Kwan Withdraws From Skating Final
LAKE ARROWHEAD, Calif. (AP) _ Michelle Kwan withdrew today from her next big pre-Olympic figure skating tournament, after her doctor recommended more rest to help heal a lingering stress fracture in a toe on her left foot.
Kwan, the 1996 world and national women’s champion and a favorite for the Olympic gold medal in Nagano less than two months away, was still expected to be completely recovered in time for the national championships in Philadelphia next month, the U.S. Figure Skating Association said.
Her coach said Kwan continued to have ``slight pain″ from the injury, which she suffered six weeks ago and has now knocked her out of two major warm-ups for the Winter Games.
A federation statement said Kwan was examined Wednesday by her doctor, who recommended she withdraw from the Champions Series Final in Munich Dec. 19-21.
``I was disappointed because I really wanted to compete in the Champions Series Final,″ Kwan said. ``But I also want to be in the best possible shape for the U.S. championships, so I have to listen to my doctor’s advice.″
Frank Carroll, her coach, said Kwan’s rehabilitation from a stress fracture in the second toe of her left foot was going ``very well and there has been a noticeable improvement in her condition. But she is still experiencing some slight pain.″
Kwan sustained the injury last summer and aggravated it during Skate Canada Nov. 7-9, the skating federation said. The foot was placed in a cast Nov. 10 to assure total rest, and removed Nov. 26. Kwan resumed training Dec. 1, wearing a soft, removable cast when she was off the ice.
The injury forced Kwan out of the NHK Trophy event on the Olympic ice in Nagano, but she was given a waiver into the series final, where she and reigning world champion Tara Lipinski had been expected to renew their rivalry.
Kwan went back to training with a light week of skating strokes and had just resumed jumping, according to skating federation spokeswoman Heather Linhart. Linhart said there was no aggravation of the injury caused by the heavier workouts, only a desire by Kwan’s doctor to assure the best possible chance to have the skater at full strength when the Olympic team is picked in Philadelphia Jan. 4-11.
The Winter Olympics will be held in Nagano starting Feb. 7.
Laetitia Hubert of France, who won the Lalique Trophy, was given Kwan’s place in the Champions Series Final.