OTTAWA -- Patrick Chan opened his short program Friday night with a massive quadruple-triple jump combination that for a moment seemed like a tantalizing preview of Sochi Olympic gold.
Then the three-time world champion inexplicably lost his focus.
The 23-year-old from Toronto won the men's short program at the Canadian figure skating championships on Friday, but it was far from the flawless program he would have liked less than a month out from the Sochi Olympics.
"I just got ahead of myself, did the great quad toe-triple toe and then my mind starts racing: 'Oh my God it's going to be a great program,"' Chan said.
Chan scored 89.12 points, doubling both a planned triple Axel and planned triple Lutz in what was an otherwise elegant program to Rachmaninoff's "Elegy in E-Flat Minor."
"I kind of lost my train of thought, I didn't have anything in mind, I just kind of relaxed and thought it was over, rather than staying really pinpoint on to technically what I have to do to do the Axel successfully. And I didn't do that. Same with the Lutz," Chan said.
Liam Firus of North Vancouver, B.C., was second with 78.93, while Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., scored 78.29 for third in his first competition of the season.
Chan has had his sights set on Sochi Olympic gold almost from the day he finished fifth at the Vancouver Games.
"That was the problem today, I was thinking 'This has to be a great program today for me to have a great Olympics.' And if I look back in the history books, Jamie (Sale) and David (Pelletier) didn't have a great nationals before the Salt Lake City Games (where they won gold), so ...
"It's just the last piece of the puzzle I need to fit in and get everything working smoothly."
Chan was easily the frontrunner for Olympic gold early in the season when he shattered the world records for the short program, long program, and overall score. But he faltered at the Grand Prix Final with a similarly shaky short program to Friday night's, and had to settle for silver behind Japan teenager Yuzuru Hanyu.
The Canadian admitted it took a while to shake off the disappointment.
"I had a rocky Grand Prix Final and I think that's the source of this, losing my flow, my mojo I guess," Chan said. "Final was really startling ... it was hard to go back home and have that long of a time to think about that. I'm glad I had nationals before Olympics to work on that, and get myself out of that mindset."