Patrick Chan hopes to open skating school in Vancouver

Three-time world champion moves on ‘with a huge smile’

Patrick Chan at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (The Canadian Press)

In Patrick Chan’s perfect future, he’s running a skating school in Vancouver with girlfriend Liz Putnam, the two are living in a million-dollar apartment in the city’s lovely Kitsilano neighbourhood, and he’s enjoying a wildly successful career in commercial real estate.

It’s been two months since Chan took one final spin around the competitive rink, but the three-time world champion has barely paused to reflect. He’s loving looking forward.

“I’m just running around town doing what I want to do, and moving on with a huge smile on my face. I feel good and light,” Chan said, ahead of Monday’s retirement announcement.

“I had three or four things lined up that I wanted to just learn about, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m meeting people and picking their brain and understanding what life is like. I don’t think I had any sense of that when I was in the competitive world. It’s awesome. I’m just a sponge again. I’m just absorbing and learning.”

READ MORE: Fans greet returning Olympians in Vancouver

READ MORE: Canada brings home first gold in figure skating team event in Pyeongchang

The 27-year-old from Toronto, who sat out a season after the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was ninth in men’s singles at the Pyeongchang Olympics. But his terrific long program in the team event all but guaranteed Canada gold before dance duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir even stepped on the ice.

If he’d had any doubts about the comeback, that golden moment erased them.

“It would have been easy to be complacent and say ‘I don’t care, I’m just here to support the team and be a part of it,’ and I could’ve fallen back and said ‘I’ll let Tessa and Scott help me through this.’ I knew that this was my chance to shine and chance to prove I still had something to give.

“When I sat in that kiss-and-cry with my two different coaches right next to me smiling and having the entire team behind me as well, and having them all react to me winning … gosh that was a better feeling I think than winning individual gold. It’s a huge rush to see all these people that are genuinely smiling, and genuinely cheering, and they’re ecstatic, that’s so cool. To be able to say ‘I did it, we did it,’ that’s a very very special feeling.”

Chan had planned his retirement announcement for Sunday at Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan, Ont. Chan launched his ice wine “On Ice” in partnership with Flat Rock in 2015. But the weekend’s ice storm forced a rescheduling to Monday in Toronto.

The 10-time Canadian champion considered retiring after his heartbreaking silver-medal performance at the 2014 Sochi Games. And while his return wasn’t what he’d envisioned, he’s glad he came back.

“It wouldn’t have been fair to end after 2014, because I didn’t really have a good understanding of who I was and what my aspirations were and what I wanted from the sport. It just didn’t feel fulfilling, skating didn’t fulfil me completely.

“Now I basically have three highlights to my life: doing shows (like Stars on Ice), getting familiar with the commercial real estate world, which has been a lot of fun, and finally the third dream would be to have the skating rink going and building a skating program,” Chan said.

“I say to myself ‘Let’s see how everything unfolds one thing at a time … That’s a reason why this time around just feels right. It wouldn’t have felt right after Sochi.”

If there are any regrets, it’s that he played his cards too early before Sochi. Chan dominated men’s skating for three years before those Olympics, and when Chan added two quadruple jumps, the rest of the world followed suit, and eventually took the quad brigade a step further. American Nathan Chen does six quads in his long program.

“I hate going backwards, but if there is one regret … I would have been more strategic about adding the quads to the program, and built it one step at a time,” Chan said.

Chan will be known for his strength and speed on the ice, but also for artistry and exquisite skating skills that he hopes didn’t single him out as a dying breed in the sport.

“At the end of the day, the foundation of it all is the joy of skating and the glide and the power, that’s what’s amazing,” Chan said. ”I think eventually quads will all look the same, they’ll all look like triples. But the one thing that can differentiate a skater and create excitement in the sport is what skaters can bring to the table when it comes to interpretation and how they can match the beautiful glide of skating to music and to a performance.

“I want to play a part in making sure people don’t forget how important that aspect is.”

To that end, Chan and his girlfriend, a skating coach and former pairs skater, envision opening a skating school much like the Cricket Club in Toronto, and have already started laying the groundwork.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Playground reopens at Vernon’s Polson Park

No more standing water, park reopens just in time for summer’s end

Vernon man brews up award-winning flavours in Golden

Kenton (Kent) Donaldson is co-founder of Whitetooth Brewing Company Ltd. in Golden

New group home for Vernon

Howard House to be replaced by new development

Stolen vehicle recovered from site of Vernon manhunt for wanted man

Police return to Brooks Lane in response to reports of suspicious vehicle

Vernon talent airs for Top of the Country

Raquel Cole semi-finalist in SiriusXM contest with Canadian Country Music Association

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Truck, Shuswap police vehicle collide during arrest of wanted man

Emergency response team and helicopter called out to assist in Chase area arrest

Shuswap search and rescue crew respond to dirt biker injured on Mount Ida

North Vancouver man transported to hospital for treatment of injuries

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Popular South Okanagan cafe shuts its doors

Saint Germaine Cafe and Gallery served its last latte Sept. 19

Kelowna woman to run from Vernon to Penticton for mental health awareness

Melissa Gosse’s 100-kilometre ultramarathon will raise funds for Canadian Mental Health Association

Film that explores themes of missing Indigenous women to screen in Kelowna

Rustic Oracle is the story of a missing teenage Indigenous girl, told through the eyes of her seven-year-old sister

Most Read