Patrick Chan collected his first Olympic medal Sunday, with the hope of more to come in the men’s individual figure skating event.
But after watching teammate Kevin Reynolds, pairs competitors Kaetlyn Osmond and ice dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue wrap up the inaugural Olympic team figure skating competition, the three-time world champion from Toronto was feeling the glow of a Canadian silver medal.
Chan skated the short program to kick off the team event Thursday, before giving way to Reynolds so he could prepare for the individual competition. Chan was fifth four years ago at the Olympics in Vancouver.
The 23-year-old Chan was on hand to cheer on his teammates in the Iceberg Skating Palace at the three-day event won by Russia. The U.S. was third.
“Extremely nice,” he said of winning a medal, which will be awarded at a ceremony Monday. “It’s surreal, it’s extremely surreal.
“Not the fact that it was a surprise but because this is the first ever team competition in the Olympic Games. And to win a medal and to have such teammates, it really makes me proud to be Canadian and really makes me proud to be part of this team, which has grown up together the last five, six years. And we’ve come together so well and we were really happy together.”
The Canadian celebrations, orchestrated largely by Moir, included a team huddle and several photo ops on the ice with a Canadian flag. The Russians and Americans were kicking up their heels nearby with President Putin on hand to congratulate the host country’s first gold.
Chan finished third in the free skate won by Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu on the first day of the team competition. Russian veteran Evgeni Plushenko was second.
While his result in the team competition may not have been what he wanted, Chan says the experience was a real plus.
“Absolutely. Yeah it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since the short program. There’s a lot of pluses and minuses when you get to go out early. But the positive is much more abundant in this case, I feel.
“I got out early, got to get a sense of the rink and skating in front of the Russian audience. It’s very different from Vancouver and any Grand Prix circuit competition that I compete in during the season.
“You have to get used to it. It helps also to come and watch and support my teammates as well and see, feel the energy in the rink. Because we don’t get to experience that very much in the season. Yeah, it all plays a huge role in the comfort of when my music starts begin, be able to be comfortable and be in the zone.”
In the team event, the other squad members sit in a booth and cheer on their colleagues at the end of the rink. When it’s time for the scores to be announced, the whole team heads over to the so-called kiss-and-cry area.
What follows is a mass celebration – or consolation. The Germans came equipped with a cowbell almost the size of some of the petite female skaters.
The Canadians showed off their spirit with a team huddle after Moir and Virtue came off the ice.
Chan said while he has watched the 23-year-old Reynolds compete for years, he felt nervous this time.
“I felt bad almost, handing off the gauntlet to Kevin after the short program and kind of giving him that huge of a responsibility,” Chan said. “But I was confident he could handle it and he absolutely nailed it today. Every jump he completed, I was in the box and jumping up to my feet every single jump.
“I was so involved in his program and I’ve never had that experience before ... This was a great chance to bring the team spirit and really support my teammates.”
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, both in pairs, also competed for Canada in the team event.