SPORTS

Fresh off world title, Canada's Chan aims to elevate his game this season

09/08/2011 04:11 EDT | Updated 11/08/2011 05:12 EST
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Patrick Chan said he's lived his life in a constant state of movement, never satisfied with remaining in one spot, always studying his next move.

That's why a day after the Canadian figure skater was presented with three Guinness World Record certificates for obliterating the field at the world championships this past April, Chan was talking about elevating his game.

"My whole life has been go, go, go, going from one place to another, and if I don't feel like that it doesn't feel right for me," Chan said Thursday at the Canadian team's camp at the Hershey Centre. "It's all about opening different doors, trying something new, striving to do something different.

"If you do the same thing every year you get the same results, so a key for me is to push the boundaries and try something new."

The 20-year-old from Toronto has lofty goals that include outclassing the field every time he steps on the ice and one day retiring as one of skating's greats.

So just a year after adding a quadruple jump to his repertoire — a quad toe loop — he's been working on a quad Salchow this off-season, and hopes to add it to his program at the Canadian championships in January. That would give him three quads in his long program.

But that's just one element of his quest for perfection. He's also been working on his spins and footwork and interpretation of his music — to show the passion he has for the sport through his skating, he said.

"That's what he wants to do, absolutely," coach Christy Krall said on his grand plans. "I'm all on board, the sky's the limit, you're only as good as your goals are. He wants to do something very challenging and very difficult, otherwise I don't think he'd skate. He's not resting on his laurels, he wants to set a new standard for himself.

"The minute I think he becomes stale and he can't get himself to another level, he'll retire. He'll just turn on a dime and do something else," the coach added.

Chan set world records at the world championships in Moscow for his scores in the short program, the long program and his overall score of 280.98.

Setting the scoring bar at 300 points is a goal.

"If I hit 300, I can put the judging system on the 6.0 map, and somewhat put 300 as the perfect score, and make it easier for the audience to watch skating," Chan said. "That would be my long-term goal, to make it a bit easier for people to understand."

For all the success that Chan had last season, the field was missing Olympic champion Evan Lysacek of the U.S. and Russian star Evgeny Plushenko. Lysacek won gold at the Vancouver Games without attempting a quad, and Chan can't wait to lace up his skates against the American for the first time since he mastered the jump.

"We're males, we're testosterone-driven, we always want to show off, so it's very much a motivational factor," Chan said.

"It's very exciting, because since the Olympics I've been trying to do better, show how much I've changed. I want to show Evan how much the sport has changed. If you look at the Olympic Games, only two or three out of top five did quads, and at worlds, it was all the top five. So things are changing."

Chan and Lysacek will compete head-to-head at Skate Canada International, Oct. 27-30 in Mississauga, Ont.

Lysacek has also been working on his quad in the off-season.

"He posted it on Twitter," Chan said. "I heard, so I checked it out, and it's pretty good. But you have to do it in competition."

Chan has only been back training seriously for a couple of weeks since a summer spent travelling and doing shows in Asia, and the rust showed Thursday. He fell numerous times, one time sliding hard into the boards with a loud bang. He insisted he likes falling, calling it "enjoyable."

"I like to be able to get up and laugh it off," he said.

Canada's skaters at the two-day high performance camp said scheduling training sessions this summer has been tricky in what's been a shortened off-season. Last season was expanded by several weeks after the world championships were postponed and eventually moved to Moscow after the earthquake and tsunami in Tokyo.

Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were just getting going in Moscow, in what was their first and only full competition of the season. The two missed the Grand Prix season and the Canadian championships as Virtue recovered from surgery on her legs last fall.

"I'm feeling great, really strong," said Virtue. "I can't wait to compete a whole season. We were mapping out our calendar year and there's hopefully eight or nine events, and that's so exciting. We'll really be able to peak at the world championships."

The 22-year-old Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, 24, from Ilderton, Ont., aim to reclaim the world title they lost last season to American training partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

"We want our world title back that we were close to last year. We want to win every competition we go in this year. We want to have a good strong year and enjoy ourselves," Moir said.

The two will unveil a new free dance program to music from the movie "Funny Face" starring Audrey Hepburn — a favourite of Virtue's — and Fred Astaire.

"We think we're Audrey and Fred, so you guys will have to let us know if we do a good job or not," Moir said.

"It's got a Broadway-ish feel to it, it's a little bit showy, it's definitely very dancey, it's uplifting, it's fun," added Virtue.

Virtue and Moir will also make their season debut at Skate Canada International.

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