Sometimes I'm like a big kid. This goes double when the start of a new
skating season is concerned. I'm as excited as any 8-year-old looking
forward to seeing their friends again on the first day of school after
what seems like an interminable summer.
Welcome to my sense of
delicious anticipation just prior to Skate Canada's High Performance
Camp in Mississauga, Ontario over the weekend.
Sometimes I'm like a big kid. This goes double when the start of a new skating season is concerned. I'm as excited as any 8-year-old looking forward to seeing their friends again on the first day of school after what seems like an interminable summer.
Welcome to my sense of delicious anticipation just prior to Skate Canada's High Performance Camp in Mississauga, Ontario over the weekend.
I have to say first and foremost that this is not the place to really see skating in any great detail. The format is such that kids are on the ice skating at the same time as there are other kids in the lobby of the rink being wrangled in front of the waiting media.
What to do? Well, I did what I do best - move fast, talk even faster, and keep my eye on all of it. The result is a set of assembled impressions and comments grabbed on the fly:
National champion Amelie Lacoste landing a triple lutz/triple loop combination. That will come in handy in competition.
Pair champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford kicking their speed, unison and power up a notch.
Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in a mesmerizing display of expression to beautiful classical sounding music for their short dance. What was that music? It turns out it was a waltz composed by actor Anthony Hopkins and orchestrated by Andre Rieu. It's rich, complex and a worthy complement to Virtue and Moir's genius.
Patrick Chan, the two-time world champion, has eyes bigger than the rink. Skating by the end of the rink where I was standing, his foot kicked the boards as he pushed off; with enough of a bang to make me jump. Watching the walk-through of his short program to Rachmaninoff, the subtle influences from choreographer Jeff Buttle have left their mark. CBC Sports' Jesse Campigotto and I grabbed a couple of minutes with the champion:
With so many great skaters to watch and catch up with there are still some for whom the upcoming season has special significance.Then
there are the coaches and quick hugs and "how was your summer?" and some
new faces there, too:
Kathy Johnson has taken over primary coaching
duties for Chan. They met when she helped him with movement
which is her specialty. At this Camp, she doesn't focus on Chan alone;
she also wants to see Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, with whom she
consults, to see their progression under coach Pasquale Camerlengo:
What can we make of national silver dance medallists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje who finished fourth in the world? They are so close to the podium. They want to make sure that they will be there in 2014 in Sochi. It means everything to them.
For Liam Firus, this season means a chance to develop a following in the international Senior ranks. After finishing in 10th place in junior worlds, this year's goals for him have to include a solid outing at the upcoming Skate Canada International.
If what I saw fleetingly at the camp is any indication, the hard work the skaters did this summer will have to pay off.
PJ KwongPJ is a self-proclaimed Word Broker who goes by the motto: I read them. I write them. I speak them. A degree from the University of Toronto studying Modern Languages has been put to good use as a bilingual PA announcer for, among other things, the last 5 Olympic Games, the FIFA U-20 2007 Men's World Cup and numerous international figure skating events since 1993.
Working as a figure skating coach for the last 25+ years led to commentating opportunities from CTV/TSN, ABC, Tokyo Broadcasting, CBC, Fuji TV, Seoul Broadcasting and CCTV among others. CBC has been home to Pj's skating voice, writing and commentary opinions since 2007. She would tell you that although working in skating is where her passion lies; she is the voice of lots of commercial projects, a blogger on her own site, a public speaker and with "Taking The Ice: Success Stories from the World of Canadian Figure Skating" a published author. You want opinions? She's got them. Follow her on Twitter to see.