Virtue sidelined again

MIKE KOREEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:14 PM ET

KINGSTON, Ont. -- A lingering leg problem has sidelined 2010 Olympic ice dance champion Tessa Virtue for the second time in three years.

The London native and partner Scott Moir will be forced to miss Skate Canada International Oct. 29-31 in Kingston because of the injury.

Virtue underwent surgery on both of her legs last week because of nagging pain in her shins and calves. She underwent a similar operation in the fall of 2008, forcing her and Moir to drop out of Skate Canada International in Ottawa.

"It's really disappointing for us, these are our Olympic champions," Skate Canada chief executive officer William Thompson said. "But from our perspective, we support (Virtue's) decision. She needs to be able to skate pain-free. There is no upside to delaying something like this."

Virtue, 21, has a condition called chronic exertional compartment syndrome that has caused the pain.

In 2008, she returned to the ice to train eight weeks after the surgery.

With the second bout of surgery taking place just last week in London, there was no chance of competing in Kingston.

Virtue was dealing with the same pain last season, but fought through it and won Olympic gold in Vancouver and at the world championships in Italy in March. Virtue had hoped to wait until after the 2010-11 season to undergo the surgery, but the pain became too much during training in Michigan.

"It's an enormous relief to have a solution to the pain," Virtue said in a statement. "Apparently, the surgery went really well and I am confident that I have the most competent support team to help me with my recovery."

The news is a stinger for organizers, who featured Moir and Virtue on many of the advertisements for the event. However, Thompson did say Moir and Virtue hope to come to Kingston for the event to greet fans and cheer on their Canadian teammates.

Moir is expected to return to Michigan shortly to train on his own while waiting for Virtue to recover.

"In the bigger picture, this is a minor setback and we're excited at the prospect of Tessa being able to skate pain-free going forward," Moir said via statement. "It also shows just how strong Tessa was last year and it was really amazing that she could shut out the pain."

Thompson said Moir and Virtue hope to compete at the Canadian championships in Victoria, B.C. in January.

Toronto's Patrick Chan, a silver medallist in the men's division at the worlds the past two years, now becomes the biggest name at Skate Canada International, which does not have any other 2010 Olympic medal winners in the lineup.

Canadian Olympic bronze medallist Joannie Rochette announced earlier this year that she will not compete in International Skating Union Grand Prix series events this season.

Skate Canada International is the second event in that series this season.


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