June 16, 2009
I consider it an honor to represent the United States as the 2009 National Ladies Champion, an aspiration that I have worked to attain for a very long time. I was so happy to have achieved that goal in my skating career, and even more so this year because the competition took place in Ohio, the state in which I was born and lived most of my life, until recently. My family and many of my friends from both Ohio and Michigan were in attendance that weekend, making it a very special time for me too. Scott Hamilton (from Bowling Green) was commentating; Melissa Telecky (a Bowling Green skater who trains with me in Detroit) was competing with me at the senior ladies level; and my very first skating coach, Shelly Bressler, also from Bowling Green, came to watch the event. I was excited to see many friends from the area surrounding Cleveland also. Amber and I used to train in Cleveland for a while, before going to Detroit to continue our skating lessons, and it had been a long time since I had been able to see some of my skating friends from the area.
As the U.S. champion, I was invited to compete at the Four Continents and Worlds competitions as my next events. It was while I was in Cleveland that I decided not to go to Harbin, China, for the World University Games, due to the travel distance, and the jet lag that I would most likely experience while trying to train for Worlds when I got back to the U.S. I probably would not have gone to Four Continents after this National competition (because the events were so close together) except that it was being held in Vancouver, Canada, the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and I did not want to miss the opportunity to skate at the arena! In addition, I love competing in Canada, and I am looking forward to training for this upcoming season with a goal of being on the U.S. Olympic team.
On February 21 st my family and I were invited to BGSU to attend the 25 th anniversary celebration of Scott Hamilton’s winning the Olympic gold medal in Sarajevo. My first skating coach from Bowling Green, Shelly Bressler, and Melissa Telecky and her parents were also there, in addition to Kitty and Peter Carruthers, who won the silver medal at the same Olympic games. Scott initiated the idea to celebrate his 25 th anniversary with a fundraising gala for the College of Business Administration’s Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. (In 2004, Scott and Tracie Hamilton, and Bill and Beverly Dallas donated $3 million to create this Center). This was the first time that I had met Scott’s wife, Tracie; unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet his sons. Scott and his wife are two wonderful people, great role models, and always have a positive outlook. Bowling Green was also celebrating a three day Winterfest that weekend, but we were unable to attend the festivities; we had already planned to attend the church we used to attend while living in Bowling Green (Hope Baptist Church in Toledo), since they were celebrating the 30 th anniversary of their establishment that Sunday.
The following weekend after Worlds in LA, I was on my way to skate in the Boston Ice Chips show, and from there flew directly to New York to be a part of the “Skating with the Stars, Under the Stars” Gala in Harlem. It’s a great program that not only promotes physical well-being for girls, but also helps them to develop greater skills (character development, focus, determination, self-esteem, etc.) in their daily lives.
Following that weekend, I was home for a short time to try to get ahead on the schoolwork due in some of my classes, before I was off traveling once again, this time to Korea to be a part of Kim Yu-na’s 2 nd Festa on Ice show. That was an amazing experience! It was an extensive week with the long days of practice, and putting together the show, but everyone there had great time learning and practicing the numbers. Some of the cast of skaters included Shizuka Arakawa, Jeremy Abbott, Johnny Weir, Stephane Lambiel, Adam Rippon, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, and the Chinese pair team of Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang. David Wilson was the choreographer for the show, and my coach Yuka Sato came with me to Korea, so she also gave her input into some of the numbers. The show not only included skating, but also incorporated stage dance performers, singers, and a Korean rhythmic gymnast. The audience and fans in Korea are probably the loudest and most enthusiastic skating fans I have ever seen at skating shows. They react like rock-star fans at a concert, and they definitely enjoy the skating. The bus ride between the hotel and the ice arena was quite entertaining as well, since we were in a karaoke bus! And if you like Korean food, there was a great variety of it there for us. Unfortunately, I don’t like to eat rice, I don’t eat much beef, I am allergic to crab (so I had to stay away from most of the seafood), so finding food to eat was one of my bigger challenges while I was there for the week.
As soon as I got back to the U.S., I was off to Toronto to work on my new short program with David Wilson at the Cricket Club. David and I were both feeling the effects of the time change and the long show week in Korea, but we managed to put together a great new short program! Also, while I was there, Adam Rippon and I worked together with Tracy Wilson on our stroking. It was a quick few days there, but I plan to go back sometime this summer for more work on my programs, and also try to find time to have Kurt Browning work with me on a fun new show program.
I was back in the States just in time to finish a few papers that were due before finals, and then take my final exams. I went to my graduation on May 9 th, and graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, accomplishing another one of my goals for this year. I am planning to take this year off from school; and, in addition to training, I hope to have a little extra free time to catch up on some artwork, brush up on my French, play the piano, and do some teaching at Detroit Skating Club.
After graduation, I was off to LA for the NBC and USOC promotional shoot in preparation for the Olympic year. It was nice to have everything in one place, even if it made for a busy schedule. I did get to spend a little free time there with one of my good friends, Nick LaRoche. Last year when I was in LA, he invited me to see “Wicked,” in which his friend was performing. He also introduced me to another one of his friends performing in the show, Adam Lambert. Adam was going to have to leave the show, however, because he had tried out for American Idol, and was going on to the next round of auditions. After that, I was instantly an American Idol fan for the season, and kept waiting to see Adam on TV. The rest is history! I did want him to win, but he will have a great career, regardless!
In May, I was able to get back to Wisconsin to visit some of my relatives, and I skated at the Petit Center while I was there. My family and I then went on vacation for a week in Florida, where I enjoyed the time away from the ice, and spent a lot of time on the beach, biking, and even played some tennis in the 90 degree heat.
I was back to Detroit in time to be a part of Detroit Skating Club’s 10th anniversary ice show that just ended this past weekend. Our summer skating schedule has just started, and I am looking forward to beginning my training for this new season. I am extremely excited to have Jeremy Abbott, and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje as training mates this season. Massimo Scali and Federica Faiella have not returned yet from Italy, but they should be back in Detroit in a few weeks, also. We will all be doing the Grand Prix Skate Canada together, which should be a lot of fun. I was really hoping to get that assignment, as I always enjoy competing in Canada, and this year it is so close to Detroit that many of my friends and my family might be able to attend also. My other Grand Prix assignment is Russia, so this will be my third time returning there.
This past weekend I attended U.S. Figure Skating’s Champs Camp, which involved a lot of meetings and important information. I enjoyed hanging out with all my skating friends over the weekend. The most exciting part of the weekend, though, was learning how to fence!
I guess that finally brings me up to the present. I hope to be adding a few photos in the near future. I want to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me throughout the years! Thanks for visiting my website, and have a great summer!
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