I could talk about how Yuzu practically gave Patrick the Olympic title and he didn’t take it. I could talk about Patrick’s outspoken comments that have got him into trouble in the past. I could talk about Patrick’s lack of a technical coach. I could talk about CHANflation. I could talk about him winning repeatedly with multiple falls. But really, what’s the point? Patrick Chan is one of the greatest skaters we’ve ever seen. What happened yesterday doesn’t change that.
The Olympics doesn’t make or break you as an athlete. What happens here doesn’t erase the various accomplishments of the past, doesn’t diminish or eliminate. It’s one competition, one competition that holds so much pressure.
Patrick Chan is one of the greats. That wasn’t decided here in Sochi. Anyone who knows figure skating has known this for a while now. The Olympics didn’t change that.
I would never say Evan Lysacek is one of the greats, even though he has Olympic gold. Evgeni Plushenko would definitely be one of the greats (but seriously, 4 Olympics!), I’d also include Alexei Yagudin on that list. But beyond the Olympics Alexei won 4 world titles. Does this Olympic title make Yuzuru Hanyu one of the greats, no – but he definitely has the potential to get there.
I don’t think anyone would argue Kurt Browning deserves a place on this list. Kurt didn’t win an Olympic medal, let alone an Olympic title. Yet he is remembered today for so much. Kurt Browning is a Canadian hero, so many accomplishments, and such a legacy. You can bring so much more to a sport than Olympic gold.
No Patrick isn’t joining a group with Lysacek, Plushenko, Yagudin, Kulik, and Boitano, he’s joining Orser, Browning, Stojko and Buttle as World Champions without an Olympic title. And frankly, I think the second group would be more fun.
Patrick burst onto the scene in 2008 with amazing basics. I remember the little Asian who beat Jeff Buttle at Nationals. Technically he wasn’t anything spectacular but he had a natural ease and strength to his skating that made people take notice. He was young and raw but his edges and footwork and transitions were already world class.
I remember my cousin texting me from the 2009 4 Continents in Vancouver. Patrick Chan scored 88.90 in the SP and she knew that was good and wanted to know if it was the highest ever (I believe at the time it was). This was the start of the ‘PATRICK CHAN’ texts.
I went to Worlds in LA that year and I saw live for the first time how special Patrick was. He won his first World medal and even at this time Patrick’s edges and basics could not be beat. As a skater and a coach I can appreciate the difficulty in everything Patrick does and appreciate how easy and effortless he makes everything seem. The night of the Men’s FS I remember my cousin yelling ‘PATRICK CHAN’ out of the car window in downtown LA. I think this is a direct result of a Patrick Chan high.
Patrick struggled in Vancouver and then went on to win another World silver medal, and then things changed.
In the past Patrick had been criticized for his lack of quad. But Patrick’s comeback was that everything else he did was at such a high level and executed flawlessly that he didn’t need it. Yet when Patrick appeared at the start of the 2010/2011 season he had a quad. And boy was it gorgeous.
I went to Canadians that year in Victoria, and Patrick’s FS that week remains my favourite FS I’ve ever seen. And I was there live.
Never had I seen a FS with such flawless technical content. The jumps were huge and solid (two 4Ts for the first time) and the footwork went on for days. Yet beyond the amazing technical content Patrick’s skating sold it. I think his Phantom of the Opera FS is a masterpiece. The entire program was a footwork sequence. I can’t imagine any other man at this time could have skated this program. Patrick showed his haters and mastered the quad. He had pushed men’s skating both artistically and technically.
Patrick won Worlds this year and the next. There was not a single skater who could compete. There were technicians and there were artists, but no one could put them together and catch Patrick.
Around this time things began to change. A new crop of skaters emerged and they wanted to catch Patrick and the way to do that was to do what Patrick was doing. Suddenly we had guys landing multiple quads again. Suddenly guys were skating programs full of transitions. If one couldn’t catch Patrick artistically they added another quad or another 3A. Some of these guys started to out jump Patrick.
Patrick was no longer unbeatable. But when people doubted him he rallied. I went to 2013 Worlds in London and Patrick Chan’s SP remains one of my clearest memories of that week. My favourite SP I’ve ever seen live.
I remember the arena being silent during his skate. I remember the sound of his edges during his footwork. I remember jumping to my feet during the final spin. I remember my amazement as he broke the current World Record. This is the Patrick Chan I love.
Patrick’s jumps are amazing, his spins superior and his footwork exquisite. His skating skills are gorgeous, his transitions ridiculous, choreography brilliant, interpretation spot on and execution just flawless. A clean Patrick Chan, like we saw in France earlier this season would still be unbeatable
The Yuzuru Hanyu, Javier Fernandez, Denis Ten, Tatsuki Machida, Han Yan, Liam Firus we see today wouldn’t exist without Patrick Chan. I also don’t know if Jeremy Abbott and Daisuke Takahashi would still be trying quads today if it weren’t for Patrick Chan. Patrick pushed the sport to a new level, pushed it to a new extreme. The programs these men are doing today are so difficult and extremely exhausting to complete. I love the current face of men’s skating and I love the direction it’s headed. I’d like to thank Patrick Chan for that.
I don’t think Yuzuru Hanyu would be Olympic Champion right now if it wasn’t for Patrick. Yuzu acknowledges how having Patrick as a benchmark and the experience of falling short against him twice improved his skating. He credits competing against Patrick multiple times on the Grand Prix series this year as motivation and helping his mental strength. Back in October he stated he wanted to receive scores as high as Patrick’s.
Patrick dominated the sport past Vancouver 2010. He mastered the 4T when people doubted him. He pushed the sport technically. He pushed the sport artistically. For a couple years he was unbeatable. If figure skating were part of the London 2012 Olympics Patrick would be an Olympic champion. Unfortunately timing did not work in his favour. At the end of the day though Patrick Chan – 2-time Olympic silver medalist, 3-time World Champion and 7-time Canadian Champion is more than impressive. And beyond titles he brought so much more to the sport.
Someone like Patrick Chan does not come around every day. He’s a rarity in sport. I am so honoured to have been a figure skating fan during the past 7 years. I am so honoured to be a Canadian this week. We love you more than you know. Thank you Patrick Chan.