October 27, 2011
World champ Chan has lofty goals
By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency
MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - A long time ago, Ted Williams famously was asked why he spent so much of his time working on hitting a baseball.
"All I want out of life," the Boston Red Sox legend replied, "is when I walk down the street, folks will say, 'There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived.'"
Patrick Chan, figure skating's modern-day Splendid Splinter, has a similar goal.
"What motivates me now," Chan said in the preamble to Skate Canada International, which starts Friday at the Hershey Centre, "is I want to change figure skating. You can walk down the street and ask anyone, 'Do you know figure skating' and they'll say, 'I know Kurt Browning.' "That's what I want. Kurt did that when I was growing up and when I'm done, I want people to feel that way about me."
At 20-years-old, he's thinking about his place in history.
The Toronto native won the world title last season in Moscow and put his name in the Guinness Book of World Records for a new scoring system triple crown: most short program points (93.02), long program (187.96) and combined total (280.98).
But inflating those gaudy numbers provides only fleeting fame.
"You're trying to improve and of course, you want another world championship," he said. "The (Boston) Bruins want to defend the Stanley Cup."
But he also wants to joust with the legends.
Chan desires another matchup with 2010 Olympic golden boy Evan Lysacek, who is back in the competitive picture. He welcomes a tete-a-tete against Evgeni Plushenko on the Russian hero's home ice at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
"I was really disappointed when Evan didn't go to worlds (and dropped out of the Grand Prix circuit two weeks ago)," Chan said, "and Evgeni, I grew up respecting him as a skater. I watched videos of his quad (jumps). You want to compete against those skaters.
"No disrespect to the skaters out here now, they are very good, but you want one competition with everyone in it. It's been two years."
Skate Canada will hold the 2013 worlds at the 9,000-seat John Labatt Centre in London, Ont. They are asking $1,200 plus tax for the top week-long ticket packages.
If they get Chan vs. Plushenko, Lysacek, or both, that price tag won't feel quite as steep.
"Like the great heavyweights or lightweights (in boxing)," Chan said. "That's what the fans want to see. That's what we want as skaters. To be the best, you want to beat everyone."
When the goal is to become a skating god, there is no jostling with mere mortals.
Chan has ascended to the mountain top. He has the jumps and the fancy feet. His focus has been on putting more emotion, displaying the love of his craft, into his performances.
He rates himself as more mature, more confident and a better person than during his troublesome pre-Olympic season and fifth-place finish in Vancouver.
"I was running around like a puppy," he said. "I felt like I had kind of lost who I was as a person and had to get that back. The change in me happened after the closing ceremonies. As soon as it was over, that's when I started to plan and work at what I had to do to achieve what I wanted.
"You always hear that the Olympics teaches you life lessons -- people say that all the time -- and I believe that's the case, whether or not you leave there with a medal."
A sport's greats transcend numbers, points, even medals.
Chan has the goods to enter the skating Pantheon. Now, all he needs is a key.