The inevitable articles are coming out about how the extra month of training before the world championships has been helpful to Virtue and Moir. She has recovered (or, I suppose, recovered as much as she ever will while still skating) from her shin surgery. Adjustments have been made to the lift that caused the quad strain that forced the reigning Olympic gold medalists out of Four Continents a few months back.
On one hand, they leave Saturday for Russia as a team that has enjoyed extra rehabilitation time for relief of pressure in Virtue’s shins and calf muscles after surgery last October (she wasn’t back on ice until November), and had some extra time to refine their new routine.
On the other hand, they’re presenting a still-fresh routine to world-class judges in downtown Moscow. The defending world champs from Canada have yet to skate a full competition this season and the suggestion Virtue made Tuesday in a conference call was loaded.
“It almost feels like we're a new team,” said Virtue, which could be good news or bad. “We're skating in a different way than we have in the last two years, or maybe it's just that I feel different skating – which is nice.
“I'm really enjoying it and I'm able to train at 100 per cent, which is a treat.”
I feel like having an extra month of training time has to have only helped Virtue and Moir as far as competing at worlds. Every other team received the extra time, too, but most of the other competitors who have been competing this season are probably completely burned out. Many of them thought that worlds in March would mark the end of their competition seasons (and in some cases, perhaps even careers) and even those who may have been scheduled to compete in the world team trophy know that wouldn't have been the same type of pressure. But Virtue and Moir are surely itching to finally complete a full competition and finish their rumba free dance in front of the judges. Meanwhile, it's been a long and hard season for America's Davis and White, and they have seemed so emotionally drained after every performance that I wonder if they'll have enough momentum going up against Virtue and Moir at worlds.
I guess if the singles skaters are burned out as well, you could also look at this as an emotional advantage for Yu-na Kim, who hasn't competed yet this season. Although I am wondering what sort of subconscious effect the Japanese tragedy will have on the Japanese skaters, many of whom are contenders for gold. Will it inspire them to push harder or will they be overwhelmed with the pressure of trying to give their nation something to cheer for?