Other Sports: Figure skating-Canadian Olympic hopefuls play it safe amid COVID-19 threat


(Reuters) – Quite a few Canadian determine skaters have develop into a reclusive bunch forward of the nationwide skating championships given the spectre of a constructive COVID-19 take a look at, which might wreck their goals of competing at subsequent month’s Beijing Olympics.

The Jan. 6-13 championships in Ottawa, the place Canada’s determine skating squad for Beijing might be chosen, might be held with out spectators given the threat of the extremely contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“We have been so tremendous cautious. We have not seen actually an excessive amount of of anyone in any respect,” Kirsten Moore-Towers, who together with pairs associate Michael Marinaro gained gold on the 2020 Skate Canada Challenge, advised a convention name on Tuesday.

“Obviously we’re sporting masks wherever we go and just about limiting ourselves to the grocery retailer, our coaching services and residential and simply making an attempt our absolute best to make sure that we aren’t going to be testing constructive.”

Marinaro stated he and Moore-Towers had initially deliberate to fly to Ottawa for the competitors however in a bid to restrict contact with different individuals will as a substitute make the roughly 4-1/2 hour drive there as a substitute.

“There’s not likely anyone we’re involved with exterior of our coaches and the grocery retailer. Pretty a lot the one problematic factor is the grocery retailer,” stated Marinaro.

“Outside of that, for the previous three weeks there was zero, zero contact and simply making an attempt to remain as safe as potential to the most effective of our skills.”

Those competing this week wouldn’t have to indicate proof of a damaging COVID-19 take a look at, in keeping with media studies, however Piper Gilles, who gained ice dance gold with Paul Poirier at 2021 Skate Canada International, stated she trusts organisers will take mandatory precautions to ensure every little thing is safe.

Gilles additionally stated that she and Poirier are doing their greatest to remain centered on the issues they will management quite than fret over the implications of a constructive COVID-19 take a look at.

“We understand how huge of a deal that is and our Olympic goals may be taken away inside days if one thing like this occurs however we will not actually have a look at it as a result of if we do this, we’re gonna drive ourselves completely loopy,” stated Gilles. “And that is not good. It’s not good mentally.”

Poirier stated they’ve loads of expertise competing amid the COVID-19 outbreak and have discovered methods to attenuate their threat by discovering quiet locations for warmups and holding distance from different rivals, coaches and assist employees.

“We’ve been isolating from just about everybody moreover going to the coaching rink for a number of weeks now and might be doing the identical going into the Games as properly,” stated Poirier.

“We perceive how excessive the stakes are proper now and the way a lot COVID is basically simply being transmitted in every single place locally round us.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

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