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Chan takes inspiration from Lysacek's rise to gold

Canada's Patrick Chan stumbles during the men's free skating figure skating competition at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 18, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray


Patrick Chan says Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek helped him "feel better and move on" after a disappointing fifth-place finish at his first Games last month.

It's not what the 25-year-old American figure skater said or did. Quite the opposite, in fact.

First, there is Lysacek's gold - not the one around his neck in Vancouver, but the one he didn't win four years ago at his rookie Games in Turin. If Lysacek could rebound after a fourth-place finish, 20-year-old Chan figures he could trade fifth for a podium in four years, too.

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Second, there's the quad. Specifically, Lysacek's lack of one. Unlike the quadruple-twisting Evgeni Plushenko of Russia (who took silver in Vancouver), Lysacek won with triples. Chan is still working on adding the difficult jump to his repertoire but says Lysacek's gold shows he can win without them, too.

Third, Lysacek isn't showing up at the world championships in Turin, Italy, next week to challenge Chan's goal of becoming world champion. Instead of defending his title against Plushenko on March 22, Lysacek will be wearing dancing shoes on the reality television show, Dancing With the Stars, which debuts the same day.

The show also features Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and Jake Pavelka of The Bachelor. Chan, silver medalist at last year's world championships, will cheer for Lysacek.

"I'm glad he's having fun." Chan said.

Despite a "stupid" fall, Chan says he has emerged from the Olympics a renewed and more confident skater. From Lysacek's inspirational win, to the roar of the hometown crowd, to the realization that he could skate his long program and still have enough stamina to do it again - he has learned to trust himself and his training, he says.

It has been a long season for Chan. Early on, he missed key competitions with a calf injury. He fired his coach about a month before the Games. He went into Vancouver, he said, doubting his own ability to withstand the pressure.

"At the Olympics. I still had a bit of a doubt that I couldn't be the best. I didn't trust the training as much as I could have," he said.

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Three weeks later, he is calmer and more confident, both in his new coach, Lori Nichol, and in himself. "The Olympics definitely opened my eyes to my potential. I never really gave myself the opportunity to congratulate myself in a way," he said.

He has spent the past two weeks training in Colorado, living in a house with friends, instead of alone in a hotel room in Florida where he used to train. While he's not on the ice, he's been busy tweeting under his Twitter account (PChiddy), about great John Mayer tunes, his love of Thai food and Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and his hunt for a new mountain bike.

His new outlook bodes well not only for world championships, he says, but his career four years from now.

"It's amazing what the Olympics does to you. It really numbs you. It numbs your excitement for the rest of the year," he said. "I really haven't dwelled on going to worlds … It's a lot less stressful."

Even without Lysacek, however, Chan expects to have his hands full.

"I can tell you that I'll be a little scared if I do beat Evgeni," he said. "I'm sure that that would definitely push all his buttons."

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