Chan bares his claws

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- It's not Tonya Harding versus Nancy Kerrigan.

But Canada's Patrick Chan took a verbal swing at his main rival here yesterday which, in L.A. earthquake terms, was a 6.0 on the Richter scale.

And about the same on the old figure skating scoring system.

On the eve of the World Figure Skating Championships, Chan proved he's not going to be intimidated by 2007 world champion Brian Joubert of France.

Chan called out Joubert on comments he made last year when Canada's Jeff Buttle beat him for gold at Worlds in Goteborg, Sweden.

"It was a bit of a turnoff because now I know he's a bit of a sore loser, I guess" said Chan.

"If he doesn't win he always has an excuse for not winning and not skating well.

"Unfortunately, that's his personality and I don't really like it," he continued.

Chan was at the Worlds as a rookie last year, finishing ninth, but he said Joubert is always thinking only in terms of quad, quad, quad.

"He's always complaining about others not having the quad. He never has anything else to talk about. He says that, but I know it's an excuse. He says that because he wants to have an excuse.

"Obviously, he needs to be taught other things like footwork and spins."

Chan's comments were in answer to a largely innocent question about if he planned to develop a quad in time for the Vancouver Olympics. He has yet to land one in competition but like Buttle last year, has been outpointing people with a pair of Axels and near perfection with many other elements.

Joubert, last year, said it was a miscarriage of justice for a guy without a quad to win the world championship.

"I am very disappointed. Jeffrey did the perfect competition but he didn't try to land a quad jump," said Joubert.

"With the new system it's better to do something simple. They need to give more points for the quad jump in the future."

Two-time Canadian champion Chan may only be 18 years old and a newcomer on the scene where 24-year-old Joubert has won a gold and three silvers at Worlds. But he didn't let that stop him.

"I'm not going to trash talk him or say anything bad about him ... other than this time, I guess," Chan said, making the writers laugh.

"You guys are just trying to create a rivalry," he then added, several questions after he'd created it himself.

Actually the rivalry has been built in all the way to these Worlds with Chan having recorded the highest score in competition during his breakout year and Joubert the man he has to beat.

Most experts see the men's event, which begins with the short program tomorow and the free skate final on Thursday as a battle between the two.

Chan even took a shot at 2002 Olympic champion Alexei Yagudin when he said: "He didn't do anything compared to what we're doing. Our footwork today is pretty much a program. You're pretty near pooped after the footwork."

But Chan was saying that not as an insult to Yagudin but to suggest Joubert has been left behind in that area and it's not right for him to criticize people who are bringing stuff to the sport that he doesn't do.

"It's not sportsmanship. Tiger Woods is not going to say 'Mike Weir sucks because he can't hit it as far as I can.' "

Chan was asked if what he said meant he thought Joubert was a bit of a jerk?

"He's a nice guy to me but when he comes off the ice he changes personality. He's kind of bad. He tends to puff up a bit. We're nice to each other., but we have different opinions."

Asked how he thinks Joubert will react to his comments, Chan said we'll find out soon enough.

"I kinda dug myself a grave, huh? We'll see. If he's mad at me, he's mad at me. What are you going to do?"

The whole interview was witnessed by Canada's high performance director Michael Slipchuk, who unlike some Canadian figure skating people in the past, made no effort to get Chan out of there or step in and suggest he temper his comments.

"It's great," said Slipchuk, who skated with Kurt Browning and has been advocating allowing our skaters to express their personalities since the day he took the job.

"It's honest."


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