Tag Archive for: Keegan Messing

The Skating World Converges in Mississauga for Skate Canada International

OTTAWA, ON (October 24, 2022) – After a successful weekend at Skate America that saw Canadians win three medals, the ISU Grand Prix series stops in Mississauga, Ontario this week for the 48th edition of Skate Canada International. From October 28-30, some of the best skaters from around the globe will compete for a spot on the podium at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre, including Shoma Uno, Young You, Lilah Fear, Lewis Gibson, Riku Miura, Ryuichi Kihara, plus fifteen of Canada’s top talents. 

The men’s team, which will count three entries, will be headlined by veteran and two-time Olympian Keegan Messing. Messing is the current Canadian champion and has gotten off to a stunning start this season, winning gold at the Nebelhorn Trophy. He will be joined by Conrad Orzel, who recently placed 11th at the Finlandia Trophy, as well as Stephen Gogolev, who finished 9th at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.  

Olympians Madeline Schizas and Gabrielle Daleman will represent Canada in the women’s field. Schizas, the 2022 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships women’s gold medallist, kicked off the competition season with a 5th place at the Nebelhorn Trophy. Teammate Gabrielle Daleman will be competing at her first international event after an excellent domestic season that saw her win gold at the 2022 Skate Canada Challenge and bronze at the 2022 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. 

In the pair discipline, Canada will be sending two young but solid teams, with Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar setting their sights on the top step of the podium. The pair, who finished third at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships last season, had a breakthrough start to their first senior season, winning bronze at the 2022 Finlandia Trophy earlier this month. Kelly Ann Laurin and Loucas Éthier will also be competing in the event after winning bronze over the weekend at Skate America. 

Canada will boast three Olympic teams in ice dance. 2021 Skate Canada International gold medallists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier will be looking to defend their title after a successful 2021-2022 season that saw the pair claim the Canadian title. Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha will also be strong contenders for the title, with the team winning two gold medals this year at the Ondre Nepela Memorial and Budapest Trophy. Finally, Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac , who claimed bronze at Skate America, will be replacing Miku Makita and Tyler Gunara due to injury. 

Competition starts on Friday, October 28 with every discipline performing their short program/rhythm dance. All medals will be awarded on Saturday, October 29, as all disciplines will perform their free program/free dance. The event concludes on Sunday with the exhibition gala. The event will be live streamed in Canada via skatecanada.ca.  

Team Canada 

Name | Age | Hometown | Coach | Training Location 

Gabrielle Daleman | 24 | Newmarket, Ont. | Lee Barkell | Toronto, Ont.
Madeline Schizas | 19 | Oakville, Ont. | Nancy Lemaire & Derek Schmidt | Milton, Ont.   

Stephen Gogolev | 17 | Toronto, Ont. | Rafael Arutyunyan & Lee Barkell | Irvine, USA
Keegan Messing | 30 | Girdwood, USA | Ralph Burghart | Anchorage, USA
Conrad Orzel | 22 | Toronto, Ont. | Ravi Walia | Edmonton, Alta. 

Kelly Ann Laurin | 16 | St-Jérôme, Que. & Loucas Éthier | 22 | Deux-Montagnes, Que. | Stéphanie Valois | Rosemère, Que.  
Brooke McIntosh | 17 | Toronto, Ont. & Benjamin Mimar | 21 | Terrebonne, Que. | Andrew Evans & Alexander Sheldrick | Toronto, Ont. 

Ice Dance 
Piper Gilles | 30 | Toronto, Ont. & Paul Poirier | 30 | Unionville, Ont. | Carol Lane & Juris Razgulajevs | Scarborough, Ont.
Marjorie Lajoie | 21 | Boucherville, Que. & Zachary Lagha | 23 | Saint-Hubert, Que. | Romain Haguenauer | Montreal, Que.
Marie-Jade Lauriault | 25 | Ste-Anne-Des-Plaines, Que. & Romain Le Gac | 27 | Laval, Que. | Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon| Ste-Anne-Des-Plaines, Que.    

Team Leaders – Carolyn Allwright & Cynthia Ullmark
Medical Team – Tatiana Jevremovic & Agnes Makowski
Officials – Andrea Derby, Veronique Gosselin, Janice Hunter & Lorna Schroder 

For more information about the event and full schedules, click here. To purchase single-session tickets, visit ticketmaster.ca. 

Canada’s Keegan Messing Wins Gold at ISU Challenger Series event

ZIBEL, Croatia – Canada’s Keegan Messing won the gold medal Saturday in the men’s competition to conclude the 53rd Golden Spin of Zagreb figure skating competition, a stop on the ISU Challenger Series circuit.

Messing earned 255.07 points placing first in Thursday’s short program and fifth in a clean free skate. Andrei Mozalev of Russia was second at 252.15 and Jimmy Ma of the U.S. third at 250.97.

‘’It was a fantastic week, I’m confident and more motivated than ever’’ said Messing, 29, sixth at the world championships this past spring. ‘’We’re going home happy. The season started slow, and it is still not perfect but no we’re on the up and up and hopefully towards the Olympic Games.’’

Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., was 10th and Joseph Phan of Laval, Que., moved from 24th to 16th.

On Friday, Canadians Vanessa James and Eric Radford were fourth in pairs with Kirsten Moore-Towers of St.Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., eighth and Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont., in ninth.

There were no Canadian entries in women or ice dancing.

Full results: http://granuli.hr/gs2021/html/

Gilles and Poirier Win Silver Medal at ISU Grand Prix

GRENOBLE, France – Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto won the silver medal on Saturday in ice dancing to conclude the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

The top three from Friday’s rhythm dance remain unchanged. The 2020 world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France took the gold with 221.25 points, Gilles and Poirier followed at 203.16 and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia were third at 200.29.

‘’This week was a success,’’ said Poirier. ‘’We didn’t have our strongest rhythm dance, but we felt like the free was really a great improvement. Our scores were lower this week so we are going to have to really listen to the feedback and see what we can to do raised them.’’

Along with their victory at Skate Canada International last month in Vancouver, Gilles and Poirier can book their ticket for the Grand Prix Final December 9-12 in Osaka, Japan.

‘’Qualifying for the Grand Prix final was very satisfying because that will be an important event for us leading up to the Olympic Games,’’ added Poirier. ‘’It gives us a lot of motivation.’’

In pairs, Canadians Vanessa James and Eric Radford took fourth spot, just over five points from the podium with 196.34, their best score since they formed a new partnership in April and in their four international events this season.

Russia was 1-2 with Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii first at 216.96 and Iuliia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev second at 205.15. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the U.S. were third at 201.69.

Third after the short, James and Radford needed to reset at the start of their long when the wrong music started playing. Unbothered, they delivered a scintillating program until near the end when a lift attempt was aborted.

Yuma Kagiyama of Japan maintained his lead in the men’s event to win gold with 286.41. His compatriot Shun Sato was second at 264.99 and Jason Brown of the U.S. was third at 264.20.

Canada’s Keegan Messing maintained his sixth place producing a season best free skate to finish with 253.06. He touched his hand down on his first quad, then successfully landed the second in combination and also landed two triple Axels, also with one in combination.

He is pleased with his progress after a slow start to the season.

‘’It was a fairly good event for me,’’ said Messing, sixth at the world championships last season. ‘’After Skate Canada my coach and I took a hard look at the long program and decided to switch things around a little bit… and you know what, I think we have a system that will work for the rest of the season.’’

World champion Anna Shcherbakova led Russia to a 1-2 finish with Alena Kostornaia second. Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi prevented a Russian medal sweep moving from sixth after the short for the bronze. There were no Canadian entries.

The next stop on the circuit is this upcoming Friday and Saturday in Sochi, Russia.


Gilles and Poirier Stand Second After Rhythm Dance at ISU Grand Prix

GRENOBLE, France – In what is their biggest test so far this season, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are in second place after the rhythm dance at the 2021 Internationaux de France, the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

The Toronto ice dancers, victorious at their first two international events this season including Skate Canada International in Vancouver last month, trail 2020 world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France first with 89.08 points.

Gilles and Poirier, the 2021 world championship bronze medallists, earned 81.35 with their skate to Elton John music while Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia are third at 79.89.

‘’We are on the mission here this year to qualify for the Grand Prix final,’’ said Poirier. ‘’The changes we made after Skate Canada International seemed to work. The scores are not where we want them to be, but we are looking forward to the free skate.’’

Meanwhile first-year partners Vanessa James of Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., produced their best short program this season to stand third in pairs with 71.84.

Russia is 1-2 with Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii first at 77.17 and Iuliia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev second at 73.02.

“We made a few changes because we had a problem with how it was laid out,’’ said Radford about the short program. ‘’It’s a little bit more seamless now. The results showed that it was the right choice.”

In the men’s short program, Yuma Kagiyama of Japan dominated the field with 100.64 points. Only 5.29 points separate second from seventh. Deniss Vasiljevs of Latvia is second at 89.76 and Jason Brown of the U.S. third at 89.39.

Canada’s Keegan Messing didn’t land his quad toe or tripe-triple combo cleanly and stands sixth at 85.03, still within striking distance of the podium.

‘’It was a tough go of it, my legs felt a little bit shaky out there,’’ said Messing, at his third international event this season and second Grand Prix. ‘’I fought for every point and focused on continuing the performance. All in all, I can walk away with my head held high and I’ll get them in the long.’’

Russians stand 1-2-3 after the women’s short program. World champion Anna Shcherbakova is first, Alena Kostornaia second and Kseniia Sinitsyna third. There are no Canadian entries.

Competition ends Saturday with all four free skates.


Five Canadians Set to Participate in the Fifth ISU Grand Prix Event

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will have three entries for a total of five skaters competing at the 2021 Internationaux de France in Grenoble, France. Canada will have one entry in men, one entry in pairs and one entry in ice dance. This is the fifth event in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and the event takes place from November 19 to 21, 2021.    

Keegan Messing, 29, Girdwood, Alaska, USA will be the lone Canadian entry in men. Messing finished fourth at the 2021 Finlandia trophy and recently placed fifth at the 2021 Skate Canada International. He is coached by Ralph Burghart in Anchorage, Alaska, USA. 

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

Ice dance team Piper Gilles, 29, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier 30, Unionville, Ont., will be the sole Canadian entry in ice dance. So far in 2021, they have placed first in both the 2021 Skate Canada International and 2021 Autumn Classic International. They are coached by Carol Lane, Juris Razgulajevs and Jon Lane in Scarborough, Ont.   

Dr. Shae Zukiwsky, Senior Director, Performance Excellence and Manon Perron, Skate Canada High Performance Advisor will be the team leaders at the event.  Dr. Lee Schofield of Toronto, Ont., and physiotherapist Mike McMurray of Oak Bluff, Man., will be the medical staff onsite. Cynthia Benson of Quispamsis, N.B., and Nicole LeBlanc-Richard., of Dieppe, N.B., will be the Canadian officials for the event.  




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


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


Piper Gilles (29) and Paul Poirier (30) / Toronto, Ont. / and Unionville, Ont. / Ice Dance Elite, Scarboro FSC / Coached by Carol Lane, Juris Razgulajevs, Jon Lane 

Gilles and Poirier Take the Road to Gold at Skate Canada International

VANCOUVER – The long and winding road led to gold for Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier as they won the ice dance competition on Saturday at Skate Canada International, the second stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.

Skating to the Beatles classic, the Toronto duo enthralled the crowd at UBC totalling 210.97 points less than four points off their personal best set in a bronze medal performance at the world championships in March. Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy were second at 200.05 and Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz of Spain third at 192.83.

‘’The free dance was a little more shaky than our short program,’’ said Poirier. ‘’We have some nerves to work through, but this is really a big step forward moving through the rest of the Grand Prix season.’’

Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., were sixth and Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C. 10th.

‘’We didn’t get the score we wanted but that ovation from the crowd at the end that for me was really awesome,’’ said Lajoie.

In pairs, Canadians Vanessa James and Eric Radford came within less than two points from the podium finishing fourth with 187.92 points.

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China took the gold with 224.05, Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin of Russia were second at 193.08 and Ashley Cain -Gribble and Timothy Leduc of the U.S. climbed from sixth after the short to third with 189.90.

First year partners James and Radford were less than three points off their best score set earlier this month at the Finlandia Trophy.

‘’Aspects of our program grew and improved, aspects of certain elements that we focused on after Finlandia improved but certain other elements need improvement,’’ said Radford.

‘’This is a step up,’’ added James. ‘’A lot of the transition elements are better, but we are still working on getting that clean program.’’

Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., were sixth and Lori-Anne Matte and Thierry Ferland of Levis, Que., were seventh.

In men’s competition, Nathan Chen of the U.S. was the only skater in the top group to deliver a clean program and he won the gold outright landing four quads and totalling 307.18 points. Jason Brown of the U.S. was second at 259.55 and Evgeni Semenenko of Russia moved from fifth to third with 256.01.

Canada’s Keegan Messing struggled in his free skate and dropped from third to fifth overall with 238.34. Conrad Orzel of Woodstock, Ont., couldn’t gain ground with the sixth best free skate and remained ninth and Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., was 12th.

‘’I was pretty disappointed I wasn’t able to give the performance I wanted to today,’’ said Messing, sixth at the world championships this past March. ‘’After my fall I felt a bit shaky but I tried to forget about it. I’m just going to put my best foot forward towards the next competition.’’

Orzel was determined to bounce back after a subpar short.

‘’I was disappointed about my short program, so it was great to come back in the long and do two quad toes in the free skate,’’ said Orzel, 21, in his season debut. ‘’Although there were some mistakes, I was happy with the general performance.’’

Russia swept the medals in women’s competition with Kamila Valieva first, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva second and Alena Kostornaia third.

Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., was eighth, Emily Bausback of Vancouver 11th and Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., 12th.

‘’I was really happy with my free program today,’’ said Schizas, 18, 13th at the 2021 worlds. ‘’My coaching team and I made a lot of changes since my last competition to make the second half of the program more successful and that reflected in my performance today.’’

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season2122/gpcan2021/

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


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.


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

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

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

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