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Keegan Messing grabs 2nd place — and possibly an Olympic berth — at Canada’s championships

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: January 25, 2018
  • Published January 13, 2018

Keegan Messing, the Alaska figure skater who skates for Canada, could be going to the Winter Olympics.

Keegan Messing skates in the men’s short program on Jan 12, 2018 at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Messing, 25, finished second in men's singles Saturday at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Canada will send two men to the Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, next month. Messing should make the team by virtue of his second-place finish, but nothing is certain in figure skating. Official selections won't be announced until Sunday.

Messing got off to a rocky start but recovered magnificantly.

He fell on his quadruple toe loop — his second jump of the night — but later executed a clean quad toe in combination with another jump. And although he two-footed his landing on a three-jump combination  that started with a triple axel, he landed a big triple axel later.

Patrick Chan, a three-time world champion and the 2014 Olympic silver medalist, turned in a crowd-pleasing performance to capture the gold medal. He scored 272.27 to easily outdistance his competition and claim a record 10th national championship.

Messing totaled 259.25 points and was able to edge Nam Nguyen by 1.09 points to claim second place. Nguyen posted a better score than Messing in Saturday's free skate (174.77 to 173.60), but Messing forged a two-point cushion over Nguyen in Friday's short program (85.65 to 83.39).

For Canadian figure skating officials, it could be a close call between Messing and Nguyen, because Nguyen has more, and better, international results than Messing.

Nguyen was the 2014 World Junior champion and placed fifth at the 2015 World Championships. This season, however, Messing has been one of the most consistent Canadian men and in November placed fifth at a Grand Prix international event in Japan, where Nguyen placed 10th.

Messing, who has dual citizenship, skated for the United States through the 2013-14 season. Since changing his affiliation, he has flirted with making the podium at the Canadian nationals — he was fifth twice and sixth once — before taking the silver medal Saturday.

An early version of this story incorrectly said that Messing's second quad was unplanned.

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