With no international-level competitions since February, figure skating headlines in the last few months have been driven by moves made off of the ice instead of on it.

The main source? Coaching changes by some of the best skaters in the world, most notably PyeongChang 2018 silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva, who announced last week (16 Sept.) she would be returning to Moscow to work with Eteri Tutberidze having been with Brian Orser in Toronto since 2018.

“She (Medvedeva) and I agree if there was no pandemic, we would not be having this discussion,” Orser told NBC Sports after the move was announced. “I told her, ‘I can’t do anything for you if we can’t be together. The pandemic is bigger than both of us.’ Our hands are tied.”

While some changes have been COVID-related, the moves have been many. In addition to Medvedeva’s return to Moscow and Tutberidze, two of Tutberidze’s up-and-coming prospects, Alexandra Trusova and Alena Kostornaia, have left her Sambo-70 school to train with Torino 2006 gold medallist Evgeny Plushenko

The changes have not just involved Russian or senior-level skaters. American Alysa Liu, the two-time and reigning U.S. champion at age 15, looks ahead to next season when she’ll be age-eligible for international senior-level competition.

In June, Liu went from childhood coach Laura Lipetsky to a trio of coaches, including two-time Olympic ice dancer Massimo Scali, renowned choreographer Lori Nichol and longtime Canadian coach Lee Barkell, ideally splitting her time between her home in Oakland (where Scali is) and Toronto (where Nichol and Barkell are based)….

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