Winter Games Athletes
Chan has spent the past four years working to get back to the Olympics after finishing a disappointing fifth in his home country in 2010, when he said he felt like a “deer in the headlights.” The Vancouver Games were Chan’s first after emerging as a medal contender over the previous two seasons with four golds in international events and a second-place finish at the 2009 worlds, and he thinks having the experience of being on the Olympic stage will help in Sochi. So will being the most dominant men’s skater in the sport since Vancouver. Chan has won gold in the past three world championships and finished on top of nine other international events since 2010, along with winning his seventh straight Canadian crown in January. Chan is widely considered the best skater in the world, but that status took a bit of a hit at the Grand Prix Final in December, where he won silver and finished well behind Japanese teen sensation Yuzuru Hanyu. That competition was on Hanyu’s home turf, however, something Chan said he felt gave Hanyu a major advantage, but Hanyu’s performance was enough for former Canadian legend Elvis Stojko to pronounce him the favorite in Sochi over Chan. If Hanyu can skate two more flawless programs, he may be right. Both he and the other top Japanese men have two triple axels in their long program, while Chan only has one. But with a track record better than any over the past four years, Chan could wind up doing what neither Stojko nor any other male Canadian skater has done in Olympic history: win gold.