Patrick Chan was asked Thursday why he was competing at Skate Canada this weekend, despite still feeling an occasional twinge in his injured left calf.
The 18-year-old Canadian champion said he wanted to show his new program and his recovery to international judges, and this would be the last opportunity before the Olympics in February.
What they saw in Kitchener, Ont., on Saturday was a difficult choreography that will likely, if mastered, put Chan in the medals at Vancouver.
They also saw a young man with a lot of work to do between now and the Canadian championships at London in January, his next scheduled appearance.
Chan fell three times in his long program on the way to a sixth-place overall finish, including a breathtaking miss off a triple. After coming off the ice to a standing ovation, Chan said physically, things were all right.
"The second axel [his first fall] was just a normal fall — it just looked more painful than it really was," Chan told CBC Sports.
"It was more what it caused me physically, because mentally it really drained me getting back up, having to build up my speed again, especially with the complex steps going into the next jump."
Explanations aside, Chan said he was "disappointed" in his performance because of how hard he trained "and it didn't really show."
As for being ready for the national championships, there was no question, he said.
"[Skate Canada] is only one of the stages leading up to the Olympics. This was a good testing ground."
Chan's score of 130.13 for the free, including three points in deductions, was far below his personal best of 160.29. The total of 198.77 was more than 50 points behind his best previous combined mark.
Jeremy Abbott of the United States, who led following Friday's short program, won the gold medal with a strong performance that accentuated his long limbs and athleticism.
Daisuke Takahashi of Japan won the silver with Alban Preaubert of France third.
Canadian Joey Russell was 10th overall and Jeremy Ten was 12th.
Chan started strong
Chan's performance, to Phantom of the Opera, opened on a strong note with a nice triple-double combination, and another one shortly afterward.
But past the halfway mark he tried another triple that included those unintentional splits, pulled himself together and missed another jump 20 seconds later.
The Toronto native had what was described as a slight tear in his left calf muscle at the end of the summer, forcing him to pull out of the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, the season's second Grand Prix event.
He said on Thursday the calf was ready to go, despite some twinges on triple axels and triple toe loops.