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Thread: The truth behind Patrick Chan's China crisis

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    The truth behind Patrick Chan's China crisis

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...2274646/page1/

    “He does have a bit of a lack of filter,” said William Thompson, chief executive officer for Skate Canada. “We all know that. That is part of his charm, but sometimes his mouth gets a little bit ahead of his thoughts.”
    In English, Mr. Chan tends to talk in a stream-of-consciousness fashion and the words sometimes tumble out like freshets of water, uninhibited. After all, English is not his first language. It is his third.

    At home, his father speaks French to him; his mother Cantonese. They thought it would be a good idea for their son to speak several languages, and they left it up to him to pick up English in his daily life. From the beginning, he attended a French school.

    “French is a little easier for me,” he said. “I'm quite direct and to the point. With English, I sometimes add more drama to it.”
    Instead of having one coach who could do every task, they now have Team Chan, as they call it, which consists of Peter Davis, the former sports science director for the U.S. Olympic Committee, who oversees Mr. Chan's program; Lori Nichol, a world-renowned choreographer; Kathy Johnson, a movement and balance coach; Andy O'Brien, a strength, fitness and nutrition coach who lives in Calgary; heralded physiotherapist Mark Lindsay, and Eddie Shipstead, who used special harnesses hanging from the ceiling to help Mr. Chan learn how to do quads without getting hurt.

    “There is no snowflake unturned, just to make sure we're doing the right thing for him because he wants to be so good,” Ms. Krall said. “It's a lot of expense, but that's what it takes to be a thoroughbred.”
    However, Mr. Thompson, the Skate Canada official, said Mr. Chan does receive “significant support” from the Canada's Own the Podium program, which targets Olympic medal prospects. The money from that can be used to pay coaching, choreography, fitness training or any off-ice activity.

    Skate Canada pays the costs of coaches to competitions, Mr. Thompson says, adding that Mr. Chan earns some prize money and even has a private sponsorship that Skate Canada arranged. He has one anonymous sponsor, an individual who gives “not a ton of money, but it's definitely not insignificant.”

    Mr. Chan also has a long-standing corporate deal with McDonald's restaurants. But it has been extremely difficult to find sponsors, his father says. Lewis Chan admits there is “a fair gap” between his son's expenses and the financial support they receive from associations and the government.

    The family has had to resort to fundraising dinners to bridge that gap. In September, a crowd of 400 attended a “sumptuous Chinese buffet” at $130 a ticket. The event offered sponsorship packages and program advertising opportunities.

    “The China [support] comment was unfortunate,” said Michael Alexander, a Toronto lawyer who supports Mr. Chan and attended the fundraiser. “But Patrick is an elite athlete. He's not a political scientist.”

    He added that the majority of the people who went to the banquet were from the Chinese-Canadian community. “If it weren't for the concerted effort of Chinese Canadians for Patrick, he wouldn't be able to train,” Mr. Alexander said.
    In Toronto, the Chans live in a 900-square-foot condo, and when their son comes home, he does not have his own bedroom. He sleeps in the den. The condo in Colorado Springs – where the real-estate market is depressed – is slightly larger. There, Mr. Chan has his own bedroom – and bathroom. He does not have a television. He does not watch one. He's too busy training.
    Last edited by Bluebonnet; 12-17-2011 at 05:47 PM.

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    Who's the political director of Chan's extended coaching team to lobby judges?

    I hate that Chan has been overscored over and over. However, I do feel sympathetic to skaters like Chan. It seems people no longer like figure skating in NA. Poor Chan, he could only live in a condo .His family has made such a sacrifice to his skating.

    Interesting comment:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...4646/comments/

    Its a travesty that atheletes who prosper in sports where they are judged subjectively are elegible for awards like the Marxsh trophy. Most are a joke and figure skating gets the biggest laugh
    Do you agree?
    Last edited by skateflower; 12-17-2011 at 06:14 PM.

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    That's a pretty boneheaded comment that the Globe and Mail person made--as if being part of a judged sport means that the athletic demands are less. I remember an incident during the run-up to the 1980 Winter Olympics. A number of athletes (skiers and suchlike) along with Randy Gardner were put through some conditioning exercises. Randy was in the best condition of the bunch. But of course no one on a board like GS needs to be convinced of that. We're here because we like and admire skating.

    Chan is an admirable athlete. While I generally root for Takahashi first and foremost, I'm impressed with what Patrick has achieved and with his work ethic. It's exhausting just contemplating the details of his training regimen. He's always exciting to watch, and I know he'll just get better and better. When you realize the sacrifices his parents have made, his achievements are even more praiseworthy, and so are theirs. I'm sorry he came along at a moment when skating doesn't get much respect or support in North America, but maybe he's the one who will turn the tide. I'm glad he got the Marsh Trophy, and if "sports experts" like the writer at the Toronto newspaper who wrote that statement followed him around for a day or so instead of looking at the spangled costumes of skating, he'd agree that Patrick is a worthy recipient.

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    ^ It wasn't a Globe and Mail person who said that. That comment was by an anonymous reader. Other readers rated the comment -3.

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    Patrick's costumes are less spangled, as far as I have seen. it brings up a point that has been made many times but bears repeating. Competition costumes are highly "judged" by all but especially casual viewers, and certain skaters/nations pushed mens costumes over the top years ago. There is a trend toward just black this year for the men, plainer costumes in many elites. I personally like this.

    i miss Johnny Weir's skating, but when I saw photos of him in tights, heels, shirtless, mucho makeup, I could only imagine what the general public might presume about skaters and skating. So, I may have missed some sequinned costumes, but I like that Patrick projects the athlete next door in his costumes this year anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ^ It wasn't a Globe and Mail person who said that. That comment was by an anonymous reader. Other readers rated the comment -3.
    Oh, thanks for the correction, Math. I just read the quote in the post and didn't chase down the link to read the article. It deserves a negative GOE.

    By the way, skateluvr, I meant "spangled costumes" in the general sense, not that Patrick wears them. Thank goodness he dresses more simply. One of my favorite costumes ever was the one Paul Martini generally wore as a pro: jeans and a shirt. I know this pits me against a large part of the Russian Federation, but since I have no authority at all over what people will wear, I might as well express myself.

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    I was not a big fan of Patrick before this article, but now that I know the truth, I've changed.

    Imagine, the tough life this boy has. Let me list all of his problems:
    *Once he won a competition, but he didn't break a world record because he fell too many times

    *Cruel people question the system when he wins while falling, instead of just accepting that the judges know best and the point system is perfect.

    *Nobody even says this to his face, but complain on the Internet, but hey, that's bad enough.

    * He only has a sponsorship deal with McDonald's, and not every other multinational corporation

    * His $130 a plate fundraiser wasn't diverse enough, lacking in White, Black, and Latino Canadians.

    * He's forced to speak in a language he doesn't like, even though it's the language of the city he grew up in, IIRC.

    * One of his family's two homes isn't very big.

    My eyes are filling with tears. He reminds me of Rudy Galindo, who lost his entire support system to AIDS or heart attacks in a single year or so. Or Joannie or Angela, whose mothers died unexpectedly at skating events. Or Tonya or Nancy or Elizabeth Punsalan, who came from families with violent and crazy relatives (assuming Tonya was telling the truth, of course). Now we have the family whose second home isn't big enough. When will it end?

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    I thought the article was very humanizing. It shows the struggles that all skating families go through but that we (at least I) wouldn't expect to see someone of Patrick's exceptional achievements to be stuck at. It makes his complaints more understandable. Unfortunately, it hurts, rather than helps, him to voice them publicly so he still has to learn how to deal with the media, for his own sake.

    The satire in your post is rather mean-spirited IMO, Poodlepal. No one claims Patrick is suffering. That wasn't the point (reread the last paragraph):
    Lewis Chan says he is not complaining about his lot in life and he is doing what any parent would to help a child. “Some athletes can barely afford a nutritional meal,” he said. “There are lots of people worse off than Patrick. But we have to make every dollar count.”
    It's more that his family has made a huge investment in him and it's not yet breaking even, let alone paying off. Surprising. Says a lot about the state of our sport.

    BTW, re: the support of the Chinese-Canadian community - thank heavens he has that, but I wish he didn't need it. Anyone would rather earn their own way than have to have charity dinners given for them. I know I would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal View Post
    My eyes are filling with tears.
    Crocodile tears!

    Quote Originally Posted by skateflower View Post
    Who's the political director of Chan's extended coaching team to lobby judges?
    Unless you have any fact to prove it, this kind of talk isn't going anywhere. It can only show that you're getting desperate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    It's more that his family has made a huge investment in him and it's not yet breaking even, let alone paying off. Surprising. Says a lot about the state of our sport.
    Johnny Weir's situation was so much better than Patrick Chan's. Johnny was from a middle class family with no strong financial background, and he didn't even have international big title. But he was able to support his brother's college expenses and still had the luxury for his famous brand bags and clothes.

    To tell the truth, I do not envy Patrick. His and his family's effort and struggle! It is once more proved that this is not going to be a popular sport.
    Last edited by Bluebonnet; 12-18-2011 at 12:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    Johnny Weir's situation was so much better than Patrick Chan's. Johnny was from a middle class family with no strong financial background, and he didn't even have international big title. But he was able to support his brother's college expenses and still had the luxury for his famous brand bags and clothes.
    "Comparisons are odious." Shakespeare
    I don't think this is a fair comparison because unless I'm mistaken you don't know that much about Johnny's situation. Do you know how much he was able to support his brother's college expenses, or for how long? Do you know for sure that he didn't get those designer things at thrift stores or for free (designers often give or lend their stuff to celebrities for PR purposes)? And so on. Johnny is well off now (I suppose -- but people often live beyond their means, so I'm not even sure of that), but when he was competing, I don't think so. For starters he lived in Lyndhurst. That is about as unfashionable as you can get! (It's the next town over from me in NJ.) I don't know that he had any endorsements, let alone McDonald's. He also probably couldn't dream of spending what Patrick does on his "team." I had the impression Johnny's family was closer to working class than what some people would mean by "middle class." But I really don't know. I'm not sure why you brought him up. Their situations are not very similar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    Do you know for sure that he didn't get those designer things at thrift stores or for free
    Oh, I've never thought about this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    I'm not sure why you brought him up. Their situations are not very similar.
    Why can't I? No one has exactly the same situation. I just thought probably in US the situation is better. But I've never thought about thrift store and free stuff. The difference in their situation is that Chan has a Worlds title. Chan has McDonald's sponser. Chan has a team.

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    I don't think Patrick's parents are "investing" in his skating career for financial reasons at all. Patrick has been an outstanding athlete from a young age and they could have guided him to take up a lucrative sport. I think they are extremely understanding and supportive parents because they are athletes themselves. Patrick is the only child probably because his parents realized they couldn't afford another child!

    The family is certainly looking ahead to his career after skating that may actually and hopefully be financially rewarding. I am quite impressed with the only quote I know from Mrs Chan, "He can excel in something else too besides skating" referring to her son's next career.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    I don't think Patrick's parents are "investing" in his skating career for financial reasons at all. Patrick has been an outstanding athlete from a young age and they could have guided him to take up a lucrative sport. I think they are extremely understanding and supportive parents because they are athletes themselves. Patrick is the only child probably because his parents realized they couldn't afford another child!
    Neither do I. His parents' sacrifice and devotion for their son's talent and dream is admirable.

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    I think it would be really nice if this forum had a single Patrick Chan thread where all the updates could go, rather than a new thread every time he does something or somebody writes about him.

    "The Truth about Patrick Chan" makes it sound as if he's been involved in nefarious activities that will now be exposed; kind of overkill for an article about his financial situation, no? I have to wonder if the financial side of Chan's career is being handled as well as it could. He is not the only skater not to come from an affluent background. He's making more prize money than most skaters, he has sponsorships (though clearly not as many as he'd like), he gets invited to do shows, and he cannot possibly be spending more than everyone else in the sport: he lived at home until two years ago, he keeps each program he has choreographed for two years, and he's not getting new costumes for each competition like Tessa Virtue. Why is it that we hear about his financial issues, but not about other skaters'? Is he really that much worse off than other people in the sport, and if so, why? Maybe "Team Chan" needs to be smaller. Maybe, if he's hurting for funds so badly, he should taken the ISU up on the three-GP option, which would have guaranteed him quite a nice sum. There are always choices.

    If Patrick is feeling a little underappreciated, I'd say there's some basis for that. It's not like all Canadians are getting behind him [financially].
    That is a very unfortunate quote, so I'm glad it did not come from Patrick or his family. I wasn't aware that all Canadians were required to support anyone, be it Patrick, Joannie, Clara Hughes or anyone else.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    I didn't mean it in any negative way at all. The family committed to very large expenditures so Patrick could do his very best. As recently as Michelle Kwan, such an investment was amply rewarded in her winnings and endorsements, which have helped her transition into another career altogether. (Cf. Condi Rice inviting Kwan to be a kind of diplomat.) It would be very reasonable of Patrick's parents to expect a similar outcome for their son, but the decline of the sport has so far thwarted that expectation. Nobody in their right mind would go into or invest in skating as a financial opportunity. But suitable compensation for one who reaches the very top, such as has been given to others in the past (Kurt Browning being another example)? A very reasonable expectation. "Investment" as I used it is a metaphor, not a business proposition.

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