I remember that the great Tarasova stood up and cheered for Patrick after his long.
He is also a skaters skater and nearly all of them will show you their appreciation of his skills.
His skills with the blade are most noticeable when he is skating in a practice with other high ranked skaters.
To his credit, he continued to be there through it all. To me, he has his pre-Krall period where he was golden, his Krall period where everything tensed up too tightly (even when he skated astoundingly well), and finally, now, his new period where he has set himself free and can have a focus that is all of comfortable, commanding and intense. I am talking about what seems to be his mental space as much as his skating space. I thought it was a rather ironic and beautiful statement of his power that he skated his short at Skate Canada with out a quad (totally Krall-less) and established, in my mind, for the first time fully his self as his own skater. He was at Skate Canada able to show that he was in a space that was his own and that no one else can touch him. In that space, nothing can affect his skating, not even bad interviews or stories. (Nevertheless, aside from his skating space, I wish that he would start avoiding certain reporters. He should have learned by now which ones they are.)
Regarding mental space and pressure, I am now more worrying about other skaters finding theirs, so that they can skate their best. (If everyone skates their best, we all win no matter what the result.) I think Patrick has and can find his space to deal with the pressure, as shown at Skate Canada. And as regards his reputation, the sport really is about skating for most of us, right? The other stuff we talk about, acknowledge and has some secondary importance (and often legitimately choose who we like and want to win), but we really are here first and foremost to laud great skating. But for Patrick this year, he can handle the pressure.
He was under quite a bit of pressure and high expectations in Vancouver, given that it was a home Olympics. Has he said what factors contributed to his somewhat disappointing showing there, and specifically has he done something which will help him address it this time (on a mental preparation basis in particular)? Obviously he has much more experience under his belt, as well as some additional years of personal maturity. But does he work with a sports psychologist (for instance)?