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April 13, 2009

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to fill you all in on what's happened since I last wrote a journal.

After Nationals I felt I finally had some time to sit down and breathe. My practices with Brian focused on my jump technique and increasing my speed and edge quality. David worked on the choreography and my expression to fine tune my programs for Junior Worlds. It was coming together and we all felt more comfortable with each other. As the weeks passed I began to feel more confident. I was running through clean programs in practice and I began doing triple axels consistently in the programs as well. It was a huge improvement. I continued to keep building forward with the help of my coaches and by the time I was leaving for Bulgaria, I was ready.

I arrived in Bulgaria and I was excited to compete again. I was so happy I was given another chance to show how much I really learned this season. But first, I had to skate the practice sessions before the competition. When you practice at home and when you practice at a competition there are two totally different mindsets going on. At home, you are doing your best to improve, at the competition you have to do your best to show what you know and feel comfortable in different surroundings. This was my first competition with Brian. He didn't know how I was going to react on the practice session and during the competition and I didn't know how he would either. My first practice session went very badly. I felt like I was all over the place. I wasn’t feeling very confident after the second practice either. I was really taken back. I couldn't believe what was going on. I was skating fine when I was home and now I'm skating like this at the competition?! After the second practice Brian and I talked and he helped me realize I was thinking too much, trying to fix too many things, getting overwhelmed. I listened to him and began to take one element at a time and really used Brian’s knowledge and his competitive experience to my full advantage. The next practice went much better. I felt my feet under me, and began to skate like I did in practice back at the Cricket Club. I was learning to trust my coach more and we started to speak the same language.

I was feeling relaxed just in time for the short program. I skated pretty well. The jumps were good but it was the steps and spins I felt were the biggest improvement in the program. Next was the long program. That morning in practice everything went pretty smoothly, a few little mistakes here and there but nothing major. I was feeling good about everything and Brian said that it all looked in control as well. I skated my long program with two clean triple axels with positive GOE’s. They felt so easy; it was how I was skating in practice before I left. I was really proud of myself. When the music ended, I felt incredible relief; I felt I had redeemed myself. The scores came up and they were great. I got a new season’s best, 222. I was happy, Brian was happy, everyone from Team USA was happy. It was great that it all came together. This competition was so important to me. It was the first time I skated with Brian at a competition and it was the first time I had to go out and defend a title, something I hope I will need to do in the future. It was a great learning and overall very enjoyable experience. Not to mention, the Bulgarian fans were incredible! Thanks guys!

I went back to Toronto and started skating again and this time it was to get ready for a few shows. During worlds, I went home and I skated at Smucker's Stars On Ice in Wilkes-Barre PA. . I had so much fun. The week of the show I did some interviews promoting the tour and talked a bit about defending the Junior World title. I also had the chance of going back to the rink where I started skating. The Skating Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania had gotten ice for me and also organized a class. I did it with a few of the skaters from the club. I did my best to work them really hard and by the end, I think I might have killed them ;-). I had a great time and I hope they enjoyed it as well. I'm really happy the SCNEPA had the idea. The SOI show was that at the end of the week and I was really excited. John Zimmerman is on the tour and we used to skate together quite a bit when I was skating in Hackensack. It was great to see him and as always, he was a lot of fun. He showed me around and introduced me to everyone. I had met a few of the skaters before but for most it was our first meeting. Everyone was so nice. I had such a great time and the hometown audience was so excited to have a local in the show! ;-) Everyone in the cast and production helped to make it such a fun and exciting experience. It was great.

I took some time off to relax and get my body together to get ready for training this summer. I'll also have a few more shows. I haven't taken time off in a very long time. It's been great to be home and spend time with my family. My brothers, Tyler, Brady and Sawyer and my sisters, Jordan and Dagny and my cousin Erica kept me very busy on my time off! (I promised to mention them!)

One night, I even had the chance to go and visit my grandmother and her friends at her apartment complex. They are very big skating fans. They even went to the SOI show to see me skate. They invited me to be their guest at their weekly Bingo game. I of course said that I would love to. We met and walked down to the game room. I was greeted by the entire retirement community. They told me they heard so much about me, loved the show and wished me a lot of success. It was really sweet. We started the game and I don't want to brag, but I was doing great. Within a few turns I proudly yelled out “BINGO!” There was shock in the room. I could see it from their faces that they couldn't believe a newbie could just walk in and win. I called out my numbers and when I finished, I was quickly told that one of my numbers was a jackpot number and couldn't be called in a Bingo game. They had to start the whole thing over. I was embarrassed to say the least. For the next five minutes I could hear them trying to whisper about the event that just took place. If you have ever heard a group of people who are hard of hearing trying to whisper then you can imagine the actually volume of their conversations. They were pretty surprised at my ignorance of the rules. When all was finished, I apologized for my mistake (and was forgiven) and thanked everyone for their well wishes.

I'm headed back to Toronto and then it's off to Korea for Festa On Ice. I'm very excited to be going to Korea for the first time! I can't wait to skate for the amazing fans... I will be working very hard getting ready for next season! I'll keep you updated on everything that's going on.

Thanks you for reading and for your support,

Adam Rippon

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