In the months following the Olympic season, it is not uncommon to hear of newly announced retirements and figure skaters taking a much-deserved break. However, for the Canadian team, this year’s exodus of skaters is essentially unprecedented.
Eric Radford, Patrick Chan and Meagan Duhamel have all recently retired bearing their new Olympic medals, while five-time medallists Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue have announced breaks from their usual competing. Olympic bronze medallist and world champ Kaetlyn Osmond is not competing in the sport at the moment, either.
Even former Canadian champion Alaine Chartrand has admitted he did not expect to be where he is now, revealing that he spent three months in spring contemplating his options. After coming to terms with a dissatisfying season, the skater chose instead to focus equally on his Kinesiology studies instead of placing his full attention on his sport of choice.
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Competitors Change Their Paths
Another competitor, Larkyn Austman, has also been able to smooth over her competitive disappointments in a similar way. She revealed recently that she has learnt that absolutely anything can happen, and that one should never cast something aside simply because they think that it is not possible or achievable.
Both women will soon be competing on the Grand Prix circuit, along with current two-time local champ Gabrielle Daleman. In the meantime, just eight months ago, four formidable team pairs were looking to grab their sports to perform at the Olympic Games. Now, only Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro remain.
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje will also be sitting out the next Grand Prix season, but are still training regularly. The duo is committed to returning to the competitive landscape in time for the national championships next January, and has developed a set of 25 goals to help them achieve their seasonal objectives.
Gabrielle Daleman will be competing on the Grand Prix circuit.
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Strong New Players in Ice Dance
Ice dance remains to be the Canadian field with the most depth to offer, and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are the current top-ranking local team appearing in the Grand Prix. The creative and experimental duo recently found Govardo, an acoustic busking act, who assisted them in customising and rearranging the song ‘Vincent’ specially for their free programme.
Keegan Messing, who first drew attention to himself at PyeongChang and Worlds, has also noted that he wants this positive attention to continue. The strong jumper is already well aware of what he needs to compete, hinting that a quad Lutz, two quad Toe jumps and a triple Axel will help him with his professional goals this year.
Clearly, finding one’s place within the skating industry is essential. With Moir and Virtue inactive in the competitive circuit for now, dancers Shane Firus and Carolane Soucisse are aiming to take advantage of a new gap in the stage. Many other skaters also feel that with the most formidable pros sitting out this season, they may have a real chance to claim some successes of their own.