Listening to all the speculation right now about Mao Asada and whether or not she can pull it together enough to earn a berth to Worlds ahead of three well-skating countrywomen at Japanese Nationals in two weeks time, and about the possibility that she might not qualify left me wondering: has that ever happened to the reigning World Champion?
Of course we've had reigning champions retire, we've had them miss out due to injury, and we've had one occasion of reigning champions out due to a doping suspension. But has any reigning World Champion, uninjured as far as anyone knows, compete at their Nationals or whatever other qualifiers their country uses(Europeans, etc.), and just not qualify? Any where they've just been named anyway?
I can't think of any. If Mao doesn't right the ship, we could be looking at a completely unprecedented situation in figure skating.
Of course, you don't get to be World Champion without having the mettle to deliver when the chips are down. So Mao probably still has a good shot at qualifying fair and square. But again, has anyone not done so?