Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who performed against Madison Chock and Evan Bates on Saturday at the United States Figure Skating Championships, opened up about their struggles with COVID-19 and the disease has impacted the performing sport.

Those participating in the tournament were taking a risk while traveling to Nashville, where COVID-19 infections have been surging since this year’s start. 

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Donohue emphasised that his pair had the option to just back out saying “its not worth it”, however, he said, “But this is our last nationals, and we fully trust ourselves and the team that we have around us, including US Figure Skating, to keep us safe, to take care of us”, according to reports from USA Today.

“Those of us who are here and are still fighting for our spots and who have our own goals and our own mission at these championships – it’s about a lot more than succumbing to the fear of the pandemic”, he added.

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However, not everyone had to option to participate in the tournament. Multiple people– including one man, two women, one pair team and once ice dance team– stepped back from the championship citing reasons connected to COVID-19.

Three-time Olympian Todd Eldredge said that he had tested positive for the disease after arriving at the venue.

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Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were forced to withdraw after a positive COVID test before nationals even began. Knierim and Frazier were the heavy favorites coming into the week.

As usual this week, there were more positive COVID-19 tests Saturday: men’s competitor William Hubbart and ice dancers Raffaella Koncius and Alexey Shchepetov had to withdraw. They joined two-time United States champ Alysa Liu, Amber Glenn and defending pairs champs Knierim and Frazier in sitting out at least a portion of the competition.

(With AP inputs)