SSC Competition Update - January 8

 

With the situation surrounding COVID-19 changing so rapidly in recent weeks, Speed Skating Canada staff met recently to re-examine our Competition Contingency Planning Framework as it relates to upcoming competitions. Please see below for a summary of these decisions.

► Domestic Competitions in February

Due to the rapid evolution of the pandemic, SSC opted to separate decisions regarding postponement/cancellation for competitions in February and in March. After consulting with event hosts and examining the factors outlined in our Framework – including current trends in COVID-19 cases, local and provincial health authority guidelines, venue accessibility and training conditions for participants – SSC has made the difficult decision to cancel Short Track Canada Cup 2 and the Canadian Youth Long Track Championships set to take place in February. We are exploring options to postpone Long Track Canada Cup 3 to a date in March and will communicate more details as soon as possible.

While we had very much hoped to hold these events in a safe manner, we are facing significant challenges brought about by the rising number of COVID-19 cases and the easily transmissible Omicron variant. Our best option in these difficult circumstances is to minimize risk for all by following public health guidance in our hosting provinces and avoiding gathering for competitions at this time.

All High Performance bulletins impacted by the postponement or cancellation of domestic competitions will be updated and communicated when available.

► Domestic Competitions in March

SSC staff will collaborate with event hosts for competitions in March to monitor the conditions that are necessary for successful events to take place. We are committed to communicating further decisions regarding all events set to take place in March by February 4.

► World Junior Championships Participation

When examining the factors in our Framework and applying them to international event participation, it became evident that it would not be safe to send junior-aged athletes to competitions abroad at this time. Due to the elevated risk of transmission presented by the Omicron variant and the implications should an athlete test positive overseas, SSC has made the difficult decision to withdraw participation from the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships, scheduled for January 28-30 in Austria.

While we understand that this news is no doubt disappointing for our juniors aspiring to represent Canada on the international stage, we must continue to prioritize health and safety at this time. We have been exploring options to provide junior-aged athletes with safe and meaningful training and competition opportunities over the coming months. These will include the designation of a junior team based on events in March (if feasible) and training camps offered exclusively to our junior skaters. More information will be shared by our High Performance program shortly.

We will review participation in the ISU World Junior Short Track Championships, scheduled to take place in early March, over the coming weeks.  

► SSC Challenge

One of the positive take-aways from COVID-19 to date has been the ability for SSC to connect with our community virtually from coast-to-coast. Once again this year, we will be offering an SSC Challenge to engage our skaters in friendly competition with their peers across the country. Building off last year’s virtual challenge, and incorporating input from our Competition Working Group, we hope this activity will support PTSOs and clubs in motivating their athletes toward personal goals in sport despite the challenges of the pandemic. More information on the SSC Challenge will be communicated soon!