Olympics: Disappointed Chan denies 'Canadian curse'

SOCHI, Russia (AFP) - Three-time world figure skating champion Patrick Chan admitted the Olympic gold had slipped through his fingers on Friday but denied a "Canadian curse" had prevented him from winning the coveted title.

Chan, skating immediately after eventual champion Yuzuru Hanyu in the men's free skating final, had a wonderful chance to top the podium after an error-strewn performance from the Japanese youngster at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

But the 23-year-old, who finished just fifth at his home Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, made mistakes of his own and failed to seize his chance, ending up having to settle for silver with an overall total of 275.62 points, 4.47 away from the gold medal.

It was his second silver in Sochi for Chan after the new team event.

It is the fifth time a Canadian man has narrowly missed out on the gold medal in the past 30 years.

Brian Orser - who now coaches Hanyu - placed second in 1984 and 1988 while Elvis Stojko followed suit in 1994 and 1998 - leading to talk of a "Canadian curse".

Chan, the son of Chinese emigrants who settled in Canada, admitted the top competitors had had "rough skates" on Friday.

"I just made one too many mistakes," he said.

"I had that chance and it just slipped out of my hands. It happens. Even the best athletes in the world make mistakes sometimes and it happens at the Olympics sometimes too," he said.

"Just because I missed that opportunity here today at these Olympics, it doesn't define my career, it doesn't change the fact that I'm still one of the best figure skaters in the world," he added.

Chan was adamant he could still take satisfaction from his achievements, which include gold at the world championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Looking for answers for the sub-par performances the Canadian, who also finished behind Hanyu in the Grand Prix final in December, said: "It could be because it's the Olympic Games... and there's a lot of tension. We also had a really quick turnaround from yesterday's short programme." "It was tough to go to sleep after a late night last night and try to recuperate for today's long programme," he added.

But he was quick to play down the idea of the "Canadian curse".

"I find it funny that Canadian skaters have been labelled as cursed just because we can't achieve gold at this one event," he said.

"I think we tend to forget about all of the great athletes that Canada has.

This is only one event. There are several successful Canadian men, myself included, that changed the sport of figure skating." "You can't take away the fact that we have multiple world champions in Canada and multiple medallists from Canada as well, so just because this one event didn't turn out to be a gold we tend to quickly forget that Canadians and myself are still very successful athletes," he added.

Canada have won nine medals in men's figure skating - five silver and four bronze.