TORONTO – Canada’s Patrick Chan has decided to shelve the quad jump for the Vancouver Olympics.
The 19-year-old from Toronto had been cultivating the four-rotational jump over the past couple of months, but has never done one in competition and said attempting it at the Games would be too risky.
“My decision is pretty certain now that I don’t want to make any changes and risk putting the quad on the most important competition of probably my life,” Chan said on a conference call Thursday from Colorado Springs, Colo. “We kind of went the way of sticking with two triple Axels and a good solid program.”
The reigning world silver medallist had been working on a quad toe loop with technical specialist Christy Krall in Colorado Springs, Colo., aided by video analysis and a supportive harness, and said he has landed plenty in practice.
But Chan’s strength is his superior footwork, spins and overall artistry, and believes his program is strong enough without a quad to land him on the medal podium. The risk, he said, isn’t worth the reward.
“I’m hoping to bring more of a balanced program,” Chan said. “I think that’s only possible if I focus on two triple Axels and not get too bothered mentally with the quad, and I can use that extra mental space to focus on the more important stuff like the spins, and of course the components and the footwork.”
The new judging system, implemented following the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, rewards skaters that aren’t merely good jumpers but strong overall, and so many of the men have chosen to leave the quad out.
At the Canadian championships earlier this month in London, Ont., Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., was the only skater to attempt a quad, landing two in his long program.
At the U.S. championships, Jeremy Abbott landed a quad in the long program while silver medallist Evan Lysacek tried one and fell. Bronze medallist Johnny Weir has said he won’t do a quad in Vancouver, citing the same reasons as Chan.
Russian star Evgeni Plushenko, the 2006 Olympic champion, is known for his spectacular jumps and will definitely come to Vancouver armed with the quad. Plushenko and Frenchman Brian Joubert have both been vocal in their criticism about the dearth of quad jumps in skating.
Chan, one of Canada’s top hopes for a medal in skating at the Games, said he’s not sidelining the jump indefinitely and still works on it in practice – he’ll just unveil it at a later date.
“I just did some yesterday,” Chan said. “It’s not like I’ve totally wiped it out and forgot about it and scrapped the idea, it’s just that I just keep doing it for fun and show it off in practice, show the guys that ‘I can be up there with you guys because I can do a quad.
“But I chose not to do it in the program and take that risk. I can do it in practice for sure.”
The past two world champions – Lysacek in 2009 and Canada’s Jeffrey Buttle in 2008 – won without a quad in their programs.