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Patrick Chan’s big leap

Patrick Chan’s big leap

Toronto Star, April 24, 2011

From quad-rophobia to quad-rophilia

By Mary Ormsby

Patrick Chan is at the apex of a dangerous jump. Everyone in the arena knows it.

The figure skater will spin four times in the air in less than a second, faster than it takes for the audience to blink twice. A whisper of error — hips a centimetre too low, elbows not tucked in — means his skates will splay and his whirling, descending 148 pounds will slap meatily across the ice.

No wonder few men attempt the quad.

It is figure skating’s beast — its four-minute mile, its 50-goal season. An all-or-nothing nail-biter that’s as much about masculinity as it is about marks.

During last year’s Vancouver Winter Games, Russian veteran Evgeni Plushenko infamously sneered that quad-less Olympic rivals were less than manly.

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