After deferring his acceptance to U of T’s social sciences program in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan will swap hitting the ice for hitting the books this fall.
“I made the decision to defer my studies after some thought of how to manage school and training for the Olympics simultaneously,” said Chan, adding that he wanted to avoid spreading himself too thin.
For Chan, attending U of T has been one of many dreams that he’s managed to realize. “When I was accepted, I knew this was the best opportunity for me,” he said.
Chan admits he sometimes worries that his celebrity status will mean that he is treated differently from his classmates. “I don’t want to be treated differently,” he says. “I want to keep my life outside of the classroom separate. I don’t want to be a distraction for other students or myself.”
As for whether the he plans to hang up the skates for good or continue to skate competitively and pursue the gold medal that has eluded him in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Chan says that it is too early to say for certain.
“My decision to defer was so that I could focus on one thing at a time. I don’t find that I do my best when I’m half here and there. It’s too early to decide,” he explained.
But regardless of whether or not he will represent Canada in four years’ time, Chan has been amazed by the support and congratulatory messages that he has received from Canadians since returning from Sochi.
“I’m happy to celebrate and share this achievement with everyone,” he says. “These medals are as much mine as they are Canada’s,” he added.
Chan, like many young adults, confesses he is not yet entirely sure what he aspires to do once he completes his degree at U of T.
“My life has been unique to this point. I love working with television — maybe I’ll go into media or business,” he said.
But for those young figure skaters who aspire to be like him, Chan offers some simple advice, informed by an illustrious career that has seen him capture seven Canadian National Skating Championships, three World Figure Skating Championships, two Four Continents Championships, two Grand Prix Final titles, the Lou Marsh Award, and two Olympic silver medals.
“It’s important to make sure that every time you step on the ice, you enjoy it and it puts a smile on your face. It’s important that you are in a good environment and one that makes you happy to skate. You don’t want to get involved at a high level unless you really love skating,” he said.
Chan also added that it is important to stay well-rounded. “Competing on the big stage is tough unless you truly love the sport and you are not there for any other reason,” he said.