Patrick Chan has upped the quad ante.
The Toronto skater, who was once vocal in his belief that he didn't need the four-revolution jump to win gold, has added a second quad jump to his long program.
"I just like to put out a challenge for myself, honestly," Chan said in a conference call Friday from his training base in Colorado Springs, Colo. "It's a great challenge and I can't wait to do it."
The 20-year-old, who landed his first quad in competition at Skate Canada in October, will attempt two for the first time next week at the Canadian figure skating championships in Victoria — a test run, he said, for this March at the world championships, where he'll be a favourite to win gold.
"We [he and his coaches] agreed that there was no better time to try," said Chan, who will be gunning for his fourth Canadian senior title.
The quad has been a topic of debate in men's skating for years, and Chan had steadfastly argued he shouldn't need one to be able to win. But that was before he mastered the four-revolution jump this past off-season and became one of its biggest fans.
Chan's exquisite footwork, spins and interpretation of the music already put him in world-class company, but adding the quad vaulted the Canadian to a new level, and he won the Grand Prix Final in December for his first international title.
He'll need the quad, he said, to beat defending world champion Daisuke Takahashi, plus Japanese teammates Nobunari Oda and Takahiko Kozuka, at the worlds in Tokyo.
"I'm going to need it this year for sure," said Chan, who's been battling a cold all week. "When Daisuke is pushing the bar, and Nobu and Takahiko are doing quads as well, it's only fair for me to do the same, and I have to keep up with them."
Chan opens his long program with back-to-back quads, so they're out of the way in the first 45 seconds. That was a strategic move, Chan said, to allow him to quickly get back into the performance and mood of the program, to music from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera."
"I do the quad at one end and then take a little bit of a roundabout and set up for the second one," Chan said. "The coaches joke around, they're like 'Man, you just did probably 22-plus points (his best total score in the long program is 174.16) in less than a minute in your program."'
Adding a second quad toe loop allowed Chan to nix one of his triple Axels, a jump he finds more troublesome than the quad.
"The triple Axel is not my forte," he said. "It's still a work in progress. At this point in my career, patience is a virtue."
Chan said he's been practising his long program with two quads for the past two weeks, and had a flawless run through in practice earlier this week.
"It was a good feeling being able to put out a program like that," Chan said, "and now I have the confidence going to nationals knowing that I have done the full program with two quads landed."