Now that she’s on the Olympic team through an injury waiver, Michelle Kwan is going to need some major ice time to get ready. Because of injuries and by choice, Kwan hasn’t competed since March 2005, when she was fourth at the world championships. She won’t be getting her ice time here. Kwan said she would not skate in the Four Continents competition, set for Jan. 23-28 at World Arena. Four Continents is a major international competition two weeks before the Feb. 10-26 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, making it a stop for skaters wanting a tuneup. Some speculated it would be a prime venue for Kwan to test her programs before international judges. Instead, Kwan said she wanted to spend the time healing her groin injury, suffered in December. That means when Kwan takes the ice Feb. 21 for the ladies’ short program in Turin, she will not have skated in an official competition in 11 months. Kwan said she started doing jumps Friday. “I’m pacing myself and I just started jumping, so I wouldn’t rush the healing process,” Kwan said in a conference call in St. Louis early Sunday. “How I feel is great, but if I had to prepare for a competition right now, right this second, it would be difficult.” Men’s national silver medalist Evan Lysacek, both Olympic pairs teams and all three Olympic dance teams, including Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, who won their third national title and first Olympic berth Friday, said before nationals they will compete in the event. Surprise men’s bronze medalist Matt Savoie, who spends months each year in Colorado Springs working with renowned choreographer Tom Dickson, is also a possibility. Others, such as national champions Sasha Cohen and Johnny Weir, are likely to train closer to home. Kwan, who trains in Artesia, Calif., must prove to a group of five U.S. Figure Skating Association officials that she is healed enough to compete in the Games. The group will witness a “run through” of her short and long programs sometime before Jan. 27. The international committee that granted two-time Olympic medalist Kwan the injury waiver required the “run through” when the Olympic team was picked after the ladies’ final at nationals. Cohen, Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes were 1-2-3, but the committee voted 20-3 to bump Hughes in favor of Kwan. “We felt she had a better chance to medal,” international committee chair Bob Horen said of Kwan, who won silver at the 1998 Games and bronze in 2002, when Hughes’ sister, Sarah, won the title. If examiners are not satisfied Kwan is healthy, she will be replaced by Emily Hughes, named the first Olympic alternate. Katy Taylor was named second alternate. Kwan has said if she’s not 100 percent healthy, she will pull herself off the team. The U.S. Olympic Committee must submit the final roster to the International Olympic Committee by Jan. 30. Four Continents Figure Skating Championships Entries (subject to skaters’ confirmation): Ladies — Emily Hughes, Katy Taylor, Beatrisa Liang; men — Evan Lysacek*, Matt Savoie*, Michael Weiss; pairs — Rena Inoue and John Baldwin*; Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem*; Katie Orscher and Garrett Lucash; dance — Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto*; Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov*; Jamie Silverstein and Ryan O’Meara* (* — 2006 Olympic team) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships Jan. 23-28 at World Arena Schedule Jan. 23-24 — practice sessions Jan. 25 — Compulsory dance, 11:30 a.m.; pairs short program, 3 p.m.; men’s short program, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 — Original dance, 11:30 a.m.; pairs free skating (finals), 3 p.m.; ladies short program, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 — Free dance (finals), 2 p.m.; men’s free skating (finals), 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 — Ladies free skate (finals), 11:30 a.m.; exhibition of champions, 6:30 p.m. Tickets: Call TicketsWest at 719-576-2626 or toll-free at 866-464-2626; visit World Arena box office; or see www.worldarena.com
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