Polina Edmunds has struggled with a bone bruise in her right foot for about a full year, and the injury could keep her out of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in one month.
“The chances of me competing at Nationals, they’re probably 50-50 right now,” Edmunds said in a phone interview Friday. “I really, really would like to, and because I’ve been working so hard all season to be ready for nationals, and my programs, I really love them this year, they’re beautiful. But my 100 percent focus is for next season.
“We want to make sure all the red flags [with my foot] are gone for next season. It’s really important for next season because it’s an Olympic season. Everything that we’re doing is fully focused on the 2018 season.”
Edmunds, the youngest U.S. participant at the Sochi Olympics at age 15, last competed at the January 2016 U.S. Championships, topping the short program and finishing second overall.
A few weeks prior to those nationals, she began breaking in new skates that may have caused the bone bruise. The foot was an annoyance — rather than a pain — so she switched back to old skates for nationals and then continued breaking in the new ones afterward.
But the foot problems persisted, and she pulled out of her remaining events last season, including the world championships. Edmunds, who finished ninth in Sochi and eighth at the 2014 and 2015 Worlds, missed a global competition for the first time in her senior career.
Edmunds was cleared to train in August, when she attended U.S. Figure Skating’s Champs Camp in Colorado Springs. She continued training for most of the early fall, while starting classes at Santa Clara University near her San Jose home.
But the foot had not fully recovered, so she pulled out before her fall events. Edmunds underwent an MRI in late November, which confirmed the bone bruise remained.
“It’s been kind of off-and-on all season,” she said. “There’s less pain for sure than there was in February, so it’s not as extreme.”
Since the MRI, Edmunds has reeled back to let her foot rest. She’s waiting for doctors to give the go-ahead to train fully again.
She plans to decide in early January if she will compete in the U.S. Championships from Jan. 19-21 in Kansas City. If Edmunds skips nationals, she believes she won’t compete at all this season. She would not want to petition for a spot on the world championships team.
Edmunds’ confidence remains despite the absence.
“To get thrust in at this moment, I think if I did two clean programs I would have a very good chance of winning, just like any other season,” she said.Follow @nzaccardi