Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson end skating partnership as he retires – OlympicTalk
Pair figure skaters Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson announced the end of their partnership on social media on Sunday, with Johnson subsequently announcing his retirement from the sport in a later post.
Calalang, 27, and Johnson, 26, have won silver at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships each of the past three seasons, although they have never competed in a world championships or the Olympics in winter.
“The last 4 years have been filled with so many unforgettable moments,” reads their joint Instagram post. “Between our years of growth as a team, our free skating performances at the 2020 U.S. Championships, the Covid-19 season, the USADA nightmare and everything in between…we’ve stood side by side through every second of each day.”
Calalang and Johnson teamed up ahead of the 2018-19 season after lackluster careers with Zack Sidhu and Chelsea Liurespectively.
After finishing fifth in their first season together, the Irvine, Calif.-based squad earned the highest free skate score at the 2020 U.S. Championships, elevating them to silver. Scheduled to compete in the 2020 World Championships, it was canceled days before the start when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.
The 2020-2021 season was marked by the cancellation of many competitions due to the pandemic, but they won the virtual ISP points challenge and finished second at the Skate America and US National Championships, both times with teammates. ‘coaching. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier. After making the world team again, Calalang and Johnson had to forfeit when they learned she had tested positive for 4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid (4-CPA) in January, the “nightmare of USADA” mentioned in their press release.
Calalang fought to clear her name and had a breakthrough that summer when the US Anti-Doping Agency determined that chlorphenesin, a non-banned substance found in some shampoos and lotions, can metabolize to 4-CPA. It turned out that it was Calalang’s makeup that led her to test positive. She was finally cleared by USADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency on September 30, in time to finish fourth at Finlandia Trophy and fifth at Skate America in October for a strong start to the Olympic season.
They finished the season with a third straight U.S. silver medal, this time for Ashley Cain Gribble and Timothee LeDucbut Cain-Gribble/LeDuc and Knierim/Frazier (who did not compete in the US Championships after Frazier tested positive for Covid) were named to the Olympic and World teams ahead of them.
“I realize a lot of people will be shocked by this, but I feel the need to move on,” Johnson said in his retirement post. “Skating was a wonderful, exciting, moving and heartbreaking experience and it’s a moment I will remember with smiles and gratification.”
Note that both skaters apologized.
As he wrote to Calalang that he was sorry he could not continue, she included the following in a tribute to Johnson:
“Brian, I’m so sorry for everything that hurt you. You didn’t deserve any of this. I’m sorry it didn’t go the way we wanted.”
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