12/08/2011 12:05 EST | Updated 02/06/2012 05:12 EST

Patrick Chan Feels More Chinese, Canadian Figure Skating Champ Feels Unappreciated


Canadian figure skating star Patrick Chan says he feels unappreciated in his home country and is becoming increasingly drawn to his Chinese heritage.

In an phone interview with Reuters prior to the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City, the world champion said the Chinese government is proud of its figure skaters, while the sport is overshadowed by hockey's popularity in Canada.

"Sometimes I feel we are not appreciated for how much work we put in," Chan said. "If my parents hadn't emigrated from China and say I had skated for China, things would have been very different. My parents wouldn't have had to make as much sacrifices as they have and there would be a lot more respect for what we do as figure skaters."

Chan said he has started to feel more Chinese because of the support he gets from the Chinese community in Canada. He said he would have liked to represent both China and Canada in competition.

"That would be the ideal situation ... in a perfect world," he said.

Skate Canada did not immediately respond to an email from The Canadian Press seeking comment.