Chan hopes change will help him take ‘next step’

World champion figure skater Patrick Chan is embracing change in his quest for Olympic gold in 2014.

Fresh off a two-week vacation in Singapore and Bali, the 21-year-old from Toronto arrived in Halifax on Tuesday to kick off a fundraising tour that will see him traverse the nation before he immerses himself in off-season training.

He’ll not only have a new coach and choreographer — both yet to be named — he also plans to select new music, implement two new programs, and continue working on his quad jump.

“There’s always room to improve and a lot of different things are going to happen,” Chan told media at a press conference at BMO Centre in Hammonds Plains.

Chan has seen his career take flight since a fifth-place finish at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Along with back-to-back world championships, he has also set world records in all three scoring categories — short program, free program and total score — and won the 2011 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

“I haven’t announced it yet. I’m going to wait (to do) it. It’s still in the experimental stage. We haven’t started any work or chosen any music. Until I have a program done, I’m not going to make any announcements.” — Patrick Chan, on his coaching and choreographer changes

While he’s proud of those accomplishments, he said the changes he’s making will challenge him to “make that next step” in his career.

“I’ve decided to do two brand new programs which isn’t very common of me — I usually keep one of my programs, but I wanted to experiment and expand to another area of my skating ability,” said Chan, who spent the day signing autographs, visiting the IWK and hosting a dinner at Casino Nova Scotia.

“It’s going to be quite interesting to try different choreographer and hopefully I’ll have a good season next year.”

Those changes, combined with the valuable experience he gained in Vancouver, could help him in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, where he hopes to become the first Canadian men’s figure skater to win Olympic gold.

“We’ve always had very good skaters and good skating development, but we’ve never been on top,” Chan said. “To have that finally, in Canada, would be amazing. There’s a first for everything, so hopefully I’m the one.”

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