Ice Network

The Inside Edge: Edmunds returns following layoff

Olympian no longer bothered by bone bruise; Cannuscio, McManus retire
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Polina Edmunds, pictured here working with choreographer Rudy Galindo, is confident about her return to the ice. -Courtesy of Polina Edmunds

After winning the silver medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2016 -- her second runner-up finish at that event in three years -- Polina Edmunds seemed poised for even greater success. Due to a persistent injury, however, Edmunds has not competed since then.

The issue -- a troublesome bone bruise on the navicular bone in her right foot -- stemmed from a new pair of skates Edmunds received in December 2015.

"I had a pair of new boots that were very stiff," Edmunds said via telephone. "Usually I take a long time to break them in, with edges and skating skills, but we were under such a time constraint with nationals that I started jumping too early in the new skates. I hadn't realized it was getting so extreme. In the past, if there was a little pain, it was just me complaining or whining, but this time it became unbearable."

Edmunds learned of the bone bruise in February 2016 after undergoing an MRI. She was told it would be OK for her to keep skating as long as she didn't jump, so that's what she did. But the pain persisted, and a second MRI in June revealed that the injury was still present.

Following four weeks off the ice, Edmunds went for another MRI, which appeared to show that her foot was healthy. 

"I started skating again in August, and I went to Champs Camp and everything," Edmunds said. "I was still feeling some pain at times, and by November it was hurting again and the bone bruise was back. So at that point, I decided to take as much time as I needed to heal."

The navicular bone doesn't receive a lot of blood supply and, thus, can take a long time to heal.

"If it had fully fractured and I needed surgery, it would have been career-ending," Edmunds said.

This time, Edmunds stayed off the ice completely, from mid-November until March.

"I was still doing workouts off the ice, just completely non-impact," she said. "Things like flexibility stretching and core work, so I could stay in shape -- but not using my feet."

Edmunds started college in the fall at Santa Clara University, where she is studying communications. She said she stayed very busy with school, getting to participate in different activities she normally wouldn't get to experience with skating in her life.

"I kind of got accustomed to not having to skate to keep busy," Edmunds said. "I wasn't sad or anything. I missed skating, of course, but there's so much more going on in my life."

Another MRI this past February indicated that Edmunds' foot had completely healed. Despite the positive news, she decided to wait until March to get back on the ice. Later that month, she began doing single jumps, and within weeks Edmunds was performing triples.

"It's been going really well," she said on her return to the ice. "Everyone was surprised that my skating skills were still there, and it's surprising how easily it came back and how much better it feels. I've got to put the jumps in the programs now, but my team and I are all very confident."

Since Edmunds never performed her programs in competition last season, she will keep both the short and the free.

"Everyone loves them, and no one got to see them," she said of the programs, which are both choreographed by Rudy Galindo.

Edmunds plans to go to college full time for the first quarter in the fall and then take the winter off -- in the event she's busy with trips to San Jose for the U.S. championships and, potentially, PyeongChang, site of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Cannuscio, McManus ready for next phase

After nine seasons together, ice dancers Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus have announced their retirement from competition. During their partnership, the duo won the 2013 Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria, and the pewter medal at the 2016 U.S. Championships. At their final competition, the 2017 U.S. Championships, they placed sixth.

"While our final season was not at all equivalent to what we were striving for, there comes a time when we have to sit back and decide if dedicating ourselves to another year is truly worth it," the team said in a statement. "With the combination of how the season ended and where we are in our lives, we were able to come to the decision to move on."

McManus admitted the decision to retire was a difficult one.

"It's really hard to say goodbye to something you've been doing so long," he said in a phone interview. "It's hard to imagine our lives without competing and not to hear your name called to represent your country at a competition. It's kind of hard to let go, but we felt that it was time."

With the ice dance field so deep in the U.S. right now, McManus realized he and Cannuscio didn't have a realistic shot at making the Olympic team.

"It's such an incredible time to be a dancer in the U.S. -- it's an embarrassment of riches," he said. "Not only at the senior level but at the junior level, too. The U.S. could send out any team and have a respectable showing. We had to decide if we were willing to go back into the fray, and at this point in our lives, it was best for us to say no."

McManus is engaged to Cannuscio's sister, Isabella, and their wedding is planned for May 27, 2018. All three will be working in Delaware moving forward.

"I have a good coaching business here and Isabella has a good job at the rink," said McManus, who will continue to coach and choreograph with Anastasia.

In their joint statement, the team thanked U.S. Figure Skating, their parents, fans and fellow competitors, as well as all their coaches and choreographers.

Wedding season is upon us

In other wedding news, Timothy Goebel married Thomas Luciano on April 29 at The Chanler in Newport, Rhode Island. Among the 45 guests were skaters Kristin Fraser, Igor Lukanin and Kristy Balkwill.

"We started dating in March 2013 and got engaged last April," Goebel wrote in a text. "He's a senior vice president at PIMCO (an asset manager) and he works on portfolio strategy."

Goebel, the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist, is working for Google on a new data analytics partner program.

"[I've] been at Google since January and I love it," he said.

Meanwhile, Finnish superstar Kiira Korpi announced on Instagram that she and long time boyfriend Arthur Borges are engaged.

In other news…

Kim Navarro gave birth to a baby girl, Anna Granada Freeman, on May 6 in San Francisco. It is the first child for Navarro and husband Mark Freeman.

"Granada is Spanish for pomegranate, which somehow became her nickname during pregnancy," Navarro told us.

She also joked that her skating partner, Brent Bommentre, was lifting two people for a while; Navarro kept skating for the first five months of her pregnancy.

And finally, Michelle Kwan will receive an honorary doctorate degree from Smith College on May 21. It is her third honorary degree.

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