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Updated: Kathy Johnson Resigns as Patrick’s Coach

Patrick Chan and coach Kathy Johnson wave to the crowd after his victory at the 2016 Four Continents Championship in Taipei, February 2016
Patrick and Kathy in happier times. (Source: YouTube)

This was unexpected – much to my surprise (and I’m sure a lot of you), on Monday morning (August 22) we learned via Twitter that Kathy Johnson, Patrick’s coach of four years, had resigned. The news was posted by Amy Rosewater, Director of Communications at the Casey Cares Foundation, and a freelance writer for Icenetwork.

The Skating Lesson shared a few more details:

This explained why a skater tweeted last Friday that she saw Patrick along with Meryl Davis, Charlie White, and the Shibutani siblings. All four U.S. champions train at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Michigan.

The proof: A photo of him in Canton last Friday, 8/19. Hat tip to Mango of Golden Skate Forums for finding this! He looked very thin…

Patrick Chan was here!!

A photo posted by Karissa Fitzgerald Williams (@karazinesk8s) on

It was a torturous wait for the Icenetwork article, which I had expected to come out the next day (August 23). The silence all day yesterday made me wonder if they were having trouble contacting Patrick for a statement. Sure enough, that was revealed to be the case in their posting today, in which we learned nothing new except that Patrick will make his plans known on August 31.

The article written by Ms. Rosewater became more negative as it recounted the history of past coaches who had resigned. The quote from Don Laws especially put Patrick in an unflattering light, but that was from how many years ago? Unfortunately, in the absence of more information from Patrick, the spotlight was put on his past coaching breakups, despite the fact that Kathy said that it was a “heartfelt and difficult decision” for her.

Based on what I read, I think Kathy’s resignation was abrupt and took almost everyone (including Patrick) by surprise. His silence, the change in training site to Canton, along with him not moving to Vancouver (yet) indicates to me a possible scramble behind the scenes to deal with this new reality. I hope I am wrong, of course. I look forward to Patrick’s statement next week, but mostly likely we won’t learn what happened to his coaching relationship with Kathy until months or years from now, should he even choose to talk about it.

As for Kathy, she has my utmost respect and appreciation for seeing Patrick through his last Olympic journey and a difficult comeback year. I noticed that often she bore the brunt of a lot of criticism when Patrick didn’t do as well at competitions, and when he did win, she received little or no credit for it. But no one can deny that she successfully coached an Olympic medalist (if he had won gold, even then some might have thought that she had nothing to do with that). For her own private reasons she has now chosen not to continue with Patrick on his next Olympic journey, and I wish her a well-deserved break. We will probably see her rinkside again.

My heart goes out to Patrick, as I know he prefers an orderly and stable routine, and this is a big change for him. Moving forward, I hope he finds the best path to take and he settles into it quickly, never looking back except to gain wisdom and good memories. May confidence and love – not fear – guide him forward as he regroups and makes new decisions about his future. Stay well, Patrick! Your fans are behind you!

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