LONDON, Ont. — Patrick Chan has been preparing for the Olympics at altitude. And his recent training in the thin air of Colorado Springs has included quad jumps.
But that doesn’t mean the young Toronto figure skater plans to use one next month in Vancouver. He doesn’t think it’s necessary.
“No, because I have my artistic capability to fall back on and I can trust Lori (choreographer Lori Nichol) with that, and she’s really great at doing great programs,” Chan said Thursday at the Canadian figure skating championships. “So I can have that little cushion and I don’t think it’s super-necessary.”
Nichol echoed her pupil’s comments, allowing they’ll “re-assess it after this.”
It used to be that figure skaters without a quad were outgunned. But a revamping of the scoring has changed things. Still Chan is adding to his arsenal.
“I was working on it almost every day in Colorado . . . but I’m probably not going to do it here because I started landing it too soon,” he said. “It was only the last week there I started doing it well.”
For Chan, inserting a quad would suddenly change his skating landscape.
“Popping the quad, or falling on the quad, it’s then you have to start thinking, ‘OK, this means I can change this triple,’ It’s a lot of thinking while you’re doing the program. Whereas a program with two triple Axels only, you can take the time to think of each jump one at a time. You don’t have to think about, ’how do I make up for the quad I popped, or I fell?”’
Chan said working at altitude left him feeling stronger than ever at practices of his long program here. His long program includes two solid triple Axels he has honed.
“Right away when I started working on Dartfish (a video software program that helps analyze movement), we found a lot of my original technique working on the triple Axel was not that good,” he explained.
“I would slouch a lot prior to taking off. That was the big key to fixing it and it’s been fixed. My consistency has skyrocketed since that.”
“Until I can really do a good long program with two triple Axels consistently clean, then we’ll talk about putting (the quad) in the program,” he added.
“Training both, I have the ability to see the differences between the two, the program with the quad and the program without. The difference is huge. And stamina-wise, it’s much different as well. It’s a big choice to make.”
Chan has had some other ups and downs recently. The two-time defending Canadian senior men’s champ suffered a calf injury, then was dropped by coach Don Laws of Florida, who cited distance between the two as the main factor.
Chan doesn’t seemed fazed, saying his relationship with Nichol and technical adviser Christy Krall is ideal.
“Lori and I are more like friends, she’s almost like a skating mother,” said Chan, who will return to school at York University to study economics next year. “We laugh — she keeps things light.”