One Must Brace Oneself For Pre-Worlds Withdrawals

Usually, though, the withdrawals aren’t for the kinds of reasons we’ve had to deal with this year.

I suppose with this latest doping scandal apparently getting to be a big deal, it really was too much to hope for no skater anywhere would get caught up in it.  And now apparently the ISU has said there are more skaters who have failed dope tests, although with nothing else divulged yet at least some of them are probably speed skaters.  Meanwhile, Bobrova & Soloviev are pretty much saying they think someone spiked her drink, although quite frankly if it turns our Marina Zueva would do something like that it’ll be far worse for the sport than any individual skaters getting caught doping could be.  And if it’s anyone from the Stepanova & Bukin camp, they’re right idiots.  The way Russian skaters tend to wiggle out of full suspensions, I wouldn’t be surprised if B&S were back in time to qualify for the Olympics, especially if Maria Sharapova succeeds in shortening hers and sets that precedent, and in the long run it would be better for S&B to let the highest-scoring teams get the third spot back and go to the Olympics later, rather than go to Worlds now.

Speaking of which, the withdrawal of Liam Firus is even odder.  Has any athlete *ever* voluntarily withdrawn to let his country have a better chance at retaining three spots? Especially with the kind of year Nam Nguyen’s been having; he could just as easily blow any chance Canada has of getting that third spot back as give Chan room to work with. You’ve got to figure Skate Canada was at least putting pressure on the guy, no matter what they say.

But honestly, it’s the more usual injury-related withdrawal announced today that’s breaking my heart.  I was so looking forward to see Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau at Worlds, and Moore-Towers & Moscovitch are no replacement for this brilliant young pair:

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