Canadian champ: 'You have to back it up'

SHANE ROSS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

Patrick Chan says his life hasn't changed much since dethroning Jeff Buttle as the Canadian champion last year.

Except his friends tease him a little when they see him doing TV commercials for the 2010 Olympics.

"They make fun of me, in a good way, though, because they're my friends," said Chan, a Grade 12 student at a French school in Toronto. "It's good because it keeps me grounded and makes me understand I have friends outside of skating and skating's not all my life."

He did abmit that wearing the title of Canadian champion comes with more responsibility.

"You have to back it up. You can't just go to a competition and wing it," he said. "You have a whole country behind you so it only seems right that you work hard and do the right thing. But other than that, it's pretty much a normal life."

LADY WILLPOWER

No Canadian has won an Olympic medal in women's figure skating since Liz Manley's silver at the 1988 Games in Calgary. But she thinks that could change when the Olympics return to Canada in 2010.

"I don't think it's a lack of talent, I think it's a lack of confidence right now. Our girls just need to believe that they can do it," she said. "The other countries have just become so strong and so powerful. The Chinese girls are dominating right now and the Americans are so strong. Even I was guilty when I was competing, you always felt inferior compared to those Americans or Eastern Bloc skaters and you just gotta get tougher skin.

"I look at Joannie Rochette. She's so close to pulling it off and it's just a matter of keeping her nerves under control and believing in it."

SECOND CHANCE

Talk about being precise. The times for today's events are listed right down to the second. Chan, for example, is scheduled to perform his short program tonight at 8:51 and 20 seconds. Canadian ice dancers Rachel Kirkland and Eric Radford, competing in their first Grand Prix event, are the first skaters to hit the ice today, at 12:11 and 30 seconds. The last skater to compete is U.S. men's champ Evan Lysacek, who goes on at 9:04 and 10 seconds. But before you try to synchronize your watch, remember that clocks go back one hour when daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday.


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