Kevin Reynolds, Canada's designated Quad King, blinked in the television lights on Thursday after a practice and suddenly found himself in a media storm.
He wasn't expecting it.
For five years, he's been landing quads diligently, no matter what the risk, no matter how little the reward. He became the first man in history to land two quads in a short program earlier this season at Skate Canada in Kingston, Ont.
But now Canada's bright light, Patrick Chan, a two-time world silver medalist, has incorporated them into his routines in multiple numbers and the Canadian figure skating championships has become a Battle of the Quads.
Asked how he felt to be compared to Chan and to become an archrival, Reynolds replied: "I know Patrick won the Grand Prix Final and I am still working toward that goal and a high placement at the world championships. It's a bit early for me. But I'm excited. I'm looking forward to see what I can do."
Reynolds finished 11th at the world championships last March in Turin, Italy, a short time after he won the short program at the Four Continents, having missed out at the Vancouver Olympics by a short margin.
Before he's Chan's equal, he says, he has to improve his world standing to consider himself in that sort of territory. "I'm improving every year and hopefully in the next couple of years, I'll be there," he said.
He's asked: Are the two of you good friends? "It's kind of a hard environment to build a friendship," Reynolds said. He doesn't get much opportunity. Reynolds trains in Vancouver, Chan in Colorado Springs. They meet at the odd competition, where Reynolds says Chan is always friendly to him. Perhaps if they go to more competitions together, they could strengthen a bond, Reynolds suggests.
And, already looking forward to the next Olympics, Reynolds is asked if he thinks it's possible for two Canadian men to be on the podium in Sochi in 2014. Mike Slipchuk, high-performance director for Skate Canada says "Why not?"
Chan thinks it's possible too, even if he's not one of the two. "If it's not Kevin, it will be someone else," Chan said. "And if it's not me, it will be someone else, I'm sure."
He watched the Canadian group of men practise before him Thursday and concluded that there were a lot of great skaters with jumping and artistic talent, one of them being 17-year-old Andrei Rogozine, of Richmond Hill, Ont., who has already been landing quads in practice. This is his debut at the senior level.
Chan said Thursday, as much as he'd like to win the gold medal that he didn't in Vancouver, he does not know if he will be in Sochi. Reynolds definitely wants to be there, having missed the trip to Vancouver.
"It's a long way away," Reynolds said, speaking of Sochi. "Anything can happen in three years and a bit. I'm hopeful."
"This year, I've been thinking about it a lot," Chan said. "I'm going to take it year by year, and then see how that will play out, if I'm still healthy, if I still want to skate."
But an Olympic gold medal is always on his mind, he said. He wants to try it again.
But for now, there's a competition ahead of them, and although Chan is ranked nine spots higher than Reynolds at the world championship level, he knows this week won't be "a walk in the park." He admits he feels a bit of pressure. "I just want to stay on my toes and be focused," he said.
That will be easier for him than before. Last year, in Olympic season, he admits he lacked confidence. He has it this year, especially after winning the Grand Prix Final. He has a lingering cold, that worries him a little, but it's gradually getting better. He's not coughing as much, he said.
But he's on top of his training, and ready to go. It will be quite a fight.
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