He had to wait almost an hour to find out if he had pulled off an amazing comeback to reach the podium last weekend.
But it was worth the wait for Richmond’s 17-year-old star figure skater Wesley Chiu, who came from 11th place after the short program to grab his second bronze in a row at the Canadian national men’s championships in Oshawa, Ont.
It was incredible achievement for the Connaught Skating Club teenager, given that he had not been feeling well in the run-up to the event.
Although, Chiu did admit that, being so far behind going into the deciding long program took some of the pressure off.
“In some ways there was less pressure, because (being 11th meant) skating so early in the competition and it was kind of like I had nothing to lose,” he said.
“I just had to give it everything in the long program. I was more relieved, knowing that I had put out a good long program. But it was a long time to wait to find out, given that I had to skate early.”
His coach, Keegan Murphy, was impressed by Chiu’s “mental fortitude” to get to the podium.
“I’m really happy for him. And how he handled that situation will help him in the long run,” added Murphy.
World Juniors next for Chiu
The World Junior Championships in Calgary at the end of February are next for Chiu, where he will be hoping to better his fourth place last year.
“There’s a (Canadian) team camp at the end of January in the venue, so it will be good to get a feel for it,” said Chiu.
Chiu had a stellar year last season as a 16-year-old, competing at the highest level internationally.
But both he and his coach are well aware that, with such success, expectations can rise externally and personally.
“The biggest challenge has been managing those expectations from last year. Not so much from other people, more from myself after having such a great season last year,” explained Chiu.
“I try to not put too much pressure on myself before a competition…going through the program one jump at a time, not expecting too much from results.”
Murphy, meanwhile, makes sure that “we’re all on the same page with what’s coming up. We take it month by month and event by event.
“It requires a lot of communication between Wesley, the coaching team and his parents.”