SOCHI, December 9 (R-Sport) - Double world champion figure skater Patrick Chan revealed Sunday that severe stage fright has sapped all the enjoyment out of competing.
The Canadian, 22, went unbeaten last season but suffered the shock of finishing third at the Grand Prix Finals in Sochi on Saturday, his worst result since the 2010 Olympics.
"Enjoying the performance, I think that's what I've lost," he said. "When I'm competing I get frightened and I go into my turtle shell and don't go out and really perform and enjoy the performance."
Asked whether he feels his best skates are those no one sees, Chan said: "Yes, definitely. I've had the best skates in practice and only if I can transpose it to the competition, in front of an audience, that would be perfect."
Failure in Sochi, at the hands of Japanese duo Daisuke Takahashi and Yuzuru Hanyu, came about due to this stage fright, he said.
"I think the reason I made some mistakes was the lack of confidence and the joy of performing," he said.
"Now I realize I'm glad I finished third, not first again, because it gives me something to look forward to next time I compete and it gives me really an eagerness to want to be the best again and I think I lost a bit of that."
Being the world's best skater last season was a poisoned chalice, Chan said.
"Last year I was expecting to win every competition and expecting to not lose anything. At first it was a bitter taste when I wasn't winning a competition, it was bitter, but definitely now, post-competition, it's given me a lot more motivation and more drive."
His next competition is the Canadian nationals in January, widely expected to be a formality for Chan, by far the country's top men's skater.