When three-time Canadian figure skating champion Patrick Chan came to Colorado Springs in December, he was dealing with a calf injury and losing his coach, which threatened to sidetrack the 19-year-old's Olympic season.
Two months later, Chan made a few mistakes in his performances at the Winter Games, but his fifth-place finish puts him in excellent position going into the skating's 2010 World Championships in Torino, Italy. Not to mention the next four years.
"I'm definitely going back to Colorado, at least through Worlds," Chan told me late Thursday night after his long program in Pacific Coliseum. "I think I've learned a lot from this. It's only my first Olympics, and there could be more for me."
He's "disappointed" with his skating in Vancouver, but not with the outcome.
One of his new coaches, Christy Krall of Colorado Springs, thinks Chan could be much better in another month at Worlds. She's also hoping he'll decide to continue training at the World Arena Ice Hall, where he's already bonded with many of the skaters. Chan also told media here that he really likes being able to train at the 6,000-foot altitude in the Springs.
"Patrick has come a long way in the last three month, but he had no time for it all to jell before coming here," says Krall, a former Olympian herself. "When he came to us, we went to work on everything: his injury, nutrition, (off-ice) training. He's a lot more solid now. He should even be able to have a quad (jump) for Worlds."
Krall, who actually started helping Chan with video analysis of his jumps and moves last spring, sees unlimited potential for him. After all, the top two Olympic finishers, Evan Lysacek and Evgeni Plushenko, aren't expected to stay in the competitive ranks. And Chan already has a silver medal, losing only to Lysacek, at the 2009 Worlds.