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Patrick Chan 2018 Canadian Nationals: 10-Time National Champion!

Last updated: Monday, January 29, 2018

This is a special post, because for the first time ever I was able to travel to see Patrick in competition live. It will be a very long post where I will add in some of my personal experiences as appropriate. Also, I will keep updating this post as I sort through my raw footage and photos from the trip. By popular request, see below for more details on how I got Patrick’s autograph!

 

January 14: My Encounter with Patrick

Yes, I am one lucky fan, having witnessed in person Patrick’s record-shattering 10th victory and getting his autograph on my banner!


Which prompted another fan to ask:

I really do appreciate my fellow fans who are happy for me and asking for more details, so I will try to give you the story below. No, I did not run over anyone to get his autograph, I promise. Here was the teaser I wrote on Golden Skate Forums:

Imagine Patrick floating towards you. Yes, floating, because that’s what it looks like when you’re standing behind the boards and he’s coming towards you, gliding slowly, looking very thoughtful.

The entire experience happens fast and yet you try to slow it down to catch the details, but in reality it was probably a total of 3 minutes? Yep, 3 minutes that you want to replay in slow motion, over and over again…. Once you get over the emotions that follow such an encounter…

What Really Happened

Upon arriving at the stadium during gala practice, I had hoped to catch a glimpse of Patrick and maybe, just maybe, get his autograph on the banner. From the East balcony I looked down and saw Keegan in his red jacket, chatting with fans near the boards. How I wished Patrick were also out… until I looked at the other side of the stadium and who should be standing near the judges’ table but the champion?! The reason why he was so difficult to spot was because he was wearing his gray practice shirt in the dim lighting. A group of fans accompanied him.

I hurried down, but by the time I arrived at the boards Patrick was drifting away, so I stepped back. I spotted my Twitter friends who all happened to be sitting in the first row nearby, so I went over to chat with them. After two minutes, they took out their banners and pointed behind me. I thought Patrick had come back, so I took out my banner and turned around. To my surprise, “Oh What a Night” started playing and he launched right into a run-through of his gala performance! So I stood there by the boards, holding up my banner the entire time. I waved it when he was done, having missed any opportunity to take pictures or video of his practice.

Who knew that Patrick Chan could elicit such strong emotions by not speaking?

Afterwards he went to the technical crew occupying the judges’ table and gave them feedback. I figured he would get off the ice, but I kept holding up the banner, and when he was done he slowly skated eastward (or left from my POV), looking like he was considering something. Slowly, he floated towards me. At least that’s what it looked like because I could not see his feet. This was a really short but cool moment, like a movie scene that fans would love to play in slow motion over and over again… Not that we made any eye contact. He kept his focus on the banner and when he arrived, I asked, “Would you like to sign your banner?” I took out my brand new sharpie, yanked the cap off and placed it in his open hand. He carefully autographed the banner in silence.

“It’s an honor to come out and see you for the first time,” I said. But he remained silent. When he added the two “eyes” to the “C” in his signature, it was done. I took back the sharpie, withdrew the banner, and said, “thank you.” He turned to face the other fans that had gathered to my left. Somehow he climbed over the boards to sign a couple more items and take pictures with them. By this time I had withdrawn a few feet away and tried in vain to take a good photo of him. Five minutes later, I heard him say, “Sorry, I have to go.” He leaped into an exit behind the judges’ table and disappeared.

I found my way back to my seat and sat down, exhausted. Was I grateful? Yes. Was I thrilled? Yes. Then why did I find myself hoping no one would see the tears flooding my eyes? (Not that there was anyone around – the section was mostly empty – and I hate crying, by the way.) It was because if I did have any expectations, the one thing that I hadn’t expected to hear from him was… the sound of silence.

Who knew that Patrick Chan could elicit such strong emotions by not speaking?

No, there was nothing negative in his demeanor. The expression on his face seemed thoughtful and caring, and he seemed relaxed. There was no pretense, no forced smiles or awkwardness. Still, it was such a contrast to the cheerful dialogue he gave in the interviews that I later watched on video.

I started this fan site because Patrick’s comeback had become more dramatic and interesting than fiction itself, but this experience beats them all, because in three short minutes he managed to transform himself into an enigma. And yes, the enigma has given me plenty to write about now.

So I am incredibly lucky indeed because Patrick could have chosen not to stop by, but he did. It is a mystery why he never said anything, but I figured he was pressed for time. It is what it is and I accept it.

Thank you, Patrick! Like you, I tend to over-think things, but I promise not to ponder too much about the meaning of your zen-like silence. May you be just as calm when you take the ice in Pyeongchang next month. Good luck and Go Patrick!

Postscript: A Little Miracle

Despite promising (above) not to ponder too much about the meaning of Patrick’s silence, nevertheless I could not consider myself to have truly met him. Can you say that you’ve met someone if you’ve never exchanged a word or even a look with them? Given that it was a long way for me to travel to Canada, I had hoped to have a friendly chat with him for even a tiny bit. But at the same time, I knew he went through a lot just to get to Nationals. I was so fortunate that he did not suffer a total, unrecoverable burnout!

Well, the day after I wondered all this, Patrick’s answer came in the last part of his video here!

Wow! Whether it was just a happy coincidence or somehow he read my mind, he answered me! How else to explain his words, “whether I’ve met you or haven’t met you…”? To me it’s a little miracle. I had not seen Patrick speak like this in a long time, if ever. And I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

 

January 14: Olympic Team and EX Gala Program
EX Gala!

At the end of the gala, Patrick had the opportunity to speak some French:

Other Lucky Fans

Backstage, a fan caught this shot (link):

A dog lover, Patrick naturally smiled with Maxx (hat tip to @aomomiji for the links):

Maxx and 10 time Canadian Figure Skating Champion, Olympian & World Champion

A post shared by greg Edgelow (@edgelowgreg) on

Olympic Medalist & World Champion Patrick Chan, Figure Skating

A post shared by greg Edgelow (@edgelowgreg) on

#patrickchan #figureskating #isu #canadanationals2018

A post shared by Josie Lau (@josie.lau) on

This fan got to speak with Patrick about his music:

Interview with PJ Kwong

A special interview where fans were able to submit their questions for Patrick in advance. He had just autographed my banner the hour before and I was recovering from being overwhelmed, so I missed my chance to ask him a question.

Olympic Team Announcement and Interviews

It was no surprise that Patrick would be on the team!

Yay love this team!! #roadtopyeongchang @teamcanada

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And for some Photoshop humor:

Interview Afterwards with Scott and Tessa

“Feels pretty good, I mean… Different. I think we’re a lot older than we were in 2010. But I think we’ve gained a lot of experiences and knowledge, and we also have such a great team that’s also been there… some of them, it’s their second time, so I think we have a good group of people to support us as well. We need the support just as much as they do.”

“I feel old, though. The sport is changing immensely and we’re seeing a younger generation coming in. It’s been wonderful, though. Ten years have gone by really quickly and every single one I’ve improved on and… whether it’s technically or on the ice or off the ice, I just feel like I’ve grown up around such a great group of skaters and a team. Canada’s helped me grow up to be… who I am.”

“I like to sleep on people’s shoulders.”

Scott: Are you going on the fifth?
Patrick: Fourth.

“Better than mine.” (referring to Scott Moir’s French)

When answering the French question, he started off with “Oh mon Dieu” – “Omigod”.

CTV Interview

“It’s wonderful to go for the third time. This third time will be different, more so because I’m going as an individual, as a 27-year-old who’s had a lot of years to experience World Championships and Olympic games, so I just hope to be able to enjoy that, knowing that I can be calm and relaxed…”

“That at the end of the day it’s sport, and it’s true that… just going to the Olympics is, even as a third Olympian is still a gold medal in a way.”

“It’s important to not lose focus on why you’re there, and you’re there for yourself, and you’re there to perform your best. Especially in figure skating, you’re out there on your own. You’re not competing up against an opponent necessarily.”

“It’s important for me to just remember that I have to be my best… I hope to do better than I did here at the National Championships.”

Music That Inspires Pchiddy

If you are curious about what music Patrick listens to for motivation, see below.

His selections include artists like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Kanye West, Aretha Franklin and other greats.

Air Canada Promo

 

January 13: Long Program and 10-Time Champion!
Video Links

Long program:

Victory ceremony:

Hallejulah 🙌🏻 #patrickchan #vancouver

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I recorded the moment when they announced his scores and the audience erupted:

Scores and Ranks After the Free Program Competition

Passing the Torch

See the video here (link).

Patrick: “Before handing it on to future generations.”

“It’s been quite a journey with all of us. We’ve been through the ups and downs together.”

“While this might be goodbye… it isn’t the end. It’s our turn [to pass the torch] to the next man.”

What Viewers Said About Patrick

Patrick wisely did not repeat Keegan and Elladj’s backflippin’ antics:

Free Program and Press Conference Photos

Patrick Chan 1.11 practice #CTNSC18 #PatrickChan

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Morning Practice Session

This time I was resolved to stand more toward the right side of the rink, where Patrick tended to practice his jumps. I also brought my banner and unfurled it, which made it more difficult for me to take photos and videos. But I met some of my fellow fans from Twitter!

Okay, so this wasn’t a triple axel (3A) combo, but it was still beautiful nonetheless…

And here’s the quad toe!

Patrick stayed until the very end again, but because he was chatting with Ravi, he did not take a bow this time. But his parents appeared again and he bounded up the stairs to the balcony, as if to meet them. The fans behind me grew very excited and we carefully approached, with me waving my banner. As soon as Patrick got to the top of the stairs, he went back down again and disappeared.

However, his parents saw us and walked down towards us. Mrs. Chan was detained in conversation, but Mr. Chan walked up to us and I was able to introduce myself to him and show him the banner. He asked me where I was from, and after I replied we smiled at each other for a good two seconds before I felt the need to introduce the other fans from Japan. He was obviously familiar with them already. Then he thanked us for coming out, and our meeting ended on a pleasant note. Thank you, Mr. Chan!

Interviews / Articles

Watch the interview video here.

“I know that if I can deliver what I have and I deliver the way I’ve been training with a new sense of confidence, it will make my experience more enjoyable skating to the long program and actually wanting to be there, actually wanting to go through the grind of it.”

“I think… I definitely can squeak in and I still have that little glimmer of hope in my head that… you never know what can happen and the best I can do is just… give the very best and stay on my feet and do all the planned elements I have that are reasonable. That will give me the best chance to squeak in.”

“I think that’s a good depiction of the entire season, is the U.S. championships. And it kind of made me feel like… feel more confident about what I’m bringing to the table, and it just re-affirmed my strategy to just… maybe put in a quad salchow down the road, and maybe at the Olympics, but to stick mainly to the strategy of doing my quad toes, doing them in the opening of the program, and then sticking with good quality, beautiful program.”

“And it’s Hallelujah, so why would I want to tarnish it with quads everywhere?”

“I lived those Olympic two weeks both times and I don’t remember much,” Chan told Reuters in an interview of his previous Games experiences. “I don’t think I remember much because I was so living in fear every single moment. After the competition I had to live with the disappointment of not winning gold, but before I remember clearly over-analysing every situation.”

“Is eating this or touching this going to affect my program? To that point, to the -Nth degree. That ruined, absolutely ruined, the experience for me.”

“I don’t want to end my third Games being like, ‘why did I feel fear again?’ That is what I am working so hard on,” he said. “My goal right now is not gold, it’s not a medal. It is after they announce my name, taking my position and before I hear my music to be like ‘Okay, I‘m ready. I want to be here.’

“Because I have never said that to myself when I start my program at a competition. I have never said ‘I want to be here.’ It’s always like ‘I can’t wait for this to be over’ or ‘Okay, here we go,’” he added. “If I can master that on the biggest stage, take my position in front of thousands of people watching and have the confidence to say ‘right, let’s do this.’”

“Our [Canada’s] approach to the team event is very different from Sochi. I think we’re taking the team event this time around a lot more seriously. It’s less of an experimental situation. It’s much more of a planned and thought-through opportunity for all of us to get a medal, to get a gold medal. It’s the best chance we ever have.”

“My last two Olympics, I got off the ice disappointed,” Chan said, according to NBC Olympic Research, “because my expectations were based on things I can’t control. Like, ‘I’ve got to win the gold medal in Canada, or I’m the reigning [world] champion going into Sochi, so I must win.’”

“Absolutely, because a medal is a medal,” he said. “At this point in my career, anything at this point is a bonus. For me, going to the Olympics for a third time, that in itself is an achievement.”

“I took a bit of a more strategic approach, looking at what I’m capable of doing and where my strengths are,” he said. “I shouldn’t feel diminished at all. I think I can offer a lot in so many other ways than just quads.”

 

January 12: First Day Watching Patrick and Short Program Competition!

Results: Pchiddy in First!

Viewer Comments

Competition and Press Conference Photos

If Only It Were a Quad Axel

Spellcheck wouldn’t have helped…

Warmup Before the Short Program

Other Media Promos

Afternoon Practice Session

I made it to the lunchtime practice just in time to see Patrick practice! Patrick was impressive to see in person. When he first came out on the ice, his features were striking and he looked tall and long and lean, moving with the grace of a dancer.

After settling in a spot facing the middle of the rink, I watched him practice during the entire session. Here are two of my video clips:

 

Few people stayed to see Patrick’s bow at the very end. He was the last one to get off the ice.

 

Afterwards, he looked up and smiled at someone in the corner of the balcony. It turned out to be three people – his parents and Mike Slipchuk.

Skate Canada High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk speaks with Patrick Chan's parents after a practice session on January 12, 2018. (Photo by pcskatingfan.com)
Skate Canada High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk speaks with Patrick Chan’s parents after a practice session on January 12, 2018. (Photo by pcskatingfan.com)

After Mr. Slipchuk left, Mr. and Mrs. Chan remained at the balcony, deep in conversation. Not wishing to disturb them, I was the next to last fan to leave.

 

January 11: Practice and Travel to Vancouver

While I was flying to chilly, rainy Vancouver, Patrick was already hard at work on the ice!

Hmmm, they must have known that he was going to win…

Interviewing in that often-seen gray shirt:

Quad Salchow Update

The 4S is not dead!

Comments of the Day

Interview Video with TSN

Direct link to the video: (link)

“We’re all made of the same substance… We’re quite small, so it’s always reminding a little bit about perspective.”

“Why don’t we start looking ahead of us and looking at more opportunities and more things that we want to achieve in our lives.”

“I’ve really taken the time to think about this year, and realize that I need to savor it, and I need to think of it as an experience to grow myself as an individual beyond this career in figure skating.”

Stars On Ice Promo

Program Book

Yes, it cost $10 and I bought one.

Ten Years Ago

How time flies – Patrick said he feels old already – but he’s been at the top of Canadian skating for over a decade!

 

Related Posts

Patrick Chan News, January 1-10, 2018

Patrick Chan: Nine-time Canadian Champion!

Patrick Chan 2017 Canadian Nationals: Part 1

2 thoughts on “Patrick Chan 2018 Canadian Nationals: 10-Time National Champion!

  1. Hi. Thank you for the update. I guess I spotted you – but a bit hesitate to talk to (my shyness kicks in). When I asked at the information, I was told the gala practice is not open to the public – so I missed it! I should not have trusted things told at the information (like in the US…). Oh well… Congratulations on having him sign on your banner!
    I also had a chance to talk to Mrs. Chan, and she asked me if I am the person making the PC fan site. She said she has been checking this site, really like it, and wanted to say “Thank you” for maintaining it.

    1. Wow, Sally you just made my day! I’m so glad to hear that Mrs. Chan likes this site! I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to speak with her on Saturday (I should have stayed later), but I was fortunate to speak with Mr. Chan.

      Wait – are you the fan who stayed to the very, very end at both practice sessions? If so, I apologize for not saying anything to you. I was curious and almost said hi, but you seemed to be deep in thought. I hope you enjoyed Nationals, and maybe we’ll meet again some time!

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