An Alaska figure skater won his first national title at the Canadian figure skating championships on Saturday.
After the win, Keegan Messing was named to the Canadian figure skating team for the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Messing, a lifelong Alaskan with ties to Anchorage and Girdwood, competes for Canada because his mother was born in Edmonton.
On Saturday, the 29-year-old Messing competed in a nearly empty rink in Ontario because of COVID-19 restrictions. In the free skate competition, he glided and jumped across the ice to the song “Home,” by Phillip Phillips, which he said was a tribute to his infant son.
In total, he scored 258.03 points, earning him his first national title in Canada.
Messing’s victory came after he experienced several flight cancellations, putting him on a 33-hour journey from Anchorage to Ottawa, Ontario for the competition. His luggage, including his skates, were temporarily lost during the chaos, he told Canadian reporters.
A new pair of skates was driven from Toronto and fitted for Messing a day before the competition. His luggage and skates arrived Thursday night.
Messing became the first Alaskan man to compete in Olympic figure skating in 2018 when he was part of Canada’s team in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He finished in 12th place overall.