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Canada’s Keegan Messing Fourth at Finlandia Trophy

ESPOO, Finland – Canada’s Keegan Messing placed fourth in men’s competition on Friday at the 2021 Finlandia Trophy, the fourth stop on the ISU Challenger Series figure skating circuit.

Jason Brown of the U.S. took the gold medal despite the fifth best free skate with 262.52 points. Two Russians were next: Mikhail Kolyada won the silver with 256.98 and Dmitri Aliev was third with 249.25.

After placing first in Thursday’s short program, Messing produced the seventh best free skate of the day to fall out of the medals with 242.58. The 29-year-old based in Anchorage, Alaska, had a great start to his program landing his opening quad toe, triple Lutz and first combo.

But he lost momentum with an unfortunate fall in between elements and another tumble at the end of his triple Lutz-triple toe combo.

‘’This event had its high and lows but it’s a great steppingstone for the rest of the season,’’ said Messing, sixth at the world championships this past March. ‘’It’s great motivation to remember who’s out there and face everything head-on.’’

In pairs, Russian skaters were 1-2 with world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov winning the gold with 227.13 points and Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov second at 213.72. Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc of the U.S. were third at 193.00.

For the Canadians, first-season partners Vanessa James and Eric Radford were fifth at 190.58 after placing third in the short program on Thursday. That was more than six points better than their score in a second-place finish at the Autumn Classic International last month in Pierrefonds, Que.

‘’Some great steps in terms of growth which will helps us for the rest of the season,’’ said Radford, from Balmertown, Ont. ‘’Still this was a disappointment because we’ve been skating better than that in practice. But we are on the right path and that’s the most important thing.’’

This past April, Radford, a two-time world champion and three-time Olympic medallist, announced he was coming out of retirement to skate for Canada once again, but this time with James, a European champion and world championship medallist who formerly competed for France.

‘’We plan to show what we are capable of in the upcoming Grand Prix series,’’ said James, born in Scarborough. ‘’There were little things and missteps in both programs this week, but we are feeling more and more comfortable with each other.’’

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro remained eighth with 184.37.

Moore-Towers and Marinaro, sixth at the world championships in March, say they’ll benefit from a full season of events this season.

‘’It was nowhere where we wanted in either program,’’ said Marinaro, 29, from Sarnia, Ont. ‘’But we have some key things to learn from and work on from home.’’

‘’We just need to compete more,’’ added Moore-Towers, 29, from St. Catharines, Ont. ‘’We’re excited to have a full season of competitions in which we can learn and take the good and bad from each competition to grow and better ourselves so we can be ready for the second half when we hope to peak.’’

The rhythm dance and women’s short program are on Saturday with the free skates for both events on Sunday.

Full results: http://www.figureskatingresults.fi/results/2122/CSFIN2021/index.htm

TEN CANADIAN SKATERS HEADED TO FINLAND FOR FINLANDIA TROPHY

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will have six entries, for a total of ten skaters competing at the 2021 Finlandia Trophy in Espoo, Finland this week. Canada will have one entry in men, one entry in women, two entries in pairs and two entries in ice dance. This event is the fourth stop of the 2021 ISU Challenger Series and takes place from October 7 to 10, 2021.

Keegan Messing, 29, Girdwood, Alaska, USA, will be the lone Canadian entry in men. Last season, Messing finished sixth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2021 and brought home bronze at Skate America. He is coached by Ralph Burghart in Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

Madeline Schizas, 18, Oakville, Ont., will be the only Canadian entry in women. Last season Schizas finished first at the Skate Canada Challenge and thirteenth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2021. She is coached by Nancy Lemaire and Derek Schmidt in Milton, Ont.

National pairs team, Kirsten Moore-Towers, 29, St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro, 29, Sarnia, Ont., will be the first of two Canadian entries in pairs. Last season they finished sixth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2021. They are coached by Bruno Marcotte, Alison Purkiss and Brian Shales in Oakville, Ont.

National pairs team, Vanessa James, 34, Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford, 36, Balmertown, Ont., will be the second Canadian entry in pairs. They finished second at the 2021 Autumn Classic International. This is their first season competing together internationally. They are coached by Julie Marcotte in Montreal, Que.

Marjorie Lajoie, 20, Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha, 22, Saint-Hubert, Que., will be the first ice dance entry representing Canada. Lajoie and Lagha are the 2020 Canadian Silver Ice Dance Medalists and most recently placed fourth at the 2021 Autumn Classic International. They are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer, Pascal Denis and Josée Piche in Montreal, Que.

Carolane Soucisse, 26, Châteauguay, Que., and Shane Firus, 27, North Vancouver, BC., will be the second Canadian entry in ice dance. In 2020, they finished third in the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships and most recently finished fifth at the 2021 Autumn Classic International They are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs in Toronto, Ont.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director will be the team leader and Dr. Shae Zukiwsky, Senior Director, Performance Excellence will be the team official at the event. Physiotherapist Pat Stanziano, Oakville, Ont., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Beth Crane, Burnaby, B.C., and Janice Hunter, Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian judges attending the event.

For more information, please visit www.isu.org.

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT ISU CS FINLANDIA TROPHY – ESPOO, FINLAND

MEN
Keegan Messing (29) / Girdwood, Alaska / Ice Palace FSC / Coached by Ralph Burghart

WOMEN
Madeline Schizas (18) / Oakville, Ont. / Milton SC / Coached by Nancy Lemaire and Derek Schmidt

PAIRS
Kirsten Moore-Towers (29) and Michael Marinaro (29) / St. Catharines, Ont., and Sarnia, Ont. / Skate Oakville / Coached by BrunoMarcotte, Alison Purkiss and Brian Shales

Vanessa James (34) and Eric Radford (36) / Scarborough, Ont., and Balmertown, Ont. / EPJM and C.P.A. Saint Leonard / Coached by Julie Marcotte

ICE DANCE
Marjorie Lajoie (20) and Zachary Lagha (22) / Boucherville, Que. and Saint-Hubert, Que. / CPA Boucherville and CPA Saint Lambert / Coached by: Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer, Pascal Denis and Josée Piche

Carolane Soucisse (26) and Shane Firus (27) / Châteauguay, Que. and North Vancouver, BC. / CPA Repentigny / Coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs

Messing leaving chainsaws, car batteries behind as he embraces Team Canada reunion at World Figure Skating Championships


Keegan Messing’s definition of “reining it in a bit” is probably quite different than that of the average person.

As the skating world gets set to gather in Stockholm for the 2021 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Messing, the charismatic Alaskan who holds Canadian and American citizenship, will proudly represent Canada as the lone entry in the men’s competition, which gets underway Thursday at the Ericsson Globe.

Messing, the life loving, cowboy hat-wearing three-time Canadian men’s medallist, has put his abundance of spare time to good use over the past year, hiking, climbing and just taking in all Mother Nature has to offer.

In recent months, as is his annual tradition, Messing has turned his attention to building and maintaining his backyard rink to help him get through the frigid Alaska winters. This winter, he has doubled the rink in size and, because his backyard has a downgrade slope, Messing built up one end with ice to create an even plane. He also added a few ramps for an extra adrenaline kick.

With the world championships on deck, those ramp jumps will have to wait.

“I was going for a full backyard Crashed Ice course,” said Messing with a laugh. “I just wanted to get the course built. I built some pretty sweet features out there, then I got named to worlds, and it was like ‘well, it looks like I am not going to be able to do any of these features yet.’”

“I am putting some of my wild side on the low burner and keeping myself reined in a little bit. It’s a little bit difficult for me to do.”

Reining it in will likely be the norm for Messing in the coming months, as he and his wife, Lane, are expecting their first child in July.

Like the rest of the world, Messing has had to deal with restrictions over the past year. While the lockdown lasted only a couple of months in Alaska, Messing was hesitant to return to his local gym when his community reopened.

So, he did what he does best. He improvised with, as he calls them, “random odds and ends devices.”

As part of his workout routine, he hauled a pair of 36-pound car batteries from under car hoods to use as weights while doing squats. When he needed a heavier weight for an exercise, he grabbed a chainsaw.

Yes, a chainsaw.

Not your typical home gym, perhaps, but more than enough for Messing to break a sweat.

That training will be put to good use this week when Messing reunites with his Canadian teammates for figure skating’s crown jewel event.

Five months ago at Skate America, an emotional Messing dedicated his bronze medal to his teammates who had their Grand Prix season wiped out due to the pandemic. The gesture was so real, so genuine, so heartfelt.

So Canadian.

“Skating for the team at Skate America, it was one of the best things I feel like I could have done,” reasoned Messing. “I took the ice and, even re-watching the video, I can see right before I took my pose, I can see it in my face on when I thought of the team and I was like ‘this is for you guys.’”

“I really feel for the Canadian team. I really feel for last year’s worlds team, and especially them. They had worlds taken from them, they had Skate Canada (international) taken from them and then they had nationals taken away from them, so it’s like they have been the real MVPs of this fight. I am just really honored I can compete side by side with them.”

Messing is ready for quite the reunion this week in Sweden.

“I haven’t seen the team in over a year,” he said. “Going out to worlds and seeing the team, I’m ecstatic to do it. I can’t wait to go there, see them, catch up and, in reality, skate for them. Skate to make them proud.

“I’m there with them and that, like we can do this. Like, really, we can do this.”

Click here for news, results and start orders from the ISU World Figure Skating Championships

Keegan Messing captures bronze medal at Skate America

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Basking in the glow of his bronze medal performance Saturday at Skate America, Keegan Messing had a message for his Team Canada teammates.

This one’s for you.

The charismatic Messing, who holds dual Canadian and American citizenship and proudly represents Canada on the international stage, capped off an impressive showing at the opening event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating season, earning 174.02 in his free program for an overall score of 266.42.

Skating on home soil, two-time world champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. cruised to the gold medal with a 299.15 total. American Vincent Zhou took the silver at 275.10.

“I am absolutely stoked to come here, put those performances out there and leave with a medal,” said Messing. “I’m on top of the world right now.”

“It’s been a tough time for everyone, but I’m really proud of him,” added Ralph Burghart, Messing’s coach. “It’s exhilarating. I’m happy we were able to put together a training regimen that got him ready for this week.

“The great thing about Keegan is he loves competing. It’s one of the many qualities I love about him. He’s an all-in guy, and today he left it all out there.”

With the 2020-21 figure skating season clouded in uncertainty due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Messing is the only Team Canada member with an ISU Grand Prix assignment this season. Skate Canada International, scheduled to be held next week, was cancelled earlier this month.

Sitting in the kiss and cry waiting for his marks after Friday’s short program, Messing showed his Canadian pride, turning his back to the camera and pointing to the “Canada” emblem stitched across his team jacket. He repeated the gesture Saturday following his free program.

In this strangest of seasons, Messing wants to remind his teammates, Skate Canada and fans north of the border who he is skating for.

“Just before I took my starting position today, I said to myself ‘this is for you guys,’” said Messing. “It was for my teammates who have to stay home. Today, I had something to fight for. I was skating for my team.

“This is a shared medal. With my team, with all of Canada. The Canadian fans have been so incredible to me. I am so proud to have that flag on my back and to win an international medal for Canada.”

No fans were permitted into Orleans Arena for Skate America, and while Messing says event officials went out of their way to keep athletes safe in Las Vegas, he admits it was almost surreal competing in an empty arena.

“It was odd, but it’s funny, you get out on the ice and the switch gets flipped, and you’re in competition mode,” Messing said. “I usually feed off their energy. Not hearing that applause was something I’m not used to. They piped in the crowd applause after the program, but there was no one there. There was no emotion.

“It makes you want the real thing again.”

Full Results: 2020 Skate America

Canadian Keegan Messing in third spot after short program at Skate America

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Canadian Keegan Messing holds down third spot after Friday’s short program at Skate America, the opening event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating season.

Skating to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect for the second straight year, the 28-year-old Messing, who trains in Edmonton, Alb., scored 92.40 to put himself in medal contention heading into the Saturday’s free program.

Two-time world champion Nathan Chen of the United States leads after posting a stunning 111.17. Fellow American Vincent Zhou is in second spot at 99.36.

“It was really exciting to perform again, but my legs were a little shaky in the second half of the program,” Messing admitted. “I’m really happy with the way I skated. It felt so great to get back out there.”

Messing, a three-time national medallist, is the only Canadian competing at Skate America. He finished fourth at this event a year ago.

Skating competitively for the first time since February, Messing left some points on the table with a couple of mistakes Friday. He put a hand down on his quad toe, triple toe combination and had a slight trip – or an “oops”, as he called it – on his step sequence. He landed his triple Axel and triple Lutz cleanly to stay within striking distance of Zhou.

“I have to admit, the nerves affected me a little bit, but I think that can be expected,” he said. “Getting to perform again, that’s what we live for. I missed having those butterflies.”

Skate America, which is being held without fans in attendance at the Orleans Arena, is the first stop of the condensed Grand Prix circuit. Skate Canada International, which was scheduled to be held next week in Ottawa, Ont., was recently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Internationaux de France, slated to be held next month, was also cancelled, leaving stops in China, Russia and Japan to round out the Grand Prix schedule.

No Canadians are scheduled to compete internationally after this week.

“With Skate Canada getting cancelled, my heart broke for all my teammates,” he added. “I am representing all of them here. This one went out to Nam (Nguyen) and all of Team Canada. This week is for you.”

Skate America wraps up with the free programs Saturday. Click here for full results.

Athlete Spotlight: Keegan Messing

Keegan Messing

Q: What is your favourite emoji?
Keegan: 🤠

Q: If you weren’t a figure skater, what sport would you do?
Keegan: Freestyle skiing, moguls or gymnastics

Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Keegan: Bad drivers

Q: What fictional character would you like to meet in real life and why?
Keegan: Toothless from How to Train your Dragon because how cool would it be to ride dragon

Q: What song would be the theme song for your life?
Keegan: Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Keegan Messing headed to Russia for Rostelecom Cup

OTTAWA, ON: Team Canada will be competing this week at the Rostelecom Cup, the fifth event on the 2018 ISU (International Skating Union) Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. The event takes place in Moscow, Russia from November 16-18.

Keegan Messing will be the only Canadian skater competing in Moscow. This will be his second grand prix event of the season, having won a silver medal at the Skate Canada International in October.

Canadian Entries at Rostelecom Cup – Moscow, Russia

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Men Keegan Messing 26 Sherwood Park, Alta. / Brantford, Ont. Sherwood Park FSC Ralph Burghart

Carolyn Allright of Waterloo, Ont., will be the Canadian team leader and physiotherapist Mike McMurray of Oak Bluff, Man., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Lynne Dey of Edmonton, Alta., will be the Canadian official at the event.

For more information, please visit www.isu.org.

Keegan Messing wins gold at Nebelhorn Trophy

OBERTSDORF – Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., is off to a flying start in the 2018-19 season as he won the gold medal in the men’s event on Saturday at the Nebelhorn Trophy figure skating competition.

Messing interpreted a Charlie Chaplin routine in his free skate and collected 257.16 points. Alexander Majorov of Sweden was second at 226.64 and Artur Dmitriev of Russia third at 225.31.

“To finish on top at my first international of the season feels fantastic,” said Keegan, eighth at the world championships last season. “Right now I feel like I have a really good plan with my coach. We didn’t have the quad Lutz today but we hope to have it ready at Skate Canada (October 26-28 in Laval). We want to play it smart this season.”

In pairs, Elisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin of Russia finished ahead of two American couples for the win.

Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont., were seventh in their international debut at the senior level.

“It was definitely an eye-opening experience for us,” said Walsh. “We had a lot of fun and learned about the senior category and about each other. We need to go home and work super hard for Skate Canada.”

Canada ranked second in the team standings. The U.S. was first and Germany third.

On Friday, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto won the gold in ice dancing.

Full results: Nebelhorn Trophy 2018

Patrick Chan finishes ninth in Olympic finale

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – It was the end of one era of Canadian skating and maybe, just maybe, the start of another.

Patrick Chan’s storybook career, punctuated with three consecutive world championships and a record ten Canadian titles, likely saw the final chapter written Saturday in PyeongChang with a ninth- place showing at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

When the dust had cleared on the quad-filled air show that was the men’s free program, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who held off Chan for gold four years ago in Sochi, successfully defended his Olympic crown with 317.85 points. Hanyu’s countryman Shoma Uno finished 11 points back to win silver while Spain’s Javier Fernandez earned bronze.

Keegan Messing, making his Olympic debut just weeks after finishing second to Chan at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, was 12th.

American quad king Nathan Chen, who was lodged in 17th spot after a disastrous short program, nearly stole the show in the free, scoring 215.08 to vault into fifth with a 297.35 total.

After dominating the sport for most of his career, Chan, who went into the free skate 21 points behind Hanyu and 14 points off the podium, seemed at peace with himself heading into this season, and these Olympics. He has maintained all season that this final year was about enjoying this swan song, this moment, and not the medals and results.

“We’re seeing the transition now, the scale has tipped,” said Chan of the passing of the torch in men’s figure skating. “I’m so proud I was able to stick in it this long.

“I’m happy that I can leave these Games with a gold medal in the team event. Now I’m looking for gold medals in other things in my life.”

Last weekend, Chan earned his first Olympic gold as a member of Canada’s winning squad in the team event, bringing his career Olympic medal haul to a gold and two silvers.

There’s not much left for him to prove.

“Everything was very positive,” he said of the feeling going into the free program.

“I felt light. I had a little skip in my step. I wanted to be here, I wanted to step on that ice and do my long program. There was just a sense of excitement. Maybe that was knowing this is it.”

For Messing, who realized a lifelong dream of his own by making it to the Olympics, these Games were more of a learning experience.

“I am very pleased with my performance,” said Messing. “I was so excited to go out there and do what I’ve been training to do. I put down a solid performance, and I can leave the Olympics happy.”

Messing described his Olympic experience in a word.

“Wow,” he said.

As he was getting set to leave the interview area for the last time, Chan was asked what he thinks his legacy on the sport will be.

“I hope one day people will look back at my skating and what I’ve brought to the table and be like ‘Remember when Patrick skated like this or remember when skating was like this,” he said.

“That would be a cool legacy to leave behind.”

The ice dance competition now takes centre stage, with the short dance Sunday night at 8:00 pm ET. Canada will have three entries in the event, led by 2010 Olympic gold medallists and reigning world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

PyeongChang 2018 Figure Skating Schedule & Results

Olympic Spotlight : Keegan Messing

The charismatic Keegan Messing will make his Olympic debut in PyeongChang after placing second at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Vancouver.

Messing has competed at the Canadian national championships four times, finishing inside the top five on three occasions.

On the ISU Grand Prix circuit this season, Messing placed fifth at NHK Trophy and eighth at Skate Canada International. In short time, he has evolved into a crowd favourite with his infectious energy and high-flying skating style.

Growing up, Messing looked to Elvis Stojko and Kurt Browning as his skating role models.

Canadian Keegan Messing wins the bronze medal at Challenger Series event

ZAGREB – Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., won the bronze medal Saturday in men’s competition at the Golden Spin of Zagreb figure skating event, part of the ISU’s Challenger Series.

Alexei Bychenko of Russia didn’t win either the short program or long program but wound up first overall for the gold with 228.08 points. Daniel Samohin of Israel, the leader after the short, took the silver at 226.12 and Messing hung on to the bronze at 223.30.

Messing, second after the short, finished only 0.28 points ahead of Alexander Petrov of Russia for third spot. Petrov posted the top free skate score to climb from 11th to fourth.

Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., was seventh and world junior championships silver medallist Nicolas Nadeau of Boisbriand, Que., was 11th.

Full results: ISU CS Golden Spin of Zagreb 2016

Canadian Keegan Messing in second at Challenger Series event

ZAGREB – Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., is in second place in men’s competition after Friday’s short program at the Golden Spin of Zagreb figure skating event, a stop on the ISU Challenger Series.

Daniel Samohin of Israel holds the lead with 82.35 points, Messing follows at 76.39 and Brendan Kerry of Australia is third at 76.36. The 24-year-old Messing is chasing a third career international win.

Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., stands sixth at 74.66 and world junior silver medallist Nicolas Nadeau of Boisbriand, Que., 13th.

Canada only has the three entries in men’s competition. The free skates are on Saturday.

Full results: 2016 Golden Spin of Zagreb