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Canada's Keegan Messing caps roller-coaster Olympic journey with season-best performanceCanadian men's figure skating champion Keegan Messing capped off his second Olympics with a memorable season-best performance in the free skate medal event on Thursday morning in Beijing — just three days after arriving.

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National champion had been delayed in arriving after testing positive for COVID-19

Zack Smart · CBC Sports ·

Keegan Messing reflects on season-best performance after long journey to Beijing

4 hours agoDuration 3:53Keegan Messing's trip to Beijing 2022 was delayed for more than a week after he tested positive for COVID-19. The national champion figure skater missed the team event but capped off his second Olympics with a memorable season-best performance in the free skate.3:53

Keegan Messing's roller-coaster Olympic journey ended near the top.

The Canadian men's figure skating champion capped off his second Olympics with a memorable season-best performance in the free skate medal event on Thursday morning in Beijing — just three days after arriving.

The 30-year-old overcame adversity and earned a score of 172.37 while finishing 11th in men's singles.

Messing's trip to the Games was delayed for more than a week after he tested positive for COVID-19 before the team flight and was forced to quarantine.
  • Canadian Keegan Messing finishes 9th in men's singles short program
  • Canadian figure skater Keegan Messing finally touches down in Beijing

He missed the team event, where he was replaced by Roman Sadovsky, but he was able to make the trip from Canada in time to compete after passing the four tests required to fly to Beijing.

Messing's late trip to Beijing, which he described as a "whirlwind," began in Vancouver before heading to Montreal, Frankfurt and Milan en route to the Games.

WATCH l Messing skates to 11th-place finish in men's singles:

Keegan Messing's long Olympic journey ends with an 11th place finish

12 hours agoDuration 7:49After missing the figure skating team event due to COVID-19 and arriving in Beijing the day before the men's competition began, Canada's Keegan Messing finished in 11th-place overall following the Beijing 2022 men's free program.7:49

Despite the adversity, Messing persevered and qualified for the free skate just over 24 hours later after posting the ninth-best short program score (93.24) — giving him a shot at his first Olympic medal.

Skating to "Lullaby for an Angel" by Karl Hugo, and "Home" by Phillip Phillips, Messing looked comfortable and happy on his free skate, nailing an early quadruple toe-double toe combination.

He followed it up with a triple axel and triple lutz-triple toe combination while delivering another solid skate against all odds as the crowd cheered.

"I was hoping for a little bit of a better skate out there," Messing said afterward. "I had a very good practice this morning and I was hoping for that to carry on [during competition], but a couple bobbles here and there ... honestly, I just pushed through and really tried to live in that Olympic experience."

WATCH l Messing describes 'whirlwind' trip to Beijing after positive COVID-19 test:

Keegan Messing describes his 'whirlwind' trip to Beijing after positive COVID-19 test

2 days agoDuration 2:05After testing positive for COVID-19 over a week ago, Canada's Keegan Messing had to fly to Montreal and pass a test, and then fly through Milan, Italy, to arrive in Beijing just one day before the men's short program.(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

After finishing first in the short program (113.97), American star Nathan Chen claimed his first individual Olympic medal with a gold-medal performance in the free skate that earned him 218.63, for a total of 332.60. The three-time world champion reached the team event podium in Beijing and Pyeongchang.

The silver medal went to Japan's Yuma Kagiyama (310.05), while compatriot Shoma Uno earned bronze with 293.00 for his second Olympic medal.
  • American Nathan Chen wins long-awaited Olympic figure skating title
  • More Olympic figure skating coverage

Canada will be competing in three more figure skating events in Beijing — with the ice dance, women's singles and pairs still to come. All the action will be streamed live on CBC Gem, the CBC Sports app and CBC Sports' Beijing 2022 website.

WATCH l Messing arrives in Beijing, advances to men's free skate:

Keegan Messing arrives in Beijing and advances to men's Olympic free program

2 days agoDuration 6:13After missing the team event due to a positive COVID-19 test, Canada's Keegan Messing finished in ninth place in the men's short program, one day after arriving in Beijing.More Olympic figure skating coverage

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