Polina Edmunds

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Polina Edmunds to miss U.S. Figure Skating Championships

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Olympian Polina Edmunds is out of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships next week due to a bone bruise in her right foot that has kept her out of competition for nearly one year.

Edmunds, the youngest U.S. competitor across all sports at the Sochi Olympics at age 15, is not expected to compete again until next season.

“We want to make sure all the red flags [with my foot] are gone for next season,” Edmunds said last month. “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.”

Her absence from nationals will certainly be felt.

Edmunds finished second, fourth and second the last three years, making the Olympic or world championships teams each time. She placed ninth in Sochi and eighth at the 2014 and 2015 Worlds and skipped the 2016 Worlds due to the bone bruise.

Three U.S. women will be named to this year’s world championships team after nationals, likely the top three finishers in Kansas City next week.

The two most recent U.S. champions, Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold, are favorites, though Gold had a disastrous autumn and Wagner struggled in her last competition.

Also in the mix is 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu, the only other skater in the field with Olympic or world championships experience. Mariah Bell, who finished second to Wagner at Skate America in October, is also a contender.

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Polina Edmunds ’50-50′ on competing at U.S. Championships

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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.

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Polina Edmunds withdraws from another event

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U.S. Olympian Polina Edmunds will miss her second straight scheduled Grand Prix event, NHK Trophy in two weeks, due to continued recovery from a right foot injury.

Edmunds, 18 and the 2016 U.S. silver medalist, withdrew before the world championships last March and last week’s Rostelecom Cup with a bone bruise in her right foot.

Edmunds last competed at the U.S. Championships in January.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule