Skaters adjust for rescheduled worlds

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Figure skaters watched with horror in March as an earthquake and tsunami flattened Japan's northeast coast and left the rest of the country reeling.

The world championships were scheduled to begin in Tokyo on March 21, 10 days after the quake. Though the Yoyogi arena was not damaged, it was clear that holding a world championships during the recovery efforts would be impossible. But for several long, anxious days, skaters had no idea where or when worlds would be held --- for a brief time, even if they would happen.

"We were expecting and excited to go to a worlds in Japan and then the tragedy happened and we didn't know what to do. You felt guilty for wanting to go to worlds with everything happening," said Canada's Scott Moir, the reigning Olympic and world ice dance champion with Tessa Virtue.

With the change in dates, training plans had to be changed, too.

If there's no date, well, no one quite knew how to handle that.

"I'd go into the rink and just have no clue what I was supposed to do," U.S. men's champion Ryan Bradley said.

On March 24, three days after worlds were supposed to begin, the International Skating Union announced the event would be held Monday to May 1 in Moscow. Qualifying starts Monday.

With a date now on the calendar, skaters got back to their normal training routines. But there was a new challenge. The season is usually over by the end of March, and skaters take April to relax and choreograph their programs for next season.

"I kind of feel I'm a little bit in limbo," said Canada's Patrick Chan. "It's very awkward because your body thinks it should be in the offseason, which it isn't yet."

For some skaters, though, the extra five weeks was a bonus.

Virtue and Moir missed the Grand Prix season and the Canadian championships after she had surgery in October.

"We needed time, we needed the mileage," Moir said.


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