On 10 December 2020, two-time Irish senior champion Sam McAllister received word he had been chosen to represent Ireland at the 2021 European Figure Skating Championships. However, later that same day the International Skating Union (ISU) announced the competition had been cancelled due to the worsening situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. In the week when he should have been making his Europeans debut, the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) talked briefly with McAllister about how he has kept his motivation despite all the setbacks he has faced this season. Read more
On 10 December, the International Skating Union (ISU) announced the cancellation of the 2021 European Figure Skating Championships scheduled to be held in Zagreb, Croatia (25-31 January 2021) due to the ongoing situation with the Covid-19 global pandemic. It will be the first time since 1946 that the annual event will not take place.
The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) had selected Sam McAllister to represent Ireland at the championships shortly before their cancellation was made public.
“After being selected for my first European Championships, it is incredibly sad news to hear that they have been cancelled,” McAllister said. “I believe it is the safest option for everyone, but it’s still hard as a skater not to represent your country at such a prestigious event.
“I want to thank the ISAI for selecting me and my team for helping me get to this point. We will keep grinding and pushing forward and there are many more years to come!”
Conor Stakelum (25) competes at the European Figure Skating Championships this week in Minsk, Belarus (23-27 January). This is the five-time Irish champion’s second consecutive participation at the event following his debut last year in Moscow, Russia where he became the first Irish male figure skater to compete in the 118 year history of the championships.
Stakelum will first take part in the short programme which will be held on the afternoon of Thursday, 24 January from 12 noon local time (9am Irish time). He drew to skate 11th of the 36 men competing and will be on the ice at 1:42pm local time (10:32am Irish time). He will perform seven required elements and if his scores place him in the top 24 skaters he will advance to the free skating on Saturday, 26 January.
“I am excited to be back at Europeans again,” Stakelum said. “Last year I was a little bit overawed by the sheer scale of everything. This year I feel more comfortable competing at this level and I hope that will reflect in my performance.”
You will be able to follow Stakelum’s progress in Minsk live on the Eurosport Player (subscription service), the competition results page and on social media using the #EuroFigure #FigureSkating hashtags.
The European Figure Skating Championships are being held in Minsk for the first time ever. Stakelum will be one of 145 skaters from 34 countries who will participate in the event.