Quad clash: Chan fires back at Elvis
By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency
Patrick Chan says he is 'shocked' at comments made by former world champ Elvis Stojko, who believes without attempting a quad, a skater should not be able to win major championships. (MARTIN CHEVALIER/QMI Agency)
VANCOUVER — Patrick Chan has a message for a bitter and disturbed Elvis Stojko.
Get over it.
Following the men’s freeskate program Thursday night, which saw American star Evan Lysacek defeat defending Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia, Stojko — the former three-time world champion — slammed the judges and the new scoring system, which is allowing skaters who don’t attempt quads to defeat skaters who do, as was the case with Lysacek and Plushenko.
“I am going to watch hockey, where athletes are allowed to push the envelope. A real sport,” said Richmond Hill’s Stojko, the first man ever to land quad-double and triple-jump combinations. “Figure skating gets no respect because of outcomes like this. More feathers, head-flinging and so-called step sequences done at walking speed — that’s what the system wants.
“The International Skating Union has taken the risk out of figure skating and it makes me sick.” added Stojko, who also criticized the judging for placing Chan fifth, even though the Toronto skater fell once and did not attempt a quad either in his freeskate.
For his part, Chan played the part of a skating Switzerland Friday, suggesting Stojko has to get over the fact that skating has moved past the days where the quads ruled. Chan said that skaters such as himself and Lysacek aRE actually pushing the envelope in skating with other elements, such as superior spins and footwork.
“I’m really shocked,” said Chan, when told of Stojko’s comments. “I don’t know why everyone is picking on Evan. He is a really nice person and hard worker and he did two great programs and he’s a phenomenal skater.
“Elvis is a good friend of mine and he might be frustrated because his generation was a lot about jumping and the focus was on the quad. That was the excitement in those days.”
Plushenko’s coach Alexei Mishin was also enraged with Lysacek winning the gold, calling the scoring “criminal” while adding that the new system is “killing figure skating.”
“Any judge who thinks this is the right champion is a cyclops,” Mishin told Yahoo! Sports. “Without the quad, there is no difference between the men’s competition and the women’s. Why not let them skate together? Why not have it as a unisex competition in the Olympics?”
For Chan, the heated debate about the quad and new scoring system left him looking like a deer caught in the headlights on Friday.
“I’m kind of a neutral guy and I just want to bring both sides together,” he said. “I find big importance in jumps and quads, that’s why I continue to work on it. I was working on it up until a week before I got here. But you also have to work on the artistry side of it. The key is to blend them together.”
Chan, 19, said he has learned a lot from his first Olympics in Vancouver and is already looking forward to the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where undoubtedly he’ll be one of the favorites. He hinted on Friday that he may have a quad ready for next season’s competition, but insisted that it will never be the be-all and end-all of his programs.
“As figure skaters, what we love to do is skate, and not only jump,” he said. “The judges love to see my skating. Anyone can do a quad, but no one else can skate the way I skate. I skate uniquely and I skate with passion and love, so that’s my main focus. It’s just as challenging doing a program without a quad.”