Expectations are high for figure skater Patrick Chan at the 2014 Olympics.
The 23-year-old from Ottawa is a gold medal favourite in the men’s singles competition, and will also compete in Thursday’s team event.
Chan, who missed out on a medal at the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, has been preparing both mentally and physically for the Games. He arrived in Sochi early to give himself the benefit of practicing solo for the first few days.
“I trained and prepared myself to win a gold medal, but in order to get to that step, I have to first do what I have to on the ice and that’s skate and train every day to skate a flawless program,” he told Reuters.
And for the past couple weeks, Chan has been focusing on keeping a clear head before the high-pressure competition.
"That's what I've been working on the last two or three weeks leading up to these Games is not busying myself thinking, 'Am I training as hard as the other skaters? Am I a better skater?’” he said, according to the Canadian Press.
As Chan prepares to wow in Sochi, here are a few things to know about the gold medal hopeful.
1. He's The Reigning World Champion
Last year, Chan won his third consecutive world figure skating title. For the 2014 Olympics, <a href="http://www.torontosun.com/2014/02/04/canadian-skater-patrick-chan-prepared-to-win-gold-in-sochi" target="_blank">hopes are high he will break a so-called "curse" </a>and become the first male Canadian to take home a gold medal in figure skating. <em>Canadian skater Patrick Chan performs during the gala exhibition in the ISU figure skating Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, western Japan, on December 8, 2013. </em>
2. He Was Into Hockey, Eh?
Before Chan developed a love for figure skating, he originally wanted to play hockey. "<a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/chan-eyes-canada-39-1st-154031764--spt.html" target="_blank">There have been times that I've got mad at my mom for not putting me into hockey</a>," he told the Associated Press. "But my mom wanted me to keep my teeth, so that's one bonus.” <em>Canada's Patrick Chan attends a press conference on February 4, 2014 in Sochi before the start of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. </em>
3. Browning's A Big Fan
Canadian figure skating champion Kurt Browning has<a href="http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/FigureSkating/2011/12/20/19150156.html" target="_blank"> called Chan the best male figure skater he’s ever seen</a>. <em>Patrick Chan of Canada practices his routine during Figure Skating training ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 3, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. </em>
4. He Got Advice From Sid The Kid
During the 2010 Winter Olympics, <a href="http://www.torontosun.com/2013/10/16/patrick-chan-gets-valuable-olympic-advice-from-sid-the-kid" target="_blank">a nervous Chan received some advice from Canadian hockey star Sidney Crosby</a>, who scored the gold medal-winning goal at that year’s Games. On the way to the rink, <a href="http://www.thestar.com/sports/skating/2013/10/15/figure_skating_patrick_chan_puts_pressure_in_perspective_thanks_to_sidney_crosbys_advice.html" target="_blank">Chan’s trainer phoned Crosby, and the two had a chat about how to handle the pressure of competing</a>. “We talked about expectations and at the end of the day, he told me, ‘Yeah, the Canadian hockey team has the most pressure out of all the events,’” Chan said. “The way he put it in perspective was that we train every day and we train every day to kind of build an automatic pilot, and in order to initiate that automatic pilot when you’re playing, you have to put it in perspective.” <em>Patrick Chan of Canada performs during the figure skating event at the 2013 Eric Bompard trophy on November 16, 2013 at the Bercy Palais-Omnisport (POPB) in Paris.</em>
5. He's No Stranger To Controversy
Chan, who is of Chinese descent, caused a stir in 2011 when he <a href="http://www.thestar.com/sports/2011/12/08/patrick_chan_says_hes_feeling_unappreciated_in_canada.html" target="_blank">said in an interview he felt under-appreciated as a figure skater in Canada</a>, and that “things would have been very different” had he skated for China. He later apologized, <a href="http://www.thestar.com/sports/2011/12/08/patrick_chan_proud_hes_branded_a_canadian_for_life.html" target="_blank">saying his answers during the interview were “emotional” and imprecise</a>. <em>Patrick Chan skates in the Senior Men Free Program during the 2014 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships at Canadian Tire Centre on January 11, 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. </em>
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