Monday, October 03, 2005

A long, and long-overdue update!

Hey Everyone, Ok, so I got a bit busy with breaking in new boots and blades in time for the National Training camp in Italy, and for the competition in Japan, but I'm back in Lake Arrowhead with a moment to share with anyone who reads this.

First there's something I need to get off my back before I get into my past few weeks. When I compete internationally, and even nationally my parents very seldom are able to come and watch me. In order to find out how I've done at these competitions they usually go on some figure skating chat sites to look for results. What they certainly don't expect to find on these sites are topics questioning their parenting skills. I know this is maybe a side of me that people have never seen before, but I'm the one who chose to be a competitive skater. I've learned to deal with criticism and the odd negative comment because I know that it comes with the territory, but my parents? For the record, my parents are incredible people! They were the ones who supported me both emotionally and economically even when I came last at competitions. Some days when I didn't think I had what it took, they reminded me that all it takes is perseverance. They disciplined my sister and me when we misbehaved, and raised us to treat others as we wished to be treated.

I know that all of the people that read this blog are probably great supporters of mine, so I would ask if you could do this: Ask the others, who may not care for my skating (which is fine of course!), to direct all insult and criticism to ME, and not my parents.

To clear things furthermore... I was asked a couple of days prior to the USFS/Campbellā€™s press release when someone withdrew if I would participate in the event. I was already doing the Torino National Training Camp which I think without a doubt was something I should do (great preparation for the Olympics, and the ability to do a mock-competition in the Olympic venue), and I had also already agreed to fly directly from Torino to Tokyo for an international competition. So, Lee (my coach) and I sat down and discussed the opportunity and decided that my health and the extra training time were worth more in the long run than prize money. Also, the last time that I competed three week-ends in a row I ended up with food-poisoning. I then e-mailed my agent and said that even though it is a great opportunity, I will have to pass. The next day, I find out that the press release stated my participation in the event. Of course I was angry, but it was nobody's fault. USFS had tickets to sell and needed a press-release to advertise for the event, and I needed a couple of days to decide with my coach. Maybe my coach and I could have been more decisive, but I don't think a couple of days are such a big deal considering the commitment. I have not pulled out of this event because I was never in it to begin with. If I were to have been asked before the invitation to the Japanese international, of course I would have accepted, but this is the way the cards were dealt to me. I'm sorry if my decisions disappoint anyone, but to me a healthy mind and body is worth much more this year than a full wallet.

Now onto something WAY more uplifting: My week in Torino!

It was such a great experience! Skate Canada really went above and beyond for the athletes with this experience. The week consisted of team building activities, a tour of the Olympic village, and training in the Olympic skating venue as well as a mock two-day competition of the short and long programs. They had past Canadian Olympic Medalists there (Elvis Stojko, Tracy Wilson, and Debbie Wilkes), a wonderful Sports Psychologist (Peter Jensen), Technical Specialists and "gurus" if you will, not to mention the Olympic doctor and physiotherapist. The Skate Canada staff was there to answer any question and help in any possible way. It was truly a worthwhile event, and all of the ice was free because the national team did a show on the Saturday night for a full audience!!! The rink has a great warm atmosphere, and I was getting nothing but good vibes from it (that sounded so new age, but its true!!).

Next I traveled to Tokyo from Torino for the Japan International Challenge. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty nervous because the program still feels a bit new, and it's still fairly early in the season, not to mention that after the mock-competition in Torino Lee and I made quite a number of changes that were more "COP" friendly. I did however manage to survive, despite not having a great performance (I felt a bit cautious, and was holding back because of it!); I managed to do enough to win. As of now, it may not look it, but I know already that this is the best work David and I have ever come up with. It just has so much more substance and meaning than any of my other programs... We tried our best to be true to the inspiration for the program. Of course it's a tribute to Glenn Gould and his life, but even more so, it's inspired by something he had said. He believed that, "The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity." So without going into great detail (which I could...), this program is not so much about the climaxes, so much as it is about the detail, the effort that went on before the performance. Because it really is the stuff in between the highs and lows that define a life. Don't you think?

Anyways, I have a feeling I might be getting a tad philosophical, so I'll end it there for today. Hope you guys are ready for a big competitive season. The off-season was nice, if not short, but I'm feeling good about this year.

Cheers,

Jeff.