COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Olympic ice dancers Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates announced today they have withdrawn from the 2010 International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series because of an injury Bates sustained during practice. Samuelson and Bates had been assigned to the NHK Trophy in Japan (Oct. 22-24) and Trophée Eric Bompard (Nov. 26-29) in France.
The team was practicing Tuesday morning when, during a transition, the heel of Samuelson’s blade snagged Bates’ Achilles tendon. They rushed to the emergency room at the University of Michigan Hospital for further examination.
I felt as though something was off with my skate, like the heel or blade had broken,” Bates said. “When I got to the boards, I realized was something was wrong.”
Bates underwent surgery Thursday to repair the severed tendon. He is expected to make a full recovery.
“This injury was entirely unexpected—just a freak accident during a lift that we've done hundreds of times with no mishaps,” Bates said. “I think we're both still in shock that something so simple can have such a devastating result.”
Bates will undergo physical therapy, while Samuelson will continue to train.
“While this is a bit of a setback for the season, we are both definitely motivated to return to training and competing,” Samuelson said.
Samuelson and Bates’ 2009-10 season included a fourth-place finish at Trophée Eric Bompard and a fifth-place finish at Skate Canada. Their bronze-medal win at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships helped earn them a trip to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, where they finished 11th. They wrapped their season with a ninth-place finish at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships in Torino, Italy.
“We want to thank everyone for their support and condolences; the love and well-wishes we’ve received have been much appreciated and are helping us through this rough time,” Samuelson said. “We’ve suffered setbacks before and know we can survive this one as well, and, in the end, can emerge as better people and better skaters.”
This is the second significant injury the team has had to endure. At the 2007 World Junior Championships in Tokyo, Japan, Samuelson fell during the free dance and was stepped on by Bates, severing the tendon in her middle finger and forcing the team to withdraw from the competition.
The team will make a decision at a later time regarding whether they intend to compete at the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, N.C.
photo Getty Images