• May 29, 2023

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Figure skating duo didn’t make Olympic team, coach says they’ll come back stronger

Although figure skating team Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud didn’t qualify for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics next month, their coach is assured that the pair will deliver in their future performances. 

The pair came in second place in the senior round at the National Figure Skating Championships in Ottawa on Saturday, with Vanessa James and Eric Radford being named for the Olympics instead.

The James-Radford duo concluded in fourth-place on Friday and will represent Canada alongside Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, who won gold. 

Walsh of London, Ont., and Michaud from Belleville, Ont., have trained under Alison Purkiss of Skate Canada for about five years as a team.  

Purkiss stated the pair performed exceptionally and achieved their goals for the season, but not getting the Olympic tag along with any feedback on their performance makes the loss harder.  

“They’re more than disappointed, they’re a bit heartbroken,” she said. “They came in really prepared and focused and felt like they had a legitimate shot, so that was hard on them.” 

Purkiss acknowledges that this was the duo’s first senior season in an Olympic year, and they did a great job of managing the pressure to deliver big on the international stage.

“They’re young, it took them some time to figure out how to drown out the expectations and focus on themselves to do what they can do, and they did exactly that,” she said.   

For Purkiss, this was 20-year-old Walsh and 25-year-old Michaud’s best performance, as they maintained their energy and speed throughout despite not having a crowd to cheer them on.

“It was tough, there was no crowd, no energy in the building or the big hype that nationals usually draw, and it was a challenge for the whole event,” she added. 

However, Purkiss is confident that Walsh-Michaud will have many more chances to claim a victory at the Four Continents figure skating championship next week. “They’re going to pivot and try to put this heartbreak behind them to deliver strong skates because that’s all you can really do, take a hit and move on.”

Steve Carr

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