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.

Just Posted

Saik’uz resident urges other indigenous students to apply for award

Irving K Barber scholarship deadline is March 31st

Photos: Ice show by Nechako Figure Skating Club

Day packed with performances from soloists and star teams

Photos: Dear Edwina Jr. at McLeod Elementary

Energizing and captivating performance by students of the school

Community Futures in Vanderhoof aim to boost entrepreneurial spirit through pilot project

Ideas to Market based on collaboration says general manager

Move natural gas pipeline, MP suggests

Coastal GasLink could then avoid opposition

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Most Read