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Chan's win just first step

Sixth straight Canadian title stepping stone to Olympic gold in Sochi

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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- He now has six consecutive Canadian senior titles to go with his two world crowns, but Patrick Chan still has unfinished business.

"There's still a lot more ahead of me. Way more ahead of me. I think I won't be satisfied until I win Olympic gold," Chan said Saturday night.

The 22-year-old from Toronto had just claimed national title No. 6 at the Canadian figure skating championships, scoring 273.75 points for his dramatic program to Puccini's La Boheme.

Chan landed two huge quad jumps but doubled his planned triple Axel and fell on his triple flip -- leaving him still in search of that perfect program in what's been a rocky season a year out from the Sochi Olympics.

"I would have liked to have done it here ideally, going into London," he said, referring to the world championships in March in London, Ont. "I'm a little disappointed in the skate, I was disappointed that I couldn't keep the focus into the Axel and then through the rest of the program."

Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., won the silver with 261.26, landing two clean quads and stumbling on the landing of a third. Andrei Rogozine of Richmond Hill, Ont., scored 207.85 to finish third.

Kaetlyn Osmond, a 17-year-old from Marytown, N.L., claimed her first Canadian title, easily winning the women's singles with 201.34 points.

"It felt so great, all I can remember is halfway through my program I was like, 'OK, I've done so good so far let's just keep going with it,"' Osmond said. "And after my program I just took the deepest sigh of relief."

Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., who just turned 15 last week, won the silver with 163.90, while 16-year-old Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., finished third.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford captured their second straight national pairs title, edging Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch by two points.

And in ice dance, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir take a large lead into today's free dance.

Chan, who had been the world's most consistent skater for more than a year, hasn't been at his best this season, finishing second at Skate Canada and third at the Grand Prix Final.

He said he's not concerned that his best could be behind him. But he said the improvement needs to come in his psychological approach to skating, not in his physical ability.

"I am happy with how I am physically, I'm strong, I have the jumps. It's just being comfortable to do like what I did today, to step out and be like, 'Yeah, I want to be here, Kevin (Reynolds) skated great but I'm going to skate better.'

"I want to give a good show to the audience, I want a standing ovation at the end, that well-deserved standing ovation. It's easy to do it here at nationals, but can I do this at the Olympics, can I do this at worlds, can I do it when I'm overseas and not in Canada? That's the next step for me."

Chan said he draws inspiration from hockey star Sidney Crosby -- the two share a trainer in Andy O'Brien. Chan and O'Brien were talking recently about Canada's disastrous fourth-place finish at the world junior hockey championships.

"These young guys... they might be playing for the Windsor Spitfires or the Mississauga Steelheads or whatever, and they're the best on the team, but once they go up to the international level, you're just another fish in the pond, right?" Chan said.

"(O'Brien) used the example of Sid. He is the best of all time, the closest thing to the next Wayne Gretzky. He tells me the reason Sid is so good so consistently is that he's always striving to be the best, he's always looking at how to be better for the next game and better than everyone else."

Osmond, meanwhile, could finally give Canadians a women's skater to cheer for on the international stage. Canada has been weak in the event since Joannie Rochette's bronze-medal performance at the 2010 Olympics.

Osmond fell on a double Axel but otherwise skated a clean program to Carmen.

She joked about how she was the oldest on the podium, and admitted to feeling the unfamiliar weight of expectations.

"I felt a little bit of pressure going in today, I was a little more nervous than usual, but when I got on the ice, I just felt like any other competition, I felt great," Osmond said.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 20, 2013 B10

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