Skater sustains injury, deserves no spot on Olympic team

Jessica MacIntosh - Editor-in-Chief

Jessica MacIntosh – Editor-in-Chief

Jessica MacIntosh

From Jan. 7-15, St. Louis played host to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. For the city, it was the most exciting event that has ever taken place. This was something completely different for St. Louis. It wasn’t an exhibition show; this was a competition to see who would make it to the Olympics in Torino, Italy.

Though I did not have the chance to go, I was excited to have skaters like Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen and Michael Weiss come to the Gateway to the West.

But, right before the championships, breaking news about Kwan swept through sports news stations like ESPN.

She suffered a groin injury that would affect her chances of competing in the U.S. Championships. Kwan had to pull out of the competition in St. Louis, making this the first time since 1991, according to U.S. Figure Skating sent doctors to monitor Kwan’s injury.

However, the International Olympic Committee allowed Kwan to petition for a spot on the figure skating team.

When the news hit about Kwan not competing, the media took advantage of the situation to only report on what had happened, not about the competition as a whole.

Other skaters like Evan Lysacek were bombarded with questions about the absent skater.

The real question was ‘should she or shouldn’t she have been named to the skating team.’

The answer was announced Jan. 15 after the women’s free skate. Kwan has been named to the team after a 20-3 vote.

She with Cohen and Kimmie Meissner will travel to Torino to try and secure medals for the United States. Emily Hughes who placed third after the free skate and Katy Taylor were named as the alternates.

According to an article on, the committee selected Kwan to the team because they “believed she had a better chance to win an Olympic medal than Hughes.”

Also, in the petition Kwan submitted to the committee, she said she would be “pleased” if representatives from the USFS would observe her practices and program run-throughs on Friday. If by Friday Kwan is not well enough to skate in the Olympics, the IOC will pull her from the team.

A five-person panel made up of an athlete, three international judges and Bob Horen, international committee chair, will determine whether she will be able to compete by evaluating her short and long programs. From there, they will vote, according to

I have seen Kwan skate before, and she puts on amazing programs, but the IOC should not have voted in favor of Kwan to be on the team.

I think if you are unable to make a competition despite injury or sickness, you should not be allowed to petition for a spot. It is not fair to the other skaters who made the journey and the effort and who have trained for the Olympics.

If you cannot compete, then you miss a chance. I think the IOC needs to do away with the idea of letting skaters petition for Olympic spots.

Let other skaters have the chance to live their Olympic dreams.

Secondly, in the past Olympics, Kwan did not receive the gold medal at either the 1998 Nagano Games or the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Two skaters beat her out for the top position: Tara Lipinski in 1998 and Sarah Hughes in 2002.

If she wasn’t able to do it then, what makes the IOC think Kwan will be able to secure the top spot this year?