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Silver medallists Chan, Virtue, Moir to skip skating worlds

The Canadian Press

3/3/2014 5:47:44 PM

OTTAWA - Toronto's Patrick Chan is giving the world championships a miss, but he isn't finished with competitive figure skating just yet.

Chan captured two silver medals at last month's Sochi Winter Games — men's singles and the inaugural team event. But he doesn't have the urge to resume training to defend his world title when the event is held in Saitama, Japan, later this month.

However, the 23-year-old said he's committed to chasing a fourth world championship at some point.

"Honestly, I know in my heart I want to win another world championship ... I really don't feel like this is the end," Chan said during a conference call. "(After Sochi) I asked myself if I could see myself training at the immediate moment, like right now could I go into training like I did before the Games?

"I really didn't see that as a possibility. I already went to a world championships after an Olympic Games (2010 in Vancouver) so I really wanted to enjoy coming home and enjoying the medal and enjoying it with the rest of Canada this time because I didn't have that chance last time. I really wanted to enjoy myself with these two medals."

Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who also earned two silver medals in Sochi, won't compete at the world championships either. Both were non-commital about their future but the expectation is the two-time world champions and 2010 Olympic champions will retire.

"We weren't sure how we'd feel after the Olympics in Sochi and we ended on such a high note," Virtue said. "We were so pleased with our performances, both short and free dance, and just thrilled with the experience we had at the Olympics it just seems like the right way to end the season.

"Kind of a nice way to say good-bye to those two programs."

Virtue and Moir finished second in Sochi to Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, with the two teams sharing the same coach, Russian Marina Zoueva. Afterwards, the Canadians publicly questioned Zoueva's loyalties.

"Some of the things we were honest about at that press conference would come as no surprise to Marina," Virtue said. "She was very aware of the situation.

"We travelled to Moscow and did two shows after the closing ceremonies and Meryl and Charlie also did their shows and it was a really nice way to cap off the Olympics with spending time with the two of them in a care-free, fun environment where we could just talk about our experiences. I think we probably talked more in that day than we have in the past few years because the pressure was off and we were able to just chat as friends again. It was a nice way to end that chapter with them."

While their competitive seasons are over, Moir, Virtue and Chan won't be hanging up their blades. All three will tour and perform with Stars on Ice.

"I think we're more comfortable trying to take advantage of some of the opportunities after an Olympic Games," Moir said. "We're very much at peace with where we're at."

Chan was second at the 2010 world championships after finishing fifth at the Vancouver Games, winning his first global crown the following year.

The 23-year-old had a glorious opportunity to win gold in Sochi after 19-year-old rival Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan struggled in his free skate.

But Chan couldn't take advantage. Twice he faltered during jumps, putting his hand on the ice to keep from falling, and stumbled on a third in settling for the silver behind Hanyu.

Chan said he, Virtue and Moir attended a function Monday with Caroline Ouellette, a member of Canada's gold medal-winning women's hockey team. Chan admitted he was somewhat envious of Ouellette's medal.

"A gold medal is really, really nice and it's different and I definitely get a spell of jealousy," he said. "At the same time I have to look at the experience I had and how different of a sport figure skating is.

"These silver medals were not easy to get, they were probably just as hard as a gold medal is. One or two mistakes too many and just in that moment it came out of my grasp. It's a bit of a reminder but again it's also a good challenge to kind of stay positive and look at the brighter side of things."

Canada will send a 17-member team at the world championships.

Olympian Kevin Reynolds, who was 15th at Sochi, will lead Canada's three-man singles team in Japan when the competition begins March 24.

Both of Canada's women from the Sochi Games are entered in the worlds. Kaetlyn Osmond was 13th in Russia, and Gabrielle Daleman 17th.

Other Canadian Olympians who will compete at Saitama are Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who were seventh in pairs; Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, who were fifth; and Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers, who came 14th.

Ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, seventh at Sochi, and Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, 18th, will compete at the worlds.