It is amazing how quickly the dynamic can change in skating.
In one instant the seemingly impossible can appear probable and the assumed balance of power can shift.
There is a chance that this is what happened last week when the Korea Skating Union announced that defending Olympic and world champion Kim Yu-na would sit out the entire Grand Prix season with an injury to her right foot.
The timing could not have been worse for Kim, who is hoping to retain her Olympic crown at the Sochi Games in February. She has skated infrequently since winning the gold at the Vancouver Games in 2010, and had appeared ready to get into a seemingly normal routine as the Olympic campaign beckoned.
But that is all out the window now. The injury has significantly altered her plans, and the exact extent of the impact it will have on Kim’s readiness in Russia is still unclear.
One thing that is certain is that where there once appeared to be only a slim chance for two-time world champion Mao Asada to overtake Kim and grab the gold at the Olympics, now the odds do not seem as long.
The bottom line is that Mao now has a legitimate shot at topping the podium in Sochi.