Ankle surgery will prevent former national bronze medalist Jeremy Ten from competing at the Canadian figure skating championships in Victoria, B.C. in two weeks.
Ten, 21, of Vancouver, is considered an up-and-comer in men's figure skating in Canada, but has suffered pain in an ankle all season. He underwent surgery Jan. 4 to repair what Skate Canada team doctors diagnosed as a bone impingement. On a waitlist, he hadn't expected surgery to be done until March, but he found out only on Monday about an opening the next day.
The decision to skip the championships was made "to protect my health as well as not to sacrifice next season," Ten said in an email.
Ten's competitive highlights were winning a bronze medal at the 2009 Canadian championships, skating with blinding speed and precision, and then creating a standing ovation at the Four Continents Championships in Vancouver the year before the Olympics - in his hometown of Vancouver. He finished seventh but earned 207.27 points, 32.15 points higher than his previous best.
This season, Ten was plagued with pain in his ankle before the Grand Prix circuit, in which he competed at both the NHK Trophy in Japan and at Skate Canada in Kingston, Ont. in consecutive weeks. But it wasn't certain that he was going to make either: he'd seen many different doctors, underwent many scans and tests and a diagnosis about bone impingement is still unconfirmed. He was given a cortisone shot just before his Grand Prix. "[It]made my ankle a lot worse before getting better," he said. "But I pushed on and I'm glad I did."
Ten had a troubled short program in Japan, but redeemed himself in the long with a gritty skate. "I think I got the nerves out at NHK and I just felt more comfortable and at east at Skate Canada," he said. "I had already accomplished my goals at NHK, which was landing two triple Axels in the long program. That really boosted my confidence."
At Skate Canada, had some difficulties in the short program again, but delivered a very respectable long program to finish eighth, falling on one of his triple Axels, but landing the other.
In the two weeks after the Grand Prix, Ten said he was skating the best he ever had, but then when he began to push himself further with more repetitions - with the aim of making the team going to the world championships in Tokyo in March - the ankle got worse. "My ankle wasn't strong enough," he said. "We tried to ease off, but the damage had been done and it wasn't getting any better."
He and coach Joanne McLeod decided to make a deadline of Dec. 31 to see if the ankle improved, but they both knew that it was not. "The pain got so bad, that I couldn't take it and usually, I have a very high threshold for pain," Ten said.
Surgeons removed a lot of scar tissue from the ankle and shaved some of the bone down. He will have a follow-up session with the surgeon. "I look forward to getting back onto the ice and hopefully training pain free for the first time in over a year," he said. "I know in my heart that I made the right decision. It really wasn't even a decision - the pain had become so unbearable that at the beginning of December, I couldn't do my [triple]flip, Lutz and loop. Nationals at that point were out of the picture."
As far as he knows, the surgery was a success, he says. "I may not have made it to the finish line, but I ran one hell of a good race," he said.
Canada has three spots for men at the world championships this year. The reigning world silver medalist and Grand Prix Final champion Patrick Chan is favoured to take one of them, while Ten's training mate, Kevin Reynolds is pushing to take another berth.