Canadian figure skating champ finally cleared to travel to Beijing Olympics

Feb 4 2022, 5:41 pm

Keegan Messing might get to chase his Olympic dream after all. 

Messing, the reigning Canadian men’s figure skating champion, has cleared COVID-19 protocols in Vancouver and is now eligible to travel to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Games.

He did not join teammates on Team Canada’s plane departing for China last week because of a positive COVID-19 result. Messing, who has been isolating in a Vancouver airport hotel since January 25, has been unable to travel because he’d previously been unable to produce the two negative PCR tests within 96 and 72 hours of flying required to head to the Olympics.

Messing might still have a rocky road ahead of him.

Because he missed the Team Canada charter, he can only enter China through select cities, including Paris and Tokyo. He needs to coordinate the fastest flight from Vancouver to a limited number of approved cities prior to arriving in Beijing.

Messing also needs to produce a third and fourth negative test upon arrival.

He has already missed the start of the figure skating team event. Canada won gold in the event, which combines four skating programs that collect points for the country, in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Roman Sadovsky, who finished second behind Messing at nationals, skated in the short program in Messing’s absence. Canada was eighth out of nine teams after the program. Teams are permitted to make substitutions between the short and long programs, allowing Messing to participate should he arrive on time.

The men’s singles event begins Tuesday.

Messing was crowned national champion in Ottawa in early January, claiming the men’s event at the Canadian National Figure Skating Championships.

Messing, 30, finished 12th in his Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.

Last spring, he finished sixth at the world championships and netted bronze at Skate America in 2020 as the lone Canadian participant. Messing won his second career gold medal on the ISU Challenger Series with a victory at the Golden Spin of Zagreb in December.

Messing was born in Girdwood, Alaska, and started competing for Canada internationally during the 2014-15 season representing the United States since the start of his career. His decision was made after conversations with his Canadian grandmother, who told him Canada had never won an Olympic gold medal in men’s figure skating.

He finished in the top five at both the 2015 and 2017 Canadian Championships, earning him a place on the national team. He made his Olympic debut in 2018 after winning silver at the 2018 Canadian Championship.

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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