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Q&A with Patrick Chan Fan “Happylife”

Patrick Chan fan Happylife hugs and poses with a happy Patrick at a restaurant, May 2012. (Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)
Happylife with Patrick at a fundraising dinner, May 2012. (Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Happylife, a longtime fan who met Patrick at several events including competitions, shows, and fundraising dinners. She was very generous to discuss her experiences and share her personal photos with us. Happylife emphasized that it was Patrick’s personality that impressed her, and not just his skating skills.

How long have you been a fan of Patrick? When did you first notice him and become his fan? What qualities about him stood out to you?
I would like people to know more about Patrick’s true personality. He is not perfect but he is honest, caring, thoughtful, intelligent…
Patrick’s name was mentioned to me by a friend who predicted he would become a big star in figure skating. I started watching his skating on YouTube and paid attention to his news a few months before he claimed his fourth national championship and later his first world championship in 2011. [When] I saw his interviews on television, he always had a big smile on his happy, cute face, and those qualities of his personality stood out to me – NOT his skating skills. Back then, I didn’t know much about figure skating, but I became a huge fan of Patrick.

Patrick Chan fan Happylife getting his autograph at a fundraising dinner, May 2012. He is smiling in the photo.
Happylife and Patrick at a fundraising dinner autograph session, May 2012.
(Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)
How many times have you met Patrick in person? Do you travel a lot to see him? What was your impression of him? Are you someone he would recognize as a regular fan?

Timeline and list of events [where] I have met Patrick in person:

May 2012:
1. Youth Rally in the afternoon.
2. Fundraising dinner in the evening.

May 2013: Stars on Ice

January 2014: Canadian National Championships
We had all-event ticket packages. We attended his practice sessions, competition, victory ceremony and gala exhibition. I didn’t want to disturb him at that time because he needed to stay focused for the competition.

May 2014: Stars on Ice Meet and Greet
I took pictures, [got an] autograph and had a short conversation with him (so many fans were there, I didn’t want to hold up the line).

Patrick Chan fan Happylife getting his autograph at a fundraising dinner, May 2012
Patrick signs Happylife’s program book at a fundraising dinner, May 2012.
(Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)

May 2015: Stars on Ice Pre-show
Patrick always gave me a good impression. I think he could recognize me as his regular fan, but ONLY in my city. This is based on my experience at the Stars on Ice pre-show. On that day, he was practicing close to the boards of the rink while we were walking down the stairs. Patrick spotted us [and] waved with a big smile on his face (I was very surprised and impressed).

He was escorted by a security guard to a group of children and spent some time with them before us. We took pictures and had a small chat with him. It’s always exciting every time I have a chance to meet Patrick.

May 2016: Stars on Ice
This was the last time I saw him in person. I plan to attend the 2017 Canadian national championships in Ottawa. Hopefully, I [can] make it.

Patrick Chan fan Happylife at Patrick's autograph table, May 2012.
Happylife at Patrick’s table during a fundraising dinner, May 2012. (Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)
Did you get to meet Patrick’s family or other members of his staff or team?

I met Patrick’s mom at the fundraising dinner. She is a very nice and down-to-earth lady. She kept calling Patrick, “Patrick 仔” in our small group conversation.

“Patrick 仔”, how sweet and endearing! I don’t think anyone had known this before, but I think it is very cute.

Viv’s Note: “仔” means “son”, “child”, “kid”, or “young person” in Cantonese. (Hear how it’s pronounced.)

You attended an event where Patrick gave a speech. What do you think of his public speaking skills?

In my opinion, I think Patrick needs to improve his speaking skills. As an elite athlete, he should show more positive aspects and positive thinking when facing [the] public. I remember Patrick gave two speeches to his fans in May 2012 [where] he mentioned a few times his disappointment with the Olympics in Vancouver. I know that was hard for him at that time but he should take it as an experience and a good chance to learn, but not take it as a failure.

Patrick Chan fan Happylife at his youth rally and speech event at University of Winnipeg, May 2012.
Happylife at Patrick’s Youth Rally at University of Winnipeg, May 2012.
(Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)
[The] media is always looking for drama, [so] Patrick shouldn’t give out too much information when dealing with reporters. I think you would know what I mean.

What is it like to see Patrick skate in person vs. watching him on TV? What do you think about his skating now, compared to when you first knew him? What are your thoughts on his future?

Patrick has speed and he is powerful on ice. People have to watch him skate in person to appreciate his skating. His skating is so smooth at the present time. He has improved a lot on his arm movements and stayed up on his feet most of the time since his comeback.

Patrick Chan fan Happylife (bottom of image) during standing ovation for Patrick at the national championships in Ottawa, January 2014.
Happylife (bottom of image) during a standing ovation for Patrick at the national championships in Ottawa,
January 2014. (Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)

Patrick has been on top of the podium for so long and he has done so much for this sport. He should set a goal and make it happen if he decides to compete until the 2018 Olympics. I hope that he will capture the Olympic Gold Medal (OGM) to fulfill his dream and to complete his medal collections. Patrick well-deserves the OGM.

No matter what happens in the future, I truly wish Patrick to always be healthy and happy, [and the] best of luck for 2018 (luck was what he missed in 2014).

Patrick Chan fan Happylife with Patrick at a Stars on Ice pre-show event, May 2014.
Happylife with Patrick at a Stars on Ice pre-show event, May 2014.
(Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)
Is there anything you would really like people to know about Patrick?

I would like people to know more about Patrick’s true personality. He is not perfect but he is honest, caring, thoughtful, intelligent… Those negative comments that some people [make about] him are not fair to Patrick.

I have to tell you more about Patrick’s personality. When we were taking pictures at the fundraising dinner, I stood beside him and there were quite a few cameras in front of us. Patrick politely and quietly told me which camera I should look at first. I knew he had a hectic and busy schedule that day, [and] he must have been very tired but [he was] still able to care [about the] people around him.

Patrick Chan fan Happylife and her sister-in-law with Patrick at Stars on Ice, May 2015.
Happylife and her sister-in-law with Patrick at Stars on Ice, May 2015.
(Photo © Happylife. Used with permission.)
Has Patrick changed much since you first met him?”

I’m not sure how much [has] changed in the past few years. His mom took care of everything and stayed with him when he was training in the U.S., and now he is on his own. For sure he is much more mature.

He talks more openly now compared to four years ago. My friend asked him who would be his new choreographer at the fundraising dinner in 2012. He thought for a few seconds and said, “I can’t tell you.” Last year at Stars on Ice, my friend asked him what his programs would be for his comeback year. Patrick gave some details and told us David Wilson was the choreographer for both programs. I think he was willing to give more details because there were only a few of us compared to the large crowds in a restaurant.

Did I miss anything else that you wanted to talk about?

Vivley, you have spent the time and effort on all Patrick’s projects, especially his site which is a one-stop info center for Patrick’s fans. I think he is very proud to have a royal fan like you. A big thanks and hugs from me.
 
Are you a Patrick Chan fan with a story to share? Please leave a comment below or contact me!

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