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Keegan Messing, Canada's lone competitor at Skate America, dedicating performance to grounded teammates | Bet Regal Sports News

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Keegan Messing, Canada’s lone competitor at Skate America, dedicating performance to grounded teammates

Keegan Messing will take the ice alone this week at Skate America in Las Vegas, without even fans in the arena to cheer him on. But he’ll be skating with all of Canada’s team in his thoughts.

The 28-year-old is the lone Canadian competing in a Grand Prix in an international figure skating campaign ravaged by COVID-19.

“I’m very saddened,” Messing said of his teammates grounded back home. “[But] I’m really proud I get to represent the team. I want to skate for them. This is going out to them.”

The Grand Prix circuit, which traditionally kicks off the figure skating season, was changed to reflect travel restrictions, becoming domestic events open to skaters who live and train in that country.

Most of the Canadian team was slated to compete at Skate Canada International, but that event Oct. 30-31 in Ottawa was recently cancelled amid rising coronavirus cases in Ontario, and increased restrictions.

The Grand Prix stop in Grenoble was cancelled Monday. The Grand Prix Final in Beijing had previously been postponed, with no rearranged date for that event.

Messing, who has dual citizenship, lives and trains in Alaska, and his flight to Vegas was his first since he skated at the Four Continents championships last winter in South Korea. The world championships in Montreal last March were cancelled, one of the first dominoes to fall as sports events were cancelled around the world.

It’s been a tough year for Messing, whose younger brother Paxon died in a motorcycle crash in September of 2019.

Training for a season with so many question marks hasn’t been easy. Pushing through the pain of workouts is tough.

“Those times that you really need to dig deep, you’re like ‘Why? What’s the point? Why am I doing this? I don’t want to hurt. I’m going nowhere. So what’s the point of me hurting?”‘ Messing said.

Messing and friend and Canadian teammate Nam Nguyen, who lives in Toronto, have kept each other accountable.

“Nam and I have been calling each other three or more times a week,” Messing said. “He would call me while he’s on the ice and say, ‘Hey, buddy, watch this,’ and go off and do a quad Salchow or something, which in turn would help me get more motivated when I go to the rink.

“I’ll call him when I’m on the rink and I’m having a hard day. Sometimes it’s just having that little bit of competitiveness there, that extra somebody to show off to give you enough motivation to dig deep and pull something out.”

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