Another setback for figure skater Anthony Paradis

Another setback for figure skater Anthony Paradis

BET À DAY

From the height of his 15 years, the young figure skater Anthony Paradis will be able to say that his first experience on the international scene will have made him live ups and downs, in particular with the cancellation of the Junior Grand Prix of Yerevan which was to take place this week in Armenia. 

This is the second time that Anthony Paradis has missed his chance to represent Canada at an international competition.

Spring last he had to withdraw from a competition in Italy due to a broken ankle. However, this time, armed conflicts played a role.

On September 16, the International Skating Union (ISU) said in a statement that the Yerevan Grand Prix scheduled for September 21-24 was canceled due to violence on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“Given the prevailing uncertainty with safety implications impossible to predict, considering that this is a junior event involving minors and aware that safety is the top priority, the ISU council has concluded that the event cannot take place as planned,” the organization said at the time.

This news was very disappointing for Anthony, the latter having been crowned Canadian Junior Champion last January. “There were a lot of feelings. He had frustration, disappointment, pain because it was already twice. […] So I was like, 'I'm going to go there one day?'” he said a few days after hearing the news.

For his coach, Yvan Desjardins, it was important to act proactively. Quickly, he contacted Skate Canada so that a new international competition could be assigned to the young skater.

“He is a developing athlete “, he explained, recalling the importance of such competitions for his progress.

“It's flat because it's another slap in the face,” added Mr. Desjardins .

Reassignment

The news fell on Thursday: Anthony has been reassigned to the Polish Grand Prix to be held in Gdansk from October 5 to 8. After this disappointment, the young skater was very happy to hear this news.

“I was surprised that it was so fast, it took me like a little while to say to myself 'OK it' is closer than I thought”. But it's really fun,” Paradis said, his eyes lighting up when he heard the news.

For Skate Canada, it was essential that the athletes not be affected by this situation, which is beyond their control. “We immediately wanted to be sure that the athletes who could not compete were not [deprived of a] opportunity”, explained the director general of the federation, Debra Armstrong.

The ISU having acted quickly, all Canadian skaters scheduled to compete in the Yerevan Grand Prix were relocated to other events on the circuit.

All these upheavals led Anthony Paradis to change his way of seeing things.

“Because of all the upheaval, I see it more as an opportunity. I see it more as an apprenticeship than a competition,” said the athlete, who initially saw his first Grand Prix as an opportunity to score points.

Despite everything, these last-minute changes remain a good thing. “It's an evil for a good. In Poland, the time difference is less great and the culture is more like ours, so it will be easier for Anthony to adapt,” explained Yvan Desjardins.

Rather than doing nothing because of this cancellation, Anthony will take part in the Souvenir George-Éthier provincial competition this weekend. It will be a good preparation for the Grand Prix for those who wish to make their place among the best in Canada.

Cancellation of a competition: impacts on several levels

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The cancellation of the Junior Grand Prix of Yerevan in Armenia will have had a significant impact on the physical and mental preparation of Anthony Paradis, who will have to adapt and prepare for a new competition, the Grand Prix of Gdansk in Poland.< /p>

“Of course I spent a lot of time physically, but also off the ice, with my nutritionist and my mental coach preparing for Armenia, but here we will have to adapt and prepare for Poland in two weeks,” explained the 15-year-old skater.

Although he is relieved to be able to participate in an international competition, he has noticed some effects on his morale. About two weeks before a competition, figure skaters increase the intensity of their training in order to practice consistency in the execution of their programs.

“Having to extend this intensity is really difficult morally and physically,” he said after receiving his new assignment.

Although the financial aspect is important for international-level athletes, the cancellation of the Yerevan Grand Prix will not have had no impact at this level for the young skater.

“There were no issues in terms of points and scholarships for Anthony since we are in a learning objective”, explained his coach, Yvan Desjardins, who believes that it's less stress for the athlete.

Impacts in times of pandemic

The pandemic has seen several competition cancellations on the International Skating Union (ISU) circuit, beginning with the cancellation of the 2020 World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal.

For ice dancer couple Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, it was a blessing in disguise. While the Worlds will be back in the Quebec metropolis in 2024, now is a chance for them to get a better ranking at home.

Hit by further cancellations in the year that followed, the dancing couple took the opportunity to improve. “You have to take the opportunity. When you prepare for a competition, you stop improving for a week or two beforehand. You maintain what you have and you try to work on your consistency,” says Lagha.

For Marjorie Lajoie, the pandemic has not only allowed her to improve on the ice, but also off it. “It seems that it calmed my stress because there was less of it […] It allowed me to rework a lot precisely on what stresses me in competition and why I am so stressed or not”, a- she said.

While skaters seek to see the positive when something like this happens, there are impacts to many levels. “When there is a cancellation of competition, especially when it is on a circuit which allows to make points, world rankings, scholarships […] it is sure that it has consequences on several levels” , explained Marie-France Dubreuil, renowned ice dance coach.

What about organizations?

Although the decision to cancel the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal did not come from Skate Canada, the organization understood why the Quebec government had come to this decision.

“Health and safety are the most important things,” said the federation's general manager, Debra Armstrong.

However, there is no denying the impact on Skate Canada, which could not have the benefits associated with the organization of this event.

“For Skate Canada, it was an opportunity to build a financial future so that Quebec , Montreal and figure skating in the country can benefit from it”, mentioned Ms. Armstrong.

Fortunately, Montreal will finally have the chance to host the World Figure Skating Championships in 2024, a joy not only for Skate Canada , but also for Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha who hope to live the experience they missed in 2020.