There’s always something.
No matter. Nothing seems to stop the drive of 2011 Canadian pair champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, primed for anything at the world championships next week in Saitama, Japan.
They finished fifth in Sochi, gritty, determined, she fighting off the fallout from twisting her back at a practice earlier, he dealing with a painful infection in a foot that required injections to allow him to compete.
Their preparation for Japan has been no less eventful. When they arrived home from Sochi, they had no luggage. Moore-Towers didn’t get her skates for five days, and Moscovitch finally got one of his bags after seven days. Luckily his skates arrived back in Canada well before the bag.
Moore-Towers thought it a blessing in disguise, considering she started to feel the effects of a strain of pneumonia during the closing ceremonies and a rest was in order. Before the closing ceremonies, they’d had to check their bags to leave, an endlessly time-consuming exercise that caused them to miss half of the men’s gold medal hockey game. That wasn’t a happy experience.
After the ceremonies, Team Canada had a pizza party, but Moore-Towers was too ill to attend. “Brutally sick,” as she put it, she tried to rest in her room, but the pizza party went on tantalizingly beneath her. “I had to hear everyone having so much fun, which was awful because I wanted to be there so bad,” she said.
Before they left for home, Moore-Towers fainted in her room, and she was feverish during her trip back. “It was a terrible trip home,” she said. Even though they had one of the easier connections, through Frankfurt, still, there was a long layover in Germany. They slept in chairs.
“Dylan had to calm me down,” she said. “I was crying. It was awful.”
When they stepped off the plane in Toronto, they were faced with a barrage of media in the terminal. Moore-Towers was loopy from a sleeping pill. She doesn’t remember the entire interview.
Forced into a rest because of the missing skates, Moore-Towers finally had her time to recover. But then as each day went by, with no skates, she began to get concerned. “It was getting to the point, if they didn’t come in one more day, I was going to have to break in new skates,” she said. “I really did not want to do that.”
Meanwhile, Moscovitch waited as long as he could for his partner to get her skates back, so that they could start up again together, but the delays drove him to start skating – a day before she got them back. His job, he said “was to make sure Kirsten was calm about the whole thing – as a good pair guy does.”
But: happy ending. They were still buoyed by their Olympic experience. “We skated not the best that we could have skated, and we had a great time doing it,” Moore-Towers said. “We were very comfortable. We were trained and prepared. There was nothing like it.”
Moscovitch, who had declared his interest in the Olympics at an early age, said the Games was everything he had hoped for – and more. “To be able to win an Olympic medal [silver in the team], at my first Olympics, there’s a very select few in the world that get to experience what we did, and especially at a brand new event, the team event.
“Standing on the podium in the Olympic plaza was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life.”
Coming home was an adjustment, but they had little troubles rediscovering the motivation to prepare for the world championships. They did the usual: showing off their medals to the home folk. “It was really fun to see how excited everyone was to watch us, and how it affected them,” Moscovitch said. “Just seeing little kids faces when they see the medal, or get to hold it or put it on, it’s really cool.
“The medal doesn’t feel so much my medal, but it kind of feels like Canada’s medal,” he said.
They felt the Olympic letdown. They missed their teammates and the environment. “But we’re both pretty jacked up for worlds,” Moore-Towers said. The Olympics had a lot more impact on her body that she expected.
What lies ahead in Japan is a mystery. They know that Olympic bronze medalists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy and the Russian silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov are going – and their Canadian compatriots, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, too, a team they defeated at the Games, but that they have difficulty pulling past at home.
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch plan to skate two clean programs and see where that takes them. They can’t control what others do and what marks come out. They want to finish the season with a performance they are proud to remember.
“At the same time, it is motivating to know that there are opportunities and it is, in a sense, anybody’s game,” Moscovitch said. “Anyone is capable and we’re definitely in the mix and that’s motivation in itself.
“ We’re not exactly showing up thinking that we’re going to automatically end up on the podium,” he said. “We’re also not counting ourselves out. We’re excited to get there and skate our two best performances and even improve on the OIympics.”
Still, they are going to Japan with a silver medal in their pockets. They both cherished the day they stood on the Olympic podium with their teammates – with Evgeny Plushenko nearby. “It was kind of a cool out-of-body experience and then coming to the individual was thrilling,” Moscovitch said.
The door is open. They are ready to step through it.