The Group of Eight summit in Huntsville, Ont., last summer left one lasting positive side effect: A local swimming pool renovated for the world leaders conference is being used by pairs skater Bryce Davison to rehabilitate a serious injury.
The three-time Canadian champion has been forced to withdraw from competition this season after his right knee locked up on him while he attempted a single loop in practice in Montreal. A three-centimetre piece of bone had broken off the femur bone at the knee joint and dislodged itself in another part of the joint. Davison couldn't straighten his leg, and it was painful.
He had surgery on Oct. 26 to repair the problem. He's been on crutches since a week before the operation.
For now, the recovery time still isn't written in stone. Davison knows it will be long and frustrating. He has another nine weeks to go before he can put weight on his right leg, and then he'll probably have another two or three months of rehabilitation to rebuild the muscle around the knee and to make sure the knee joint is strong before he can get back on the ice. He figures it will be early March before he skates again.
For now, he's hanging out with his parents in Huntsville, studying biology through an online course and trying to keep the other parts of his body fit. He's been in the pool a lot.
Last week, the 24-year-old skater got back to the gym to work on his upper body strength and to maintain muscle mass in his good left leg.
It has never entered Davison's mind to hang up his skates after a career in which he and partner Jessica Dubé win a bronze medal at the 2008 world championships, then place sixth at both the Winter Olympics and world championships in 2010.
Meanwhile, Dubé is hustling to get ready to compete as a singles skater, which means she had to have two new programs created. Then she had to work on jumps - such as the triple flip and the triple Lutz - that she hasn't trained in two years. As a single, she last competed at the Canadian championships in 2008.
First of all, she'll have to enter the Challenge event in Mississauga in three weeks to qualify for the Canadian championships in January in Victoria. As a pairs skater, she had been doing only double Axels and triple Salchows.
Keeping her hand in the competitive fires gives her something to reach for, she said, rather than skating alone at home, waiting for Davison to return. "It keeps me moving forward," she said. "I think it's really going to help when Bryce gets back. I'm still going to have that competition feeling."
But she misses being airborne in lifts and throws. "It's just weird to step on the ice and skate by myself," she said. "I really miss Bryce a lot."
In September, Davison began taking online courses through Athabasca University and now it's taking up a lot of his time. He's studying human anatomy and physiology. Ironically he'd just finished all his work on the anatomy of bones and joints when his knee locked up.
"I knew how serious it was right away," he said. "It was cool, but not cool at the same time."