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Gregory expected to make full recovery

U.S. ice dancer will come back from Skate Canada fall

Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy check on Melissa Gregory (on ice) of the United States after her nasty fall during warm-ups at Skate Canada.
Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy check on Melissa Gregory (on ice) of the United States after her nasty fall during warm-ups at Skate Canada. (Getty Images)

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By Todd Hinckley
(11/05/2007) - U.S. ice dancer Melissa Gregory suffered a severe fall during her warm-up for the free dance at HomeSense Skate Canada International on Sunday, but after extensive evaluations she is expected to make a full recovery.

Gregory and her partner and husband, Denis Petukhov, were performing a rotational lift, when he lost his grip. She fell straight down to the ice, landing on her chest, while Petukhov went sliding into the boards. The rotational lift is one of the harder dance moves in which the lifter rotates in one direction while skating across the ice.

Italian ice dancers Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte were the first ones to reach Gregory, quickly stopping their warm-up to help their fallen competitors. Medical personnel then came onto the ice, and Gregory was put on a stretcher and taken to L'Enfant-Jesus Hospital, a well-known trauma center located 10-15 minutes away from the Colisee Pepsi.

Gregory and Petukhov were in fourth place entering the free dance. The competition did resume after the delay, and Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the gold.

Once at the hospital, Gregory underwent a series of tests, including a CT scan, which showed her head and neck to be clear. She was discharged from the hospital later that afternoon and returned to the hotel to rest.

"Basically, she feels like a truck hit her," said coach Priscilla Hill, who had to watch in tears as her pupil was taken from the arena on an immobilized backboard.

Gregory's neck is sore, and she has several cuts and bruises on her hip. Petukhov's neck and hip are also sore from his part of the fall. The couple still has not set a timetable for their return to skating, but Hill does not believe they will stay off the ice for long.

"I was dropped from a lift when I did pairs, and I had a similar thing with the hip. It took me about a week, although [my injury] was a chipped hip bone. It was tender there for a while," Hill said. "They need a week to let their bodies heal."

The team's next scheduled appearance in the ISU Grand Prix Series is the Cup of Russia, Nov. 22-25, in Moscow. Their status for that event is still uncertain.