Mississauga Memos – Inline Figure Skaters

By Gina Capellazziadministrator of the FSO team website
Skating photos by Robin Ritoss; Photo of Nadiia, Molly and Yehor courtesy of the Cesanek family

Beyond the headlines of Rinka Watanabe, Shoma Uno, Rika Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, Skate Canada 2022 marked the Grand Prix debut for a number of skaters. There were a few other special stories that came out of the event.

Gina Capellazzi of Figure Skaters Online spoke with some of these skaters who have had other accomplishments and victories, beyond the podium. She highlights them in what she came up with – “Mississauga Memos”.

Last minute assignments and Grand Prix debut

Like Skate America, Skate Canada International marked the Senior Grand Prix debut for a number of athletes.

For Rinka Watanabe of Japan, she started her senior Grand Prix debut earlier than expected. When the assignments came out in July, Watanabe was only assigned to the NHK Trophy. Following the withdrawal of fellow Japanese Wakaba Higuchi, Watanabe was added to Skate Canada International on Oct. 11.

“I was told only a week ago that I was competing with Skate Canada, so it was very difficult for me to adjust my training, but I did my best,” she said.

Same goes for Team USA’s Ava Marie Ziegler, who only learned she would be heading to Skate Canada on October 22, just days before Skate Canada began. Ziegler had no further Grand Prix events, but found herself third after the short program and finished the event fourth overall.

Although she didn’t have the performance she was hoping for on her first senior Grand Prix debut, Team USA’s Lindsay Thorngren enjoyed the experience of her first Grand Prix.

“I was really excited to skate in front of a huge crowd and the arena is really nice. I loved this place and loved the crowd. I was so excited to skate my first Grand Prix with all the skaters,” Thorngren said after his free skate.

make history

When Starr Andrews won silver at Skate Canada International, she not only won her first Grand Prix medal of her career, but she also made history by becoming the first black American figure skater to win a Grand Prix medal.

During the Women’s Free Skating press conference, Team USA’s Lynn Rutherford asked Andrews about the feat.

“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “I think that’s huge, especially being one of the few people of color in this sport and being so proud to be able to represent them and to be able to bring home a medal is even more special.”

Training disrupted by Skate America

The Skating Club of Boston welcomed sold-out crowds for the first Grand Prix of the season, Skate America.

While it was great for the Skating Club of Boston to host this caliber event in only their second year at their new facility in Norwood, unfortunately it meant that skaters who trained at the Skating Club of Boston had to change their training. for the week. . The club’s main ice rink, the Tenley Albright Performance Center, was used for the event, and the west ice rink was melted down to create a media work room, press conference and mixed zone, accreditation and a warm-up area for the athletes. The loss of their two main practice rinks for the week was particularly difficult for Team USA’s Emily Chan and Spencer Howe and Jimmy Ma, who all competed at Skate Canada International this weekend. Both Chan and Howe, along with Ma, were able to practice at the club’s third rink, East Rink.

“It was a little harder to be outside of our normal schedule, but I felt like it was a blessing in disguise to be able to handle different circumstances because that’s how it was in competition,” said Chan.

“It (the East rink) was a bit smaller, but I think the hardest part was the session times, we didn’t have as much ice time throughout the day,” Spencer Howe explained. . “It was a blessing in disguise because when you have these competitions you don’t have an 80-minute session or an hour to start. You have to be fast on your feet to make it all go well.

“The Skating Club of Boston has always been very accommodating, which makes me very proud to be a part of their club,” Ma added.

Ma pointed out that the rink is more for hockey, as the ice is harder.

“So there were adjustments to be made, schedules had to be changed, so it definitely tested our adaptability,” Ma said. “I think we did pretty well overall.”

broken lace

The Japanese Kao Miura, leader after the short program, had an unfortunate situation during the six-minute warm-up of the free program. The lace on one of his skates broke, forcing him to leave the ice to tend to it. He was able to come back before the end of the warm-up, but lost quite a bit of warm-up time.

“My shoelace broke right in front of my skate,” he told the media. “Considering this, I give myself 100 percent on my performance today. I am very happy.”

Miura won the silver medal – his second Grand Prix Series silver this season.

Friends of the house

It’s always nice for skaters to have family and friends in the audience watching them skate. It was especially special for Team USA ice dancer Yehor Yehorov, originally from Ukraine, who had friends from back home both in the arena and on the ice with him.

Yehorov’s very good friends, Maria Nosovitskaya and Mikhail Nosovitskiy from Israel, were competing in the Skate Canada ice dance event. The twins were born in Kyiv.

“We grew up together in Ukraine at the ice rink every day,” he explained. “I was a junior and they were a rookie and right now look where we are – I’m representing Team USA and they’re representing Israel and we’re both at Skate Canada, Senior Grand Prix. It’s incredible. Figure skating really attracts people from all over the world.

On Friday, Yehorov also saw his good friend, ice dancer Nadiia Bashynska of Canada, a bronze medalist at the World Junior Championships. Bashynska also grew up with Yehorov in Kyiv.

“We spoke to each other because we haven’t seen each other in a while,” he said. “It’s a special feeling when you don’t see your friends for years and then you see each other and it’s like you’ve grown up together, you’ve been through a lot and you enjoy where you are now so much. and what we are doing now.

Late night at the library

Camden Pulkinen is in the middle of his first semester at Columbia University, while also preparing for another senior Grand Prix season.

After his short program, Pulkinen told Figure Skaters Online that he had mid-term exams for the past few weeks.

“Maybe I spent a little too much time in the library until midnight,” admitted Pulkinen. “I would have liked to train a little better before this competition, but I stayed in shape and did my job by training.

“It’s really about compartmentalizing now and school is really proving to be a challenge,” he added. “But I think as long as I’m young and as long as I’m at that age, I’d rather put as much on my plate and see how much I can conquer.”

Pulkinen’s second Grand Prix – Grand Prix Espoo – takes place during his Thanksgiving break from Columbia.

Baby announcement in the Kiss & Cry

After his short program on Friday, Canadian Keegan Messing held up a picture of his wife, Lane’s ultrasound, announcing they were expecting their second child. Keegan and Lane are already parents to 15-month-old son Wyatt.

Messing says Inline figure skaters that Lane is scheduled for January 2023.

“Right in the middle of the (Canadian) Nationals,” he laughed. “I can’t plan anything very well or do anything in a simple way.”

“I’m so happy to be alive right now. I couldn’t be higher,” he added.

The Messings don’t know if their second child is a boy or a girl.

“It’s a surprise. I’m hoping for a girl, but I’d be delighted with a boy too. Either way, I’ll be in tears regardless,” he said.

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