World champion Patrick Chan's still got it. No, I'm not talking about the ability to land gorgeous quadruple jumps or perform glorious footwork. He's still got the ability to open his mouth and insert his foot.
Yesterday, Reuters published the article "Chan Trapped Between Two Worlds," which sounded a little odd to me but I thought it would be a nice article discussing Chan's Chinese heritage (his parents are Chinese immigrants). And it was, partly. Until this graf:
"If you look at all the sports in China, the government is extremely involved and they are extremely proud of their athletes. People understand better what we do as skaters," Chan told Reuters in a telephone interview ahead of this week's Grand Prix Final in Quebec.
"Sometimes I feel we are not appreciated for how much work we put in. If my parents hadn't emigrated from China and say I had skated for China, things would have been very different. My parents wouldn't have had to make as much sacrifices as they have and there would be a lot more respect for what we do as figure skaters.
"I'm extremely well recognized in Korea just because of what I do on the ice and there is a lack of that in Canada because hockey is our sport and it will be for eternity. Figure skating has lost the draw and the attention (it used to have before)."
Chan goes on to say he used to feel more Canadian. But now he feels more Chinese because he is more appeciated by China for his skating. He says, "I do (wish I could have represented both China and Canada when I compete). That would be the ideal situation....in a perfect world." UM, didn't Chan get himself some P/R folks when he was stepping in it a few years ago and annoying everyone by talking about how he didn't need quad jumps? Does he never learn?
The Canadian press has pounced. According to the Globe and Mail:
Ted Barton of Skate Canada, B.C. section, was surprised to read Chan’s remarks.
“I find it hard to believe he would make those comments,” Barton said Wednesday in an interview. “The fans love him and he is a hero in the skating business. He is on television with big numbers and everybody knows his name. I do not know what else you would want, other than being the most popular figure skater in Canada. That’s pretty big.
The article goes on to quote a Skate Canada rep as saying Chan gave the interview right after returning from a trip to China and it was a stream of consciousness thing. So maybe I should cut him a bit of slack. But if he truly does feel underappreciated in Canada, all I can say is he's lucky he doesn't skate in America! I guarantee you if I asked 20 people on the street who Jeremy Abbott is, they would assume he is on a show on the Disney Channel or something.