Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan suggested a limit on quadruple jumps would benefit figure skaters due to injury risk.
“Maybe they [the International Skating Union] need to limit the amount of quads you can do in the long program,” Chan said, according to Reuters. “But I don’t think that will happen until somebody actually does get hurt.”
Chan, a 26-year-old who won three straight world titles from 2011-13, has voiced concern over the proliferation of four-revolution jumps since his comeback in 2015.
“It’s like the slam-dunk contest, that’s what it’s becoming,” Chan said after winning his eighth Canadian title in January, according to the Canadian Press. “I will be dead honest, I think with my experience and credibility at this point, I can say already with the men doing three quads, the quality of skating is diminished.”
Chan finished fifth at each of the last two world championships, beaten by skaters with more quads.
This year, he performed three quadruple jumps in his free skate for the first time at worlds. But it wasn’t enough to land on the podium despite Chan having the second-highest artistic marks in both the short program and free skate.
The world medalists — Yuzuru Hanyu, Shoma Uno and Jin Boyang — each performed one more quad jump than Chan in the short program and in the free skate. American Nathan Chen attempted a record six quads in the free, falling twice and finishing sixth overall.
Hanyu, who took gold over Chan at the Sochi Olympics, is 22 years old, four years younger than Chan. Uno and Jin are each 19. Chen is 17.
“I’m going to stick to what I can do … because if I try and … do the impossible, I will either get too frustrated to the point where I won’t enjoy the sport anymore or I will get hurt and maybe have to get hip replacements at age 30,” Chan said, according to Reuters. “The advantage of a 17-year-old like Nathan and Shoma … [is that] there is a bit of disconnect between the toll their bodies are physically going through and the connection to the brain where it’s sending the pain.”
The judging system in place since 2004 rewards more quad attempts as skaters seek to accumulate points.
“The judging system is along for the ride as opposed to leading us to add more quads,” Chan said, according to Reuters. “The men’s field have taken it and morphed it to their strengths.”
Chan has felt like an underdog throughout his comeback. At this time four years ago, he held the world-record total score of 280.98 points. Now, that score ranks No. 33 all time. Five men have broken 300 points. Chan is not one of them.
“I have to remind myself of the little victories along the way,” Chan said at the world championships, noting he’s one of few skaters who have endured through three Olympic cycles. “That’s the only way I can hang with these guys.”
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