memories

From skates to stationery: competition prep from an official’s point of view

I bumped into a former teammate, who’s still skating, at my local convenience store this afternoon. We were both there gathering competition supplies–she, make-up, and I, travel-size toiletries for my carry-on luggage–and it struck me that though I no longer compete as a skater, I can’t help but find familiar comfort in still having pre-competition rituals. Most other officials I know are the same. We each have our own individual ways of preparing (though the seemingly interconnected consciousness of our collective officials’ brains creates some eerie coincidental similarities), but most of us former skaters just can’t kick our old habits. The double, triple, and quadruple skate-check has been replaced by an infinituple paperwork and pens-check. An official, especially we technical officials, can NEVER have too many highlighters. (more…)

Synchro Canadians heads West…times two!

I’m having great difficulty containing my excitement right now. So I won’t.

HOLY CRAP, CANADIANS IS COMING BACK TO THE WEST!

TWICE!

Skate Canada, you’re blowing my mind a little.

In separate press releases today, Skate Canada announced that the 2013 and 2014 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships will be held in Calgary, AB, and Burnaby, BC respectively. I’m currently based in Calgary, so couldn’t be happier about this news for obvious reasons. But this is also amazing/important because of the following: (more…)

November is the month for reality checks and finding balance

Ah, November. In all my years of skating, it didn’t matter which team I was on, who was coaching me, or what category I was competing in–November sucked. The anticipation and excitement of the early part of the season, when everyone was fresh and anything was possible, had been replaced by debilitating stress and total panic. A handful of skaters still didn’t know their steps. The intersection that had once been disguised as “challenging” now revealed its true nature: impossible. Elements were over-rotated one day and under-rotated the next. The program didn’t have an ending. There was at least one injury. The dresses either weren’t ready, didn’t fit, or were hideous.

Memories I hold near and dear to my heart.

The intent of this post is not, however, to reminisce. Rather, it’s to speak to a few key points coaches need to keep in mind during this very important month. An optimist might say November builds a team’s character. A pragmatist knows that choices made in November can have a big impact on the trajectory of the rest of the season, and prepares to make adjustments. (more…)

“Love the sport.”

A beautiful quotation about synchro for your Monday, from the Haydenettes on USFS’ Dare to DREAM blog. Enjoy, and share. (via @GetItCalled)

Love the sport for the pure joy of accomplishment. Love the sport for everything it can teach you about yourself. Love the sport for the feeling of belonging to a group endeavoring to do its best. Love the sport for being involved in a team whose members can’t wait to see you do your best. Love the sport for the challenge of working harder than you ever have at something and then harder than that. Love the sport because it takes all team members to give it life. Love the sport because at its best, its tradition will include your contributions. Love the sport because you belong to a long line of fine athletes who have loved it. It is now your legacy. Love the sport so much that you will pass on your love to other athletes who have seen your dedication, your work, your challenges, your triumphs… and then those athletes will, because of you, love the sport.

Helsinki welcomes the world April 8 and 9

It doesn’t feel like nearly a year has passed since I was planning, packing, and praying that my luggage would greet me in Colorado Springs for the World Synchronized Skating Championships after a journey that was to involve an inexcusable number of stop-overs in various American cities (pro tip: don’t wait until the last minute to book flights through Expedia). Miracle of miracles, it did–it wouldn’t have been the least bit shocking had it not, however, given that each of the three prior Worlds I’d been to were marinated in their own special flavor of “this will be funny later” sauce. But those are stories for another time.

The 2011 edition of the WSSC kicks off next week in Helsinki, and should be an exciting one. Reportedly the event is close to sold out, which really isn’t surprising since Finland’s entries, Rockettes and Marigold Ice Unity, are the defending gold and silver medalists respectively. There will be a number of teams with their eyes on the podium, however:

  • 2010 marked the first year Team Surprise (SWE) was shut out of the medals, ever, including World Challenge Cups (precursor to the official ISU WSSC).
  • An error in the short program kept Nexxice (CAN) off the podium in 2010, after they won gold in 2009, and bronze two years in a row before that.
  • The Haydenettes (USA) finally earned a medal in 2010 (bronze), after being perennial fourth-place bridesmaids more times than my normally encyclopedic synchro brain can remember. They’ll want another one.
  • Miami University is the only other American team to ever medal at Worlds (silver in 2007). They’re back on the World Team in 2011 after being beat out for USA 2 honours by the Crystallettes last year.
  • Oh, those Russians. Traditionally, the teams from Russia and Germany duke it out to see who can earn the distinction of being the 5th-best country at the competition, thereby earning 2 berths to the next year’s Worlds. Paradise (RUS) has been the only non-Swedish, Finnish, Canadian, or American team to challenge for a medal, when they placed 2nd in the short program at Worlds in 2007. Never count them out.
  • Les Suprêmes, Canada’s second entry, has been absent from Worlds since 2005. Though Nexxice beat them by a fair margin at Canadian Nationals, they are the only other team in the mix to have stood on the podium, earning bronze back in 2003.

Wikipedia has a handy summary of all of the podium results of past Worlds.

The competition kicks off with the short program next Friday, April 8 at 8:40 AM (MDT). The free skate will follow on Saturday, April 9 at 5:45 AM (ack!) MDT. I’ve yet to find any information about live streaming, but will post an update here if I do. In the meantime, the Worlds official website has some great team profiles, photos, and promotional videos worth checking out.

Happy skating to everyone at the competition, and happy internetting to the rest of us!