Chan the man finds early groove

Canadian skaters captured four medals this past weekend at Skate Canada International in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir along with Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje took the top two spots in the ice dance event while Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford added bronze in the pairs’ event. But Canada’s leading man was Patrick Chan as the three-time world champion captured his fourth Skate Canada title to earn our Athlete of the Week honours.

Chan started with a lead of more than seven points on the field after his short program, which was choreographed by 2008 world champion and 2006 Olympic bronze medallist Jeff Buttle.

He made the gap even larger after his free skate, which began with back-to-back quadruple toe loops, including one in combination with a triple toe loop. He earned the highest level of difficulty and near-perfect execution marks for his extraordinary step sequence. As has become expected, he received top marks for program components, which take into account skating skills, transitions, program composition and interpretation. In the end, Chan outscored second place finisher Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, the 2012 world bronze medallist, by a huge margin of 27.23 points.

Chan has chosen Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons for his free skate this season, returning to the music he used to win the first of his six Canadian titles in 2008. The new choreography combines some of his favourite elements to create a tribute to his former coach, the late Osborne Colson.

Next up for Chan will be Trophée Eric Bompard, the fifth of six events on the ISU Grand Prix, November 15-17 in Paris. Chan earned his first career Grand Prix victory at that event in the fall of 2007. Chan is aiming to be among the six qualifiers for the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan December 5-8. That will be followed by the Canadian championships, January 10-11 in Ottawa.

Chan is one of seven Canadian men to have won a total of 14 world championship gold medals but at Sochi 2014 is looking to be the first Canadian man to win Olympic gold.