Patrick Chan is a three-time world champion, and has two Olympic silver medals. After a heartbreaking silver medal-finish at the Sochi Olympics, he returned with an emphasis on his jumping technique.
As Chan now prepares for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, here’s more on Chan and his family:
1. Chan Started Skating Because His Parents Wanted Him to Play Hockey
Chan started skating at the young age of five, however it wasn’t with the intention to become a world-class figure skater. His parents, Lewis and Karen Chan, who immigrated from Hong Kong to Canada, wanted to introduce their son to Canada’s love for hockey. They set up skating lessons for Chan, who’s interest soon turned from hockey to figure skating.
His coach at the time, Osborne Colson, made him spend 30 minutes a day on basic stroking, edge work, cross-cutting and balance drills.
“I tell people I owe the flow in my knees and the flow I generate from my edges to Mr. Colson,” Chan told The Star. “He knew he had to pull everything apart and start from the ground up on the basics of skating.”
And although Chan did not pursue hockey, he still is a fan of the sport. His favorite player? Sidney Crosby.
“I’ve had experience working with his off-ice trainer, Andy O’Brien,” he told The Athletic. “I’ve worked with him on the ice, as well. He’s watched me skate a few times.
“I remember him asking me about some exercises, or certain types of skating skills that I like to do, just to warm up. Figure skating-specific. I always wondered why he would ask me that, and then a few years later, I saw a move that Sid did in a replay — people were losing their mind over this crazy skating move that he did — but it’s one of the most basic skating skills we do.”
2. Chan Is Multilingual
Chan, who was born in Ottawa, Ontario, is of Han Chinese descent. His Chinese name is Chan Wai-Kuan.
He is fluent in English, French, and Cantonese. His parents wanted him to be multilingual, so at home his father spoke French to him, his mother Cantonese. According to the Globe and Mail, they left it up to Chan to pick up English in his daily life in Canada.
“French is a little easier for me,” Chan told Globe and Mail. “I’m quite direct and to the point. With English, I sometimes add more drama to it.”
Chan graduated from École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé, a French-language school in Toronto in 2009.
After Chan became a national champion, the school created an annual athletic award in his honor. Chan credits the school for much of his success as a student athlete.
“I love that school,” Chan told The Athletic. “It played such an important role in my career. That goes back to the whole fact I wasn’t bullied in high school, just because the school was so supportive of athletes.
“Rose Cossar was also a student at that school. She’s a rhythmic gymnast. I feel like sports and extracurricular activities were promoted at my school.”
3. His Mother Has Been Heavily Involved in His Skating
Like many figure skaters’ parents, Chan’s mother was always heavily involved in his training. She held many roles in addition to being “mom” — she was also his manager, chauffeur and cook, among other responsibilities, according to the Canadian Press. The two even lived in a hotel together when he trained in Florida and moved to Colorado together before the 2010 Olympics.
However, at 22 years old he decided to leave Colorado and live on his own in a Detroit apartment.
“It was a transition from locations and also a transition in my life,” Chan said, according to the Toronto Star. “I’d turned 22. This was time for me to take ownership. It’s a step I had to take to prepare for the Olympics.
“It was really hard for her. If it was her choice, she would definitely want to live with me. I had to draw the line.”
In a 2013 article, he explained his new-found independence.
“I have to look after the bills,” he said, according to the Star. “I have to make sure my accounts have money and I can write checks. That’s stuff my mom did my whole life. Having those tools, outside of skating, is going to take me a long way, I think, in the Olympic Village.
“In Vancouver, I was very lost. I needed someone to guide me, whereas now I can go into the village, be comfortable, know that, yes, I should eat this, no, I shouldn’t eat that, or I feel the need to go to the gym or do some recovery. I’m in control of everything.”
4. Against His Mother’s Advice, He Bought a Car
After winning each of his world championship titles, Chan asked his mother if he could buy a car. Acting as his manager, she said no after 2011 and 2012, but after his third win, he went out and bought a used 2011 charcoal BMW on his own.
He enjoys spending time on the weekends working on his car.
5. His Father Is an Attorney
Chan’s father moved to Canada as a young boy and his mother didn’t move until her late 20s. Chan’s father, Lewis, played ping pong and coached a Quebec-based ping pong team.
Lewis Chan is an attorney and attends many of Patrick’s competitions.