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March 2002



Emmanuel Sandhu


the one who didn't make it


By A. Swami

GlobalomNet Media Service


“There's just nothing I can do about it, though. I'm shocked and disappointed and there's really nothing else I can say.” - Emmanuel Sandhu


Emanuel Sandhu, 21, the Indo-Canadian/Italian, has been unlucky thrice – he missed the 1998 Nagano Olympics because of bureaucracy, he had to withdraw from the Four Continents meet in South Korea in January, when he injured a knee in practice, and now the Salt Lake City ones because of meniscus.


Emmanuel, Canada’s second male figure skater, landed a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination to win the 2001 Canadian national title. He followed the feat up by becoming the first figure skater ever to land three triple jumps in succession, doing so at a pro-am competition in Ottawa in December. As a result, he's widely considered to be the successor to Elvis Stojko as Canada's men's skating star.


Canadians were disappointed when Emmanuel wobbled into a press conference on crutches on February 12, with cartilage in his right knee torn in what is known as a bucket-handle tear. He was to perform his short program, for two minutes and 40 on February and his long program (for 4.5 minutes) on February 14.


It was during his routine on February 11 evening practice he felt his right knee lock up. He said he recognized the injury immediately because he had the same injury four years earlier in his left knee, that time the injury occurring at a dance class.


Emmanuel is not worried about a second knee surgery at 21. “My left knee is doing great. I laugh now, because I'll have matching knees. But I don't see it affecting me for the future.”


“It was just bad, bad, bad timing,” said Sandhu, 21. “Back in '98 it was press conference before the Olympics, now it's press conference at the Olympics and hopefully in 2006 it will be press conference after a celebration at the Olympics.


“There's just nothing I can do about it, though. I'm shocked and disappointed and there's really nothing else I can say.”


Richmond Hill, Greater Toronto, native, who now skates out of Burnaby, B.C., Emmanuel first laced on skates at age 9, but they were hockey skates about three sizes too large. He later tried on figure skates, but his parents had purchased white women's models. He was further embarrassed when he tried to colour them black using a permanent marker, which only turned them purple.


It was at the1998 Canadian championships in Hamilton, that he was noticed at the national skating scene and finished a strong second to Elvis Stojko, Canada's only male singles skater now. Canada was allowed to send three men to the Olympics that year, but because Emmanuel  had not met Canadian Olympic Association criteria in time, he was not allowed to go, setting off an uproar, especially in the South Asian media.


“Without the frying pan of Olympic experience on which to call, the then-17-year-old Sandhu was a bust at his first worlds, placing 29th and failing to qualify. He improved in subsequent years, to 18th in Helsinki in 1999 and ninth last year in Vancouver. He did not qualify for the worlds in 2000, finishing behind Ben Ferreira,” writes Dave Perkins,  the Toronto Star Sports columnist.


"In coaching him it seems like it's hot and cold,'' said his coach, Joanne McLeod, who admitted to a growing case of frustration with her talented but troubled charge.