Early Life and Career
The only child of Chinese immigrants from
Chan’s first international medal came with a third-place finish in the novice event in the 2003 North American Skate Challenge in Thornhill, Ontario. He then moved up to the junior men’s category and in 2005 placed seventh at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships and first in a Junior Grand Prix event in Montréal. The following year he advanced to sixth at the World Junior Championships.
After Colson’s death in 2006, Chan briefly trained under Ellen Burka and Shin Amano in Toronto, and then with Don Laws in Florida. In 2007, he took silver at the World Junior Championships.
Canadian Men's Champion
Following his second place finish at the junior world championships, Chan joined the senior men’s ranks, where he began to accumulate an impressive series of national and international medals and championships. His first international win as a senior was at the 2007 Trophée Eric Bompard competition in France.
Chan won his first Canadian Figure Skating Championships senior men’s title in 2008, beating defending champion Jeffrey Buttle (who later became world champion and eventually Chan’s choreographer). At 17, Chan was the second-youngest Canadian men’s champion (Charles Snelling was 16 when he won the men’s championship in 1954.)
International Career 2008–2010
Chan first competed in the senior men’s event at the World Figure Skating Championships in 2008, placing ninth. His programs lacked two key elements: the triple axel jump (three-and-a-half revolutions in the air, from a forward outside skate edge) and the quadruple jump (four revolutions in the air, the most difficult jump in figure skating). Despite this, Chan quickly became a fixture on international medal podiums, and won Skate Canada International (2008).
In 2009, after adding triple axel jumps to his routines, he again won the Canadian Championships (in Saskatoon), and then the Four Continents event. At the World Championships that year he climbed to second place, still without a quadruple jump.
Chan placed fifth at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, under great pressure on home soil and working with a new coach, Christy Krall. The next month, he rebounded to earn another silver medal at the World Championships.
At the urging of fellow competitors, Chan added quadruple jumps to his programs in autumn 2010 events. He won Skate Canada International 2010 as well as the 2010 and 2011 Grand Prix Finals.
World Champion 2011-13
In 2011, Chan won every competition he entered, including his first world title (setting world records for points in the short program, long program and overall score), the Grand Prix Final, and Skate Canada International. This feat earned him many accolades, including the 2011 Lou Marsh Award and Lionel Conacher Award. In 2012 he again won gold at the Canadian Championships and the World Championships.
Shortly after this success, Chan began training under a new coach, Kathy Johnson. He continued to dominate the sport through 2012 and 2013, winning the Four Continents event in 2012 and Skate Canada International in 2013.
Chan won his sixth Canadian men’s figure skating championship in 2013, followed by his seventh national championship in 2014. He won his third consecutive world title at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships, where he placed first in the short program with record marks and performed two quadruple jumps in the free program.
2014 Olympic Silver Medallist
At the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Chan performed the men’s short program for
Career Since 2014
Chan took a break from competition during the 2014–15 figure skating season, but returned the following season. He has since won the Skate Canada International competition (2015, 2016) and the Four Continents Championship (2016), as well as the Canadian national championships (2016, 2017). With 10 national titles in total, he has broken the record set by Montgomery Wilson in 1939.
2018 Olympic Winter Games
Chan competed in both the men’s singles and the team event at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. In the team event, he finished third in the men’s short program and first in the men’s free skate, while strong performances by Kaetlyn Osmond, Gabrielle Daleman, ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and pair skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford cemented the Canadian team’s dominance.
A few days after winning gold with Team Canada, Chan was skating in the men’s singles competition. He finished ninth overall, after a strong but conservative free skate that incorporated two quadruple jumps; a contrast to many of his competitors, including Japanese gold medallist Yuzuru Hanyu, who landed four, and American Nathan Chen, who included six in his routine.
Chan has skated with the ice shows Festa On Ice, All That Skate LA, and Stars on Ice on tour.
A Canadian Legacy
Chan is one in a long line of Canadian men’s singles world champion figure skaters, from Donald Jackson in 1962 to Donald McPherson, Brian Orser, Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko and Jeffrey Buttle. Chan’s reputation for artistic interpretation builds on the legacy of such Canadian skaters as Orser and Toller Cranston. Judges have awarded him record scores for his combined mastery of jumps, footwork, spins, athleticism, artistry and musicality, though critics started using the term “Chanflation” in 2011 to question some of those high scores.
Olympic Winter Games
Men’s competition: silver (2014)
Team event: gold (2018), silver (2014)
|World Senior Championships||
Gold (2013, 2012, 2011)
Silver (2010, 2009)
|World Junior Championships||Silver (2007)|
|Four Continents Championships||Gold (2016, 2012, 2009)|
|Grand Prix Final||
Gold (2011, 2010)
Grand Prix Events
Trophée Eric Bompard
Skate Canada International
Gold (2013, 2011, 2008, 2007)
Gold (2016, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2008) Silver (2012)
|Canadian National Senior Championships||Gold (2018, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008)|
|Canadian National Junior Championships||Gold (2005)|
Honours and Awards
- Chinese Canadian Youth of the Year, TD Canada Trust (2007)
- Jean Lumb Award, Jean Lumb Foundation (2007 and 2012)
- Asian of the Year in Arts and Sports, Asia Network magazine (2008)
- Ontario Male Athlete of the Year, Ontario Sports Awards (2009)
- Canadian Athlete of the Year, CBCSports.ca (2011)
- Lionel Conacher Award for Male Athlete of the Year, Canadian Press (2011)
- Lou Marsh Award for outstanding Canadian athlete of the year, Toronto Star (2011)
- Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)
- French for the Future (Inaugural) John Ralston Saul Award (2012)