Patrick Chan‘s Olympic debut as a teenager in 2010 included typical nerves and an out-of-the ordinary conversation with the Canadian under the most pressure at the Vancouver Games.
Chan, then 19, was en route to the rink with trainer Andy O’Brien, who also works with Sidney Crosby.
Let the Canadian Press pick it up from there:
“I told Andy I was nervous — who wouldn’t be? — I was really nervous about the event. Andy was like, ‘Oh, I’ll call Sid,’” said Chan, who opens his season next week at Skate Canada International.
“We talked about expectations and at the end of the day, he told me, ‘Yeah, the Canadian hockey team has the most pressure out of all the events.’ The way he put it in perspective was that we train every day and we train every day to kind of build an automatic pilot, and in order to initiate that automatic pilot when you’re playing, you have to put it in perspective.
“For example, my mentality is that this isn’t the end of the world, people will support me because they want me to win, and they want the best for me and they want a medal for Canada, and I accept that. But then I have to be selfish in a way and realize I’m doing it for myself and that was the mistake I made in Vancouver. I wanted to win the medal for Canada, and I looked at it as a big picture instead of narrowing it down to me wanting to be there, and me wanting to compete and excited to compete, and eager to win a medal.”
Chan entered the 2010 Olympics as the reigning world silver medalist with overwhelming pressure — to become Canada’s first Olympic men’s figure skating champion after years of just misses and the first teenager to win the event in 62 years.
His medal hopes were dashed via a seventh-place finish in the short program. He rebounded with the fourth-best free skate, a personal-best score, to finish fifth overall.
Ten days later, Crosby scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Canada beat the U.S. for hockey gold on the final day of the Olympics.
The phone call is not the first time Chan and Crosby have been linked.
A chiropractor also compared the two.
“I found Sidney Crosby’s Asian brother,” Mark Lindsay reportedly said, according to the Toronto Star, after first working on Chan.
“One of the things that’s really unique is they’ve got really good tissue,” O’Brien told the newspaper. “They have the ability to be very muscular but very flexible.”
Despite the pressure, Chan was not the favorite going into the Vancouver Olympics. 2009 world champion Evan Lysacek and 2006 Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko battled for gold, as expected.
But this time, Chan enters as the three-time reigning world champion (though his most recent title was heavily disputed).
“Vancouver was a pressure because it was a thought of winning a gold medal at home.” Chan told reporters in a conference call previewing Skate Canada next week. “I put that pressure on myself, like, ‘Oh my god, the dream of all dreams would be to win an Olympic gold medal in your home country and hearing your anthem in Canada.’
“Sochi is different. … Coming in as three-time world champion, you put expectations on yourself, there’s a lot of talk. ‘Is this the year that he’s not going to put it together, and he’s going to be dethroned?’ I think I have many more tools going into Sochi to overcome those pressures.”