COVID-19 has wrecked the Grand Prix figure skating events.
In figure skating, there are seasons, just like any other sport. Each season has 6 international Grand Prix events, where skaters participate through multiple preliminary rounds to qualify for the sixth Grand Prix event. This year, the figure skating season started on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2021.
Although largely overlooked by the public, the Grand Prix events are important because they serve as a trial for the Olympic games. However, there has been a mass cancelation and postponing of Grand Prix events due to the continuous rising cases of COVID-19 throughout the world.
For instance, at Grand Prix events, there are usually skaters fans that come to watch from multiple countries. Thus, due to the pandemic, many governments have decided that postponing the Grand Prix would be the safest option for athletes and fans.
For the reason of safety, three out of six of the Grand Prix events in 2020 have been canceled. The first Grand Prix event to be canceled was Skate Canada on October 14, which was set for Oct. 30 and 31 in Ottawa. The Canadian government enforced this decision to protect the health and safety of their athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers.
The second Grand Prix event in 2020 to be canceled was the Grand Prix of France on October 20. The cancelation of the Grand Prix of France has caused problems because some of the sport’s biggest names such as Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron were set to compete.
The last Grand Prix event in 2020 to be canceled was the Grand Prix Final in Beijing, China, which was scheduled to be in December. This is a very significant action as the Grand Prix Final was going to be used as a test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic games.
However, the only Grand Prix event in 2020 that was not canceled is Grand Prix America in Las Vegas. There will be many precautions taken such as only allowing American skaters and not permitting an audience.
With the mass cancelation of Grand Prix events, skaters will be massively affected. Numerous athletes have practiced long hours for months in hopes to do well in the competition. The sudden cancelation of the Grand Prix will seem to put the skater’s hard work to waste. This will most likely stir emotions such as disappointment in skaters. Likewise, fans will also be upset because they will not be able to watch their favorite skaters perform.
Even though the hard work of the skaters would be undermined, the precautions taken are needed to protect the welfare of athletes and fans.
The Grand Prix is an international event and requires contact with people all around the world. This presents a risk because each country is in a different stage of the virus. Some countries that already have their COVID cases controlled will go to countries where COVID cases are continuously rising. This could cause a transfer of diseases from a high risk country to a previously safe one as there will be fans and athletes from all around the world.
Nevertheless, the cancelations of the Grand Prix figure skating events will ultimately cause distress for all parties. The hard work of athletes will be lost; the fans who were looking forward to watching the competitions will be disappointed and coaches will be upset as their athletes do not have a chance to perform. Even with the massive letdown, the cancelation is the best solution to the problem of health and safety caused by COVID because the competition would compromise the welfare of all parties in the competitions.
As skater Bradie Tennell says, “The main goal is to stay healthy.”