Was Patrick Chan a victim of the Canadian curse?
Watch above: How Skate Canada President Leanna Caron feels about Patrick Chan’s accomplishments in the face of the Canadian curse.
TORONTO – Figure skating favourite Patrick Chan had a chance on Thursday to break the so-called “Canadian curse” and win an Olympic gold in men’s figure skating, but he’ll be taking home the silver instead.
Chan scored 178.10 after falling twice in the free skate program, putting his hand down to keep balanced. His combined total was 275.62 in the event, a second-place score behind Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu (who also fell while landing a jump).
Chan has been ranked the best in the world (three consecutive world figure skating titles, two Grand Prix Final championships and seven consecutive Canadian national championships) and he wasn’t even worried going into the competition following his disappointing fifth-place finish at the Vancouver 2010 games.
“People say there’s a curse, that a world champion won’t win the gold medal, but we’re all individual, all different,” he told The Vancouver Sun.
“It’s not like out of the blue I became the favourite. It’s something I have been building for over a couple of years. I deserve to be here and I deserve to be a favourite.”
READ MORE: 16×9 profiles Patrick Chan
The ghost of Canadians past is embodied by Kurt Browning, who had three world titles under his belt before failing to make the Olympic podium in Albertville (1992) and a fourth world title before coming in fifth at the Lillehammer Games (1994).
But more relevant to Chan is that second place was the fate of two other Canadian stars: Elvis Stojko won silver in 1994 and 1998, and Brian Orser took silver in 1984 and 1988. Both were top-ranked skaters before choking at the Olympics.
Skate Canada President Leanna Caron said Friday prior to Chan’s routine that the curse is more a media invention than a reality, and that there’s “no one that’s matched” to Chan in the world.
“We’ve always looked at it in Canada as we’ve had very successful men’s figure skating…and coming to the Olympics is just a different type of an environment,” she said.
“We’re still very proud of our athletes whether they finish second or third…and I think in the context of tonight, he’s accomplished a big goal.”
The silver medal means The Washington Post’s “freakonomics” didn’t pan out.
“Scott Hamilton, who won in the 1984 [Games], was FIFTH in his first Olympics. His successor, American Brian Boitano, burst on the scene by placing FIFTH in those Olympics. Russian Alexei Urmanov, who won in 1994, was also FIFTH in his first Olympics, as was the 2002 champion, Alexei Yagudin, who was also Russian. If Chan wins tonight, he’ll become the FIFTH man to win the gold medal after placing fifth at his first Olympics. No other placement has so many future gold medalists,” wrote Robert Samuels.
With files from Global News reporter Leslie Young
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