As summer shortens and we hurtle towards the new skating season, Patrick manages to find time for fun, friends, flips… and interviews, of course!
August 12: Richmond Training Centre Photo
I’m sure this was taken the other day when Patrick was still in Ontario, but it’s nice to see him give a thumbs up!
— blue_cosmos (@BluecosmosH) August 12, 2017
August 10: Interview with Chinese Media
Patrick gave an interview to the Chinese media that was published on Weibo. He talked about the different mindset he has for the 2018 Olympics, and his journey to inner peace.
— Анна (@boyangjins) August 10, 2017
— Анна (@boyangjins) August 10, 2017
Here is the interview text and English translation. My thanks to fan Violet Bliss for contributing to the translations below!
August 9, 2017 Love Figure Skating
The 2016-17 season was the second season of Patrick Chan’s return to competition, during which he collaborated with a new coaching team and added a new quadruple jump in his program. All of these changes were made to better prepare to compete in next year’s PyeongChang Olympics. After the World Championships at season’s end, Chan accepted a joint interview by three media organizations, including Love Figure Skating. He looked back at this season’s performance and discussed his plans and preparations for the Olympics (link to interview).
Reporter: The World Championships was the last official competition of this season. How do you judge your own performance this season?
Patrick: Looking back, I think this was a very successful season. Even with the ups and downs, I’m very happy to have kept my optimistic mindset. I’ve improved from each competition, and I keep learning, especially in the psychological area. Of course, adding a new quad was a big change. At the beginning of the season, my plan (for the long program) was to just complete two quad toes and two triple axels; yet by the end of the season, I could do three quads in my free program. This was a breakthrough for me, though of course I know it is no big deal to some of the other men. I just need to stick to my own plan and goals. Meanwhile, I’m happy to to be able to master a new jump, keep improving and stay in the group of top five men in the world. I always have a desire to be on the podium. It’s still possible. To keep my Olympic podium hope possible, I will keep improving myself, and this year was a very important part of that process.
Reporter: During last season, you made some changes such as switching coaches and adding new jumps to your program. How do you think these changes affected this season’s performance?
陈伟群：我认为这些改变是积极的，同时也很有必要。换教练并不是我的决定，我之前的教练（Kathy Johnson）决定休息一段时间，不再担任教练。所以我选择了 Marina（Marina Zueva），她正好有时间，而且经验丰富。我的另一位教练 Oleg（Oleg Epstein），一直都与 Marina 合作，也是一位非常出色的教练。同时这也是我们互相学习的一个过程，Oleg 没有太多执教单人选手的经验，不过他有丰富的学识，这些与我个人对单人滑的认识结合在一起，我们可以取得成功，找到适合我的技术。
Patrick: I think the changes were positive and also necessary. It was not my decision to change coaches. My former coach (Kathy Johnson) decided to take a break from coaching so I switched to Marina, who happened to have time for me and is very experienced. My other coach Oleg has worked with Marina for a long time and he is an outstanding coach. We learn from each other. Oleg doesn’t have much experience coaching Singles but he’s very knowledgeable, so with my understanding of Singles skating, together we find success and appropriate techniques for me.
记者：自由滑 A Journey 主题是友情，也是非常富有感情的作品，随着赛季的深入，在节目表达上有什么变化吗？
Reporter: The theme of the long program, “A Journey” is about friendship and it’s an emotional piece of music. Were there any changes in the expression of your program as the season progressed?
Patrick: The emotion was always there. The external expression and the internal emotions were always the same. The only changes were technical, with several changes in jump arrangements to incorporate the quad salchow. Unfortunately, with the increased level of technical difficulty, I told myself to avoid too much emotion because I needed to focus on the jumps, especially the quads. So about how much expression and emotion there was, I have regrets.
Reporter: Did you have any costume considerations?
Patrick: Nothing special, I just like this colour. The overall effect is abstract, letting others interpret and have their own viewpoint. Some liked it, and some didn’t. I don’t mind what others think about costumes. As long as it’s comfortable and looks nice, it’s fine for me.
Reporter: What is your plan for the technical elements for next season?
Patrick: Obviously there will be two quads in the short program. I hope to have two consistent quads in the short program. I never thought of this at the beginning of the season. Although there were errors in the short program, attempting two quads was one of my competition goals. I may even add a quadruple flip in the long program. Meanwhile, the biggest challenge is the short program. I’m not sure if I can successfully complete a quad flip in my long program. Or maybe there will only be one be quad in the short program. It all depends on the situation. However, to compete with the top men, two quads in the short program is a must.
Reporter: So there will be a quad salchow and a quad flip in the next season?
Patrick: I just added the quad salchow to the program this season, and we made adjustments to the jump layout at Worlds, so I haven’t had too much experience with doing this jump in competition. I will train more during the summer, using that time to raise my success rate. As for the quad flip, I haven’t started training it yet and will need to see if I can complete it. There are many unknown factors. But I want to try to push myself to learn a new quad.
Reporter: You have outstanding skating skills. What kind of training did you go through to achieve this level of success?
Patrick: Skating is something I grew up with. It’s something that takes time, not something you can learn in a year. For me, good skating skills depend on many factors like my body-build, muscle structure, early learning, childhood coach, and many years of training. This is the most difficult part. You can see quick results in jump practices, learning a new quad in a year. But skating takes years and years of training and practice for me to have the skating skills and level that I have now.
Reporter: But these days, many young skaters are investing more energy into jumps, and jump difficulty is increasing very fast.
Patrick: When I first noticed this trend around the time after the Sochi Olympics, I was frustrated and disappointed. But now I don’t have energy to pay attention to what others are doing. I only focus on what I need to do and what areas I should improve in order to remain competitive. I hope I can combine the quads and the advantage of my skating skills into an organic combination to demonstrate my competitiveness. I think this is the ideal combination, so I can show everybody what I had always hoped to show, which is what Mens’ figure skating is all about.
Reporter: With the most difficult jumps, competitors may have a greater advantage. What do you think?
Patrick: I’ve always thought that a complete skater would appear. Over the years, Hanyu has grown into a great competitor and performer. In the last few years, the changes in this sport have been crazy. The level of competitiveness and difficulty is astonishing. Yet some young skaters find it so easy to complete [jumps]. Coming from my era, including a quad in a program was considered great. Now one quad is far from adequate. What I can do is remind myself that I’m one of the participants in this change. Beginning with doing two quads in the long program at the 2011 Worlds, I’ve pushed more men into doing quads.
Reporter: It will be your third Olympics next season. Compared to the previous experiences, how will you deal with the pressure this time?
Patrick: I’m wiser and more experienced now than before. I hope that at my third Olympics, I will not repeat my past mistakes. At that time, I wasn’t prepared mentally. I hope to do better this time. This has been a learning process on how to manage emotions and thinking. Buddhists spend their entire lives learning how to control their distracting thoughts. It’s similar in figure skating. No matter the situation, no matter the pressure, it’s very important to control my own thoughts. Your mind may be your most powerful “muscle” in your body. It can change any situation, and it can make a difference in your performance. So I need to learn how to control my mind. If I can do it, this would be a great advantage to me.
Reporter: During regular competitions, how do you normally adjust your attitude?
Patrick: Whether my short program performance is good or not, I have to forget it to focus on what comes next. The second day, the free skate, will be a brand new day, a new beginning. All I can do is to do my best in the free skate. I can’t change what has already happened, good or bad. We need to live in the present, and do what is ahead well.
Reporter: You are now an example to many young skaters. On your journey to growth, which skaters have had a great influence on you?
陈伟群：有两位选手，一位是 Alexei Yagudin，我和他的身体条件有些相似，拥有强壮的肌肉，他在冰上的表现力是我非常欣赏的。另一位是 Stephane Lambiel，尤其是在滑行、风格等方面，他的每一套节目都能把我带入他的世界，无论是怎样的故事。
Patrick: There were two skaters – one is Alexei Yagudin – he and I have somewhat similar physical conditioning, with strong muscles, and I very much appreciated his expression on the ice. The other is Stéphane Lambiel, especially in his skating, style, etc. Every one of his programs brought me into his world, no matter what the story was.
Reporter: Can you say that you enjoy skating?
Patrick: Yes and no. This is a relative state. I have been in the sport of figure skating for many years, and I cannot fully express my relationship with skating with “like” or “love”. I have a very special relationship with figure skating, and in fact every skater (and their relationship with figure skating) is different. I am glad that I do not have too much expectation and pressure place on me from the outside world, because in that case, a skater would face great challenges and difficulties, infinite expectations, and huge pressure. Since I do not have to go through this, I can take the time to focus on self-improvement, knowledge and thought. When you are very nervous about results, you lose the ability to evaluate why you wanted to learn and why you wanted to do this. In fact, it is difficult for us to differentiate what we want to achieve, versus what others want us to accomplish.
Reporter: Thank you for the interview. Good luck at the Olympics.
Patrick: Thank you.
August 10: Training with Kana
August 6: Hanging with the Ladies
And was he getting ready to go on the ice or off the ice here?
August 3: Belly floppin’ Fun
The ending of this video was totally unexpected, but we should get used to seeing Patrick’s “outtakes” this season…