SPORTS

Canada's Patrick Chan to skip figure skating season, plans to return next year

09/30/2014 11:26 EDT | Updated 11/30/2014 05:59 EST
OTTAWA - Three-time world champion Patrick Chan plans to skip the upcoming figure skating season and return to the competitive circuit for the 2015-16 campaign.

Chan, who took a break from training over the spring and summer while he pondered his future plans, will take part in invitational events and exhibition programs over the coming months.

"My goal is to return to a full competitive schedule after this year," said Chan. "I am proud of my accomplishments in Sochi and my world championship titles, but I do feel that there is still more that I can achieve. I will return to competition having learned new ways of training and preparing from this year off."

Chan, 23, had a glorious opportunity to become Canada's first Olympic men's figure skating champion last February in Sochi, but struggled in his free skate and settled for silver behind Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu. He also helped Canada win silver in the inaugural team event.

Chan did not try to win a fourth straight world title earlier this year. He skipped the event in Japan and Hanyu took gold there as well.

The seven-time Canadian men's champion will continue to work with Kathy Johnson from his training base in Detroit. Although eligible, he has declined Sport Canada and Own the Podium funding, allowing other athletes to benefit from the financial assistance.

The Toronto skater has been working on a new free program, choreographed by David Wilson to a Chopin medley. The program will be revealed this week when Chan skates with the North American team at this week's Japan Open invitational event in Saitama.

"This program uses very contemporary movements in my skating," Chan said. "I'm taking the time to enjoy building out the program and working on the flow of the artistry. And I'm experimenting with different things in my training cycle, without feeling that same intensity to do full run-throughs of each program every day that I felt building to the Olympics."

Chan hopes that taking a year away from competition will help him when he returns in 2015.

"I'm learning how to accomplish the same results from a more relaxed, less intense training regimen that I feel will help me going forward next year," he said.

Chan is also slated to perform exhibition programs with Stars on Ice and is planning to participate in other activities including An Evening with Scott Hamilton & Friends Ice Show & Gala in Cleveland and Skatemania in Quebec City.

MORE:cpSports