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Matt Chan reflects on the work it takes to become a Titan Champion

He experienced every high and low the games had to offer.

Steve Dietl/NBC

Matt Chan’s rise to Titan Games Champion is nothing short of cinematic. After a strong showing in his first episode, Matt faced elite Titan and Pro Bowler Joe Thomas on Mount Olympus. Just when it looked like Matt had the win in the bag, Joe swept in and won the match “by a turn.”

When Will returned for the Central Region finals, he battled his way back through the runner up bracket only to face Joe Thomas one more time. This time, he claimed the title.

Winning the Central Region trials was impressive, but Matt was well aware that he was in no position to relax. As he told us in a previous interview, “Being the Central Region Champion for the men’s division is exciting, but the Titan Games only crowns one Titan Champion and that is my sole focus moving forward. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of positive energy to beat the other regional champions in the finale.”

When it was time for the Championship, Matt found himself in his element with a challenge that played to his strengths, and another breathless run on Mount Olympus. We caught up with the champion via email to get his perspective on the experience.

How did you mentally prepare for the Championship?

MC: I have found visualization and positive self talk to be essential. Both are techniques that I use when firefighting to reduce stress and perform my best. I tried to anticipate the parts of Mount Olympus where I would be behind my competition and the parts where I could make up ground. I would also have a plan A, plan B, and Plan C just in case.

What were your thoughts on facing Noah Palicia and Will Sutton?

MC: Both Noah and Will had huge success on the events they participated in. We each have different strengths and weaknesses, literally, which would affect the outcome of the events we faced each other in. But, I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to compete against and with Noah and Will for anything – they are both just such great humans.

You were SO fast on Hammer Down. What did that challenge feel like for you?

MC: I consider myself lucky to have participated in Hammer Down because it’s so similar to swinging an axe, which I do regularly on the fireground. I knew that if I went fast, I would probably be able to sustain a fairly high rate of work. It really came down to seeing if I could get on the final pole before Noah and Will because they were not going to let up.

What was your strategy for facing Mount Olympus and Will Sutton?

MC: Will was SOOO FAST on Mt. Olympus that I knew I needed to keep up with him and hopefully make up ground on the crawl through the cages. In the back of my mind, I thought a slightly lower pace at the beginning would allow me to go faster at the end. Will is so quick on his feet, all I could hope for was that he had some difficulty with the new additions to Mt. Olympus and that I wouldn’t.

Will kept the pressure on for the whole race. How did you stay focused? Was there ever a moment that had you worried?

MC: Will is a ball of energy! I could only hope that my strategy of pacing a little slower would pay off by the end of the race. The one point that we were side by side was at the top of the cage where we had to break a wall to enter. I saw him struggle for a second and I knew that was my opportunity to make up a little ground on him. I was definitely worried that he would catch me after that though.

How does it feel to be the Titan Games Champion?

MC: It feels amazing to battle each competitor, make my way through the losers bracket, to face Joe Thomas a second time, and to finally win the Titan Championship. The experience being on the Titan Games was one of the most rewarding of my life and I was able to share it with my wife throughout each event. The ups and downs made it so much more stressful – yet fulfilling! I get to say I AM THE TITAN CHAMPION!