Girdwood’s Keegan Messing was just happy to be back on the ice.
With the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating schedule ravaged with cancelations and postponements, the season finally kicked off with Skate America in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There were no fans in attendance and many top skaters were unable to attend due to travel restrictions from COVID.
“This was something that was needed,” Messing said.
The Alaskan made the most out of the opportunity, skating to a third-place finish out of 12 men in the short program.
The top three are Americans Nathan Chen (111.17) and Vincent Zhou (99.36), followed by Messing (92.40), who is representing Canada as a dual citizen.
Messing, 28, lives and trains in Alaska.
“Very happy to put out a clean program,” he said after his performance. “I’m just stoked that we were able to have a competition here. I didn’t realize how much I missed having the butterflies in my stomach.”
He has dedicated this weekend to his Team Canada teammates, who are grounded and unable to travel to the event.
“I want to skate for them,” Messing said.
Skate America wraps up Saturday night with the longer free skate.
The Grand Prix circuit had to be altered to reflect travel restrictions, becoming domestic events open to skaters who live and train in that country.
Next week’s Skate Canada and another event next month in France were cancelled due to COVID. The Grand Prix Finale in China is on hold.