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Two-time national champion Keegan Messing retires from competitive figure skating

OTTAWA — Keegan Messing has retired from competitive figure skating, and the reigning Canadian men's champion says he has no regrets.
Two-time Canadian men's champion Keegan Messing has retired from competitive skating. Messing performs in the men's short program at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

OTTAWA — Keegan Messing has retired from competitive figure skating, and the reigning Canadian men's champion says he has no regrets.

Messing announced he is hanging up his skates in a release Friday, four months after winning his second consecutive national title.

"As I step away from competitive figure skating, I don’t feel burdened with what I couldn’t achieve but fulfilled with what I’ve gained and accomplished," Messing said. “I can step away knowing that I’ve truly made a difference in the sport and that I’ve accomplished all I set out for."

Messing, a dual Canadian-American citizen from Anchorage, Alaska, has represented Canada on the world stage since 2014.

The 31-year-old won the Canadian title in 2022 and defended it in January at the Canadian championships in Oshawa, Ont.

Messing's second title came after an emotional skate, as his wife Lane Hodson was due to give birth to their second child while he competed.

He said at the time that it would be his last competitive skate.

"The only thing that could have made it better is having a little bit of a cleaner free skate. But everything other than that, I couldn't have asked for a better ending,'' Messing said, before catching a 2 a.m. flight back to Alaska.

He won gold medals at the 2018 and 2022 Nebelhorn Trophy events, silver at Skate Canada International in 2018 and silver at the 2023 ISU Four Continents Championships.

Messing represented Canada at the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics. His circuitous journey to the Beijing Olympics, made more difficult by stringent COVID-19 restrictions, received significant media coverage.

Messing tested positive for COVID-19 in Vancouver before the Canadian team's charter to Beijing.

Needing four negative tests before getting the green light to travel, he was forced to spend about a week in Vancouver, running up and down his hotel stairwell to keep fit before he was cleared to practise.

He finally flew to China via Montreal and Milan, arriving in Beijing less than 24 hours before the men's short program.

"I'm an optimistic guy, but this definitely took the cake for putting my optimism to a test,'' Messing said at the time.

Messing said he's looking forward to spending more time with his family, including son Wyatt and daughter Mia, and plans to continue skating in professional shows.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2023.

The Canadian Press