Canadian Patrick Chan will either retire after he tries for his fourth World Figure Skating title next week, or go all-in on a run for a third Olympics in 2018.
On Monday, he called the World Championships “a turning point” in his career but things looked “pretty good” about continuing through the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
“If I decide to go ahead and compete [next season], then I’m going for the next two years,” Chan said. “I’m not going to give up after next year because it’d be such a shame. … If I decide not to compete next season, and then I decide to pick it up just for the Olympic season, that would be completely ridiculous strategically. So this is going to be the deciding factor after this season, whether or not I keep going.”
Chan, 25 and the 2014 Olympic silver medalist, is a medal contender at the World Championships in Boston, but not the favorite.
He has been up and down this season, “starting over” after taking the 2014-15 season off from competition.
In the fall, Chan won Skate Canada over Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, then placed fifth in the Trophée Bompard short program before the free skate was canceled due to the Paris terror attacks.
He was last out of six skaters in December’s Grand Prix Final short program, then placed third in the free skate to finish fourth overall behind Hanyu, 2015 World champion Javier Fernandez and Japanese Shoma Uno.
Last month, Chan won the Four Continents Championship over a field that included Uno but not Hanyu or Fernandez. He scored a personal-best 203.99 points in the free skate, which was still 15.49 points shy of Hanyu’s record free skate from the Grand Prix Final.
“I’m at a disadvantage now, technically,” Chan said. “I’m competing against men who are doing five quads between the short program and the long program, and I’m at three between the two programs. Who would ever imagine that three wasn’t enough for some people?”
At Worlds next week, Chan will try to become the first man to win four World titles since Russian Alexei Yagudin in 2002. Chan previously won the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World titles.
“I’m healthy, I didn’t run into any major roadblocks this season, and I’ve kind of gotten back into the rhythm of things and what it’s like to compete again, and I enjoy it,” Chan said. “That I think is a good starting point for the next two years.”