Friday, October 9, 2009

Injury derails Meissner's Olympic dream

Just a week ago, Kimmie Meissner was talking about a comeback - from bad performances in recent years and from injuries that continued to nag her as she readied for a new season of figure skating.

Now her dreams of a second trip to the Olympics in February are over.

The former world and national figure skating champion from Bel Air has not recovered quickly enough from a dislocated right knee cap and tendinitis, which forced her to withdraw Thursday from both of her Grand Prix assignments.

In a text message to The Baltimore Sun, Meissner, 20, said she is not retiring from skating.

"I want to thank everyone who has supported me," she said. "My heart will always be in Maryland with the people who cheered for me first."

Meissner's coach, Richard Callaghan, said the skater was "very upset with the situation."

"She was having a great summer before the injury in August. I was truly confident that if she was skating at 90 percent of her capability, that she had an excellent chance to go back to the Olympics," he said. "It would be a shame if she got back to training and was in the best shape of her life by the time of nationals in January. But she has to comply with the rules."

Her decision has consequences beyond the prize money and points on the international circuit. Meissner was given a bye from having to qualify this weekend at regionals in Rockville for the U.S. National Championships because of the extensive amount of travel involved in competing in the Rostelecom Cup of Russia in Moscow, Oct. 22-25, and the NHK Trophy in Tokyo, Nov. 5-8.

That waiver is no longer valid because it was conditioned on Meissner skating in the Grand Prix events, said U.S. Figure Skating spokeswoman Scottie Bibb.

Putting personal wishes aside
"For the United States to be represented properly, especially in an Olympic year, I feel I must put my personal desire to compete aside," Meissner said in a statement released Thursday.

The 2010 Olympics are in Vancouver, British Columbia, from Feb. 12-28.

Meissner moved back to Bel Air last month from her Florida training home to get physical therapy and to train on her own.

But she was struggling with the death in late August of a beloved aunt who had cancer. And she was preparing to move from the Fort Lauderdale area, where she had her first apartment, to Naples on the Gulf Coast to join Callaghan and coach Todd Eldredge, a six-time U.S. champion.

Meissner said she injured her knee when she attempted to pull out of a jump to avoid a younger skater who had drifted into her path. She landed on her right knee, which swelled and stiffened.

"I was working on the triple axel, and the kicker was I was having an awesome day. I decided to do one more. I guess I shouldn't have," she said last week. "I'm trying my best, but I don't want to jeopardize my health."

Although she was working on her routines and had added several jumps, Meissner said she could not perform her flips and lutzes without pain. In the end, she decided that she didn't want to go to Cup of Russia and compete against 2008 Worlds champion Mao Asada and 2007 Worlds champion Miki Ando without a full arsenal of jumps.

Full article.

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