Refreshing. That’s the way Patrick Chan is — refreshingly honest. And he discusses matters in such a way that he separates himself from most other elite athletes out there.

“It stinks,” he said of his fifth-place finish at the Vancouver Olympics. “Then it settles in and you understand that you’re not the only star here, Patrick. You’re not the only one working his butt off to get somewhere.”

That qualifies as an epiphany.

It seems the Olympic experience actually meant something deeper than a medal chase and an endorsement deal to Canada’s top male figure skater.

This is the same skater who struggled with injury and parted with a long time coach just prior to the Games.

Chan is a gifted world championship silver medallist who once wondered aloud if he could commit another four years to the dream once Vancouver was over.

“The Olympics transform you,” Chan proclaimed, his eyes the size of frying pans.

“No one can explain it to you. They are a different kind of animal. Being with so many other athletes and seeing what they are capable of … the biathletes, speedskaters and ski jumpers, well, it motivates you to go on.”

So at the world figure skating championships here in Turin, Chan is plotting a course. He claims it will take him to the next Olympics in Russia in four years. He’s talking about getting the highly coveted quad jump, yes, but he’s also looking into a crystal ball and likes what he sees.

“There’s definitely no outside pressure on me,” Chan said.

“Here it’s all about me. I definitely want to win and think I can.”

That’s the key. In spite of what unfolds in the present Chan believes he can win in the future. Something happened to him at the Olympics and it served to change his mind.

It made him full of wonder again.

“I saw that one day I could dominate,” he figured.

“I saw that I could one day leave a lasting impression on my sport.”

Chan is only 19 years old. His words have sometimes been misinterpreted as hastily conceived or even worse — false bravado.

Watching him closely now, one is left with a completely different impression.

He is a supremely talented kid who actually speaks the plain truth.

– Gemini Award winner and author Scott Russell is the Host of CBC Sports Weekend seen Saturday afternoons. A 20-year CBC Sports veteran, he has covered a variety of professional and amateur sports including nine Olympic games and numerous world championships.