Three-time defending champ Chan pulls out of worlds

AFP-JIJI

Reigning men’s world champion Patrick Chan, who settled for silver at the Sochi Olympics, said Monday he will not seek a fourth consecutive title at this month’s World Figure Skating Championships.

The Canadian, the latest big name to pull out of the upcoming March 24-30 showpiece in Saitama, said he would still like to win a fourth world crown one day, but did not want to return to training so soon after the Olympics.

Yuzuru Hanyu won the Olympic gold last month with Chan second in a matchup that saw both men fall short of their own performance expectations on the sport’s biggest stage.

“I assessed after the games how I felt. I was being realistic and asked myself if I could see going right (back) into training, and I didn’t see that as a possibility,” Chan, 23, said.

“I know that I don’t skate well when I’m not fully involved and fully attentive and wanting to be there. So I knew it would be smart to let this one go and look at the ones in the future.

“Honestly in my heart, I know I want to win another world championship.”

Chan, who will tour Canada with the Stars on Ice show this spring, added: “I still feel like I want to accomplish more, whether it’s in skating or whether it’s outside of skating.

“For the immediate moment, I know I don’t want to be involved in the competitive side but in the future — 2016, 2017, 2018, or even 2015 world championships — I may tackle those challenges and those goals.”

Sochi ice dance runners-up Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic champions, also said Monday they will not compete in Japan.

“We were so pleased with our (Olympic) performances — both short and free dance — and just thrilled with the experience we had at the Olympics,” Virtue said. “It just seemed like the right way to end the season and a nice way to say goodbye to those two programs in particular.”

Whether the duo will compete next season remains to be seen. Moir said they needed more time to decide future plans but hope “to find some clarity” while on tour.

“We want to gauge what fire we have to come back and compete or not, and evaluate our situation,” Virtue said. “We owe it to ourselves to give it some time.”

Davis, White withdraw

Colorado Springs Colorado AP

Olympic gold medalist ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will not compete at the world championships in Saitama this month.

The Americans announced on Monday they would not defend their world title. As for their competitive future, White said in a news release “we will leave our options open.”

Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton will take their spot after finishing fifth at the U.S. Championships in January.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who were fourth, are sidelined because Hubbell needs surgery on a torn labrum in her left hip.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates and siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, who both finished in the top 10 at the Sochi Games last month, will also represent the United States in ice dance.

Davis and White became the first Americans to win Olympic gold in ice dance.

“We feel that our incredibly positive Olympic experience is the culmination of and perfect ending to a wonderful four-year cycle,” White said in the release.

The three women who represented the U.S. in Sochi — Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds — will go to worlds. Gold was fourth at the Olympics and could contend for a medal in Japan with Yuna Kim’s retirement.

Four-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott will skate at the worlds before retiring. He will be joined by Max Aaron, the 2013 U.S. champ, who failed to qualify for the Olympics.

In pairs, two-time U.S. champs Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, coming off a top-10 showing in Sochi, will compete along with Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, who were third at nationals.