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Embracing the Risks / Pays Off for Chan

Embracing the Risks / Pays Off for Chan

The New York Times, April 28, 2011

Embracing the Risks of Figure Skating Pays Off for Chan

By Christopher Clarey

MOSCOW — Figure skating is a risky business, one where the distinctions between winner and loser come down to the thin edge of a blade. For those in need of a reminder during the men’s event at these world championships, there were the drops of blood that remained spattered on the ice long after the Frenchman Brian Joubert had cut his hand in the free program.

They were still there when Patrick Chan performed with the sort of huge lead that Chan could not have imagined possessing little over a year ago when he was failing to live up to his own expectations at his home Olympics in Vancouver.

But this season, bittersweet though the reality might be, has been Chan’s chance to take command, and he has done it by embracing the risks that rivals like Yevgeny Plushenko mocked him for avoiding. Chan finished second at the 2009 and 2010 world championships without trying a quadruple jump, but after long defending himself, he has converted instead.