaves for worlds. Chan's going to let other skaters take on the Four Continents Championships.

"I want to save that energy for the world championships," he said. "Also, I want to give that opportunity to the other guys on the national team, to go out and get that world championships point minimum that's required now to go to worlds."

A sixth Canadian title is a great feeling, but with each successive championship has come added pressure.

"Honestly, I probably enjoyed competing a lot more when I was younger. There was a lot less pressure," Chan said. "I like to use the example of Kaetlyn Osmond (who won her first national title at this year's event as a 17-year-old). At that age, you feel like you don't have any pressure or responsibility. You just go out, and you have that motivation and the drive and, in a way, the carefree attitude of giving it your all and letting everything unfold.

"Whereas, now at my age and the amount I've competed now, you have certain responsibilities when you're out there," he continued. "There's a lot more expectation. You lose that base of doing it for the love of it.

"Nationals was a great place where I was able to rekindle that and find that again, and find the joy of competing and joy of performing, and wanting to land on my feet and land those awesome quads in front of a huge crowd."

Silver medalist Kevin Reynolds skated well, landing three quads in his free skate, and placed second.

Chan didn't see the skate, but he did see Reynolds' reaction.

"I did see him smile," Chan said. "He had a celebratory moment after his program, which was great to see. All the years I've been on the team with him, I've never seen him that happy."

Andrei Rogozine placed third. Three-time Canadian men's champion Emanuel Sandhu finished 11th.