KITCHENER — Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan believes that you’re not a fraud without the quad.
At the opening HomeSense Skate Canada International media conference Thursday, Chan said that, yes, he is practicing the elusive quad, but isn’t sure he’ll try one at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
But the Toronto native firmly believes that he can still win the gold without one.
“My injury has made me aware of how unimportant really the quad is,” said Chan, who missed the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow a few weeks ago because of a muscle tear in his left calf.
Chan, who did not need a quad to win a silver medal at the 2009 world championships, said that, with the new scoring system, a clean, high-quality skate is his priority heading into the Vancouver Games and that “hands down” the Olympic gold is possible without a four revolution jump.
“I think it’s more important to see a good quality program with very good landings, very good spins, very good footwork, than a program that’s sort of okay and has a beautiful quad, and the rest of the program is in pieces,” the 18-year-old said. “A lot of the guys who did quads last year like Nobunari Oda and Evan Lysacek aren’t doing it right now. So, easily, you can win without a quad.”
Chan missed two weeks of training earlier this fall because of the calf tear, but said his training is back on track and that he is practicing the quad, though he won’t try it this weekend at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
“I will continue to work on it,” he said. “I will not slack off and not decide to screw the quad. I will do it as well as my body can keep up. But, right now, I can’t really tell you yes or no (that it will be in Vancouver).”
As for the Olympics, Chan believes that upwards of six men can win the gold, including himself, and Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko, the defending Olympic champion, who won the Rostelecom Cup in Chan’s absence, finishing his freeskate by pounding his chest and holding one finger in the air, as if to signify that he is still No.1.
“This is why the Vancouver Olympics is so exciting and why we’re pushing each other more and more, because we know that everyone’s capable,” said Chan, who will unveil his new Phantom of the Opera freeskate program at Skate Canada.
Chan believes his injury, brought on by a bout of the flu (possibly the swine variety) was, in some ways, a blessing in disguise, as it matched him up with some excellent medical personnel, including Sidney Crosby’s trainer Andy O’Brien, and soft tissue specialist Mark Lindsay.
And though he won’t attempt a quad here, Chan is certainly hoping for a solid program this weekend as it’s his only Grand Prix of the season and it’s important to show the judges that he has a top-quality program.
“That was a great concern when it was decided to pull out of Russia. It was ‘Oh my God, what are the judges going to think? Is this going to affect the Olympics?’ But then I thought, forget it.
It’s not going to — as long as I go out with a bang in my first Grand Prix and just show what I’ve got artistically,” he said.