Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rejuvenated Patrick Chan Gunning for Fifth Consecutive Canadian Title: Rejuvenated Chan Goes for Fifth Title

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rejuvenated Patrick Chan Gunning for Fifth Consecutive Canadian Title: Rejuvenated Chan Goes for Fifth Title

Article excerpt

On the heels of a heady undefeated year, Patrick Chan needed to get away from it all.

So he travelled to Vegas to celebrate his 21st birthday on New Year's Eve, and over four days of shows like Cirque de Soleil and a little bit of gambling, the Canadian ultimately achieved what he'd been hoping for -- he briefly forgot he was a skater.

Now the rejuvenated Chan will be gunning for his fifth senior men's title at the Canadian figure skating championships this week in Moncton, N.B., to kick off the second half of the season.

"It was exhilarating, my chance to be myself and get out of the good and the bad of skating," Chan said. "It was a well-needed rest, and I really had a good time and I left Vegas almost forgetting that I was a skater, which was great, that was exactly what I wanted. Vegas does that for you."

The Toronto skater is coming off a magnificent 2011 that saw him win the world championship -- setting three world scoring records in the process -- along with every other event he competed in, earning the Lionel Conacher Award as the Canadian Press male athlete of the year.

But he drew the ire of some skating fans late in the year for comments he made comparing Canada to his parents' homeland of China.

The timing of his Vegas break -- he spent four days with friends and family, taking in some shows and trying his hand at the blackjack table -- was ideal.

"It was awesome," said Chan, adding he broke even at the card table. "The shows were amazing, it's good to sit back and really enjoy and be the audience and not be the performer."

Chan will return to centre stage this week, one of nearly 300 skaters at the championships.

Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir return after missing last year's event while Virtue recovered from surgery on her lower legs.

Cynthia Phaneuf will defend her women's singles title, along with Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch in pairs.

Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., completed just one competition last season, winning silver at the world championships.

"It was a bit of a tough one with our coaches last year," Virtue said on a recent conference call. …

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