OSAKA, Japan — In a season all but erased by COVID-19, a handful of Canadian figure skaters will have one last chance to compete at this week's World Team Trophy in Osaka, Japan. Nam Nguyen and Roman Sadovsky are the men's singles skaters, Alison Schumacher and Gabrielle Daleman will compete in women's singles, Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland are Canada's pairs team, and Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus will compete in ice dance. The Team Trophy, which runs Thursday through Sunday, awards points to countries in the four disciplines combined. Canada won gold in the team event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, and silver in the event in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Canada is sending a different team than the one that competed at the world figure skating championships last month in Stockholm, giving precious competition experience to skaters in a season that was virtually wiped out by the global pandemic. Both Skate Canada International and the Canadian championships were cancelled. The only semi-competitive event skaters completed in was the Skate Canada Challenge which was virtual - far from ideal in a pre-Olympic season. As of now, a limited number of fans will be allowed in Maruzen Intec Arena, despite rising COVID-19 cases in Osaka. Athletes will compete in a bubble environment, travelling only between the designated hotel and arena. The Tokyo Olympic torch relay recently cancelled the leg that was scheduled to pass through Osaka on Tuesday and Wednesday, raising questions about whether the Team Trophy would still go ahead. Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura announced Sunday he may request a state of emergency amid the steep climb in COVID-19 cases and growing signs of a fourth wave driven by new variants. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021. The Canadian Press
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