Patrick Chan finally came home Tuesday, looking tanned, healthy and relaxed with his figure skating world championship gold medal slung around his neck.
And perhaps, in his estimation, a little out of shape.
He had gained a few pounds, the 20-year-old from Toronto said, while vacationing for a week with some family friends in Dubai and doing a bit of job shadowing on the side, seeing whether, some day, he would like to be a commodities trader.
For now, Chan has his feet solidly set in the world of figure skating. Any thoughts he had about taking the sport year-by-year, about how long he would continue, seem to have fallen by the wayside.
"The indecision about skating is behind me," he said standing in front of a dinosaur exhibit in terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport. "I don't even know what I was thinking [of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia]"
Chan won't get much more time to celebrate the world men's title he claimed in Moscow on April 28, and by the sounds of it, he doesn't dare.
"I feel quite relaxed and I've had quite a bit of fun and don't want to get carried away having a good time," Chan said. (So much so, he had to ask a reporter what day it was.)
"I really want to get back to work."
He'll begin preparation on next year's routines on Thursday.
Last month, Chan put a bow on his year by shattering every record possible at the world event, setting new highs for short program (93.02 points), long program (187.96) and total score. He won the gold medal by 22.57 points over Takahiko Kozuka of Japan, blasting the previous record margin.
The scores were all the more impressive as Chan was competing under new criteria that required fewer elements in which to chalk up points. During the past season, skaters had to do only seven elements in the short program, down from eight.
Michael Slipchuk, director of high performance for Skate Canada, said he'd now watched four Canadian men win world titles - Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Jeffrey Buttle and Chan - and the victories were similar in one major way.
"Each time they won that title, they really won it," Slipchuk said. "It wasn't a title they just backed into. They went out on the day and they laid down two good programs and won the title."
Both Chan and Buttle took their world titles by large margins - Buttle's final score of 245.17 was 14 points better than the runner-up in 2008 - while Browning and Stojko competed in systems that could not produce such a large winning gap.
Chan made his world championship debut in 2008, when he finished ninth, and watched Buttle's emphatic win. He said he remembers thinking: "I wish I could get in that position one day, too, and be the winner as well."
In defence of his title (the 2012 event is scheduled for Nice, France), Chan promises more: a new concept, new style, perhaps even a new quad jump. He hinted Tuesday at a quadruple flip - a jump that has not been landed in competition, although Daisuke Takahashi of Japan has tried it.
"Maybe I'll drench the program with quads," Chan said jokingly.
Meanwhile, his father helps him stay grounded.
"What I try to do is instill common sense and reality to him, so that he puts skating in perspective," Lewis Chan said. "If he wins, that's great. But if he doesn't succeed, it's not the end of the world."
He said they follow the teachings of Patrick Chan's former coach, Osborne Colson, who died at 90 in 2006. Colson also pushed for each competition to be better than the last.
"I think he's still improving," Lewis Chan said. "And this is what our goal is."
That should make the competition very nervous.