World figure skating champion Patrick Chan has insisted his blunders at the Japan Open would serve as a wake-up call as he prepares to defend his crown in the run-up to the 2014 Olympics.
The Canadian fell four times whilst attempting a couple of quadruple toe loops and two triple jumps at the season-opening invitational event featuring three teams of two men and two women from Japan, North America and Europe.
Skating to Puccini’s La Boheme, the 21-year-old also botched two other jumps and struggled with his choreographic sequence to finish at the bottom of the six-man field.
Daisuke Takahashi, who finished runner up to Chan at the world championships in Nice last March, landed the most points, earning victory for the host nation.
“I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t feel motivated. I didn’t feel like I wanted it. So it really showed on the ice and I was really disappointed,” said Chan on Saturday.
But he added: “It will kind of wake me up and give me the motivation I needed.”
Chan, who finished fifth in his Olympic debut at Vancouver 2010 and won the world title in 2011 and 2012, said he had failed to adjust quickly enough to a major shake-up in his support team in the off-season.
Christy Krall, who was credited with helping him improve his quadruple jump, resigned as his main coach right after he defended his world title, while Kathy Johnson, a modern dance teacher on his coaching staff, assumed a larger role.
Chan has also parted with Lori Nichol, his choreographer of five years, and had David Wilson design his free programme. Former world champion and fellow Canadian Jeffrey Buttle worked out Chan’s new short programme.
“A lot of changes, I admit, have affected me on the ice,” he said, adding the poor performance came early enough in the season to allow him to regroup.
He is due to compete in two Grand Prix events -- Skate Canada from October 26 to 28 and the Cup of Russia from November 9 to 11, and defend his world title in London, Ontario, in March.
He added, however, he was happy with his new coach and could train “much more efficiently and (be) more motivated”.
“She really understands how I feel. She listens to what I feel about my body. So one day I really feel tired or sore, then we take it easy,” said Chan who has in the past described his former coach’s style as more assertive.
He said he was pleased with his free skate, set to La Boheme, “because the story is typical opera, very dramatic and very sad, too”.
“I really enjoy skating it. It’s a totally different style from last year which was great,” he said. “This year I really wanted to take a risk trying something new and I still skate to who I am. It’s perfectly choreographed for this year, for who I am.”
Chan said he has been practising two other kinds of quadruple jumps -- the flip and the Salchow -- in addition to the toe loop.
He said he hoped to skate the four-revolution flip at January’s national championships because “that’s a great place to put out a new jump without much risks”.