Sunday, March 9, 2008

Notes From USFSA Teleconferences With The USOC

Tanith Belbin

Missed Four Continents so that she could have time to recover from a knee injury (Torn LCL—Right Knee) she sustained before U.S. Nationals. With South Korea so far away, thought it would be best to stay home and prepare. Feel the most prepared they’ve ever felt going into a World Championships and feel they have an excellent shot at winning gold.

Had been training both the Austrian Waltz and the Argentine Tango before the Argentine Tango was drawn at Junior Worlds. Are aware that the compulsory dance hasn’t been their strength in the past, but they’ve spent considerable time training the compulsory dance and feel like it can be a strength at Worlds. They don’t want to be playing catch-up after the compulsory dance any more.

Really trained as hard as they could through the summer, they’re more focused, have better programs and are finally comfortable with the new system.

Thinks the Russians and French are very strong teams.

Haven’t changed any elements in the programs, but have changed the composition of the beginning of the Original Dance.

Thinks U.S. Ice Dancing has had this growth coming for a long time. Thinks the Olympics will put U.S. Ice Dancers on the map. Thinks they’ve needed their competitors to push them and have found it very motivating to have Nationals feel like a highly competitive event.

Plans to join the final 12 stops of Stars On Ice and may join up with Canadian Stars On Ice. May go abroad to Japan to do a few shows. They have also seen the benefits of training in the summer and are planning on being home more, while still attempting to earn a living. They’ll be back on the ice with Igor by the second week of April. They’re excited to be home more, take their skating to the next level, and perform in domestic shows on the weekends.

Thinks Samuelson and Bates have a talent for lifts, creative choreography and innovative movements.

Evan Lysacek

Thought it was important to go to Four Continents.

Working with three new trainers and a dietician. Had trained the same way for five years.

Feeling stronger, refreshed and thinks he’s skating better than he has in a long time.

Not ultra concerned with results this year. Thinks “the quad” is the brand in the sport right now since the sport doesn’t have a 6.0 right now.

Thinks the value of the quad should be analyzed and given more credit. Says he thinks they’re looking at the value of the quad and upgrading it or adding a bonus.

Was eating low carb before. Didn’t have enough time to have a full meal before. Is now eating ¾ vegetables and 1/4 meat at every meal. Drinking whole meal shakes and Excelerade.

Body fat percentage was below 4.0% before. Has always weighed around 170 lbs.

Joining the cast of Stars On Ice after worlds. Will be competing at the Japan Open on April 20th. Booked through the end of May. (SOI is obvious as Evan is represented by IMG)

Says that Daisuke Takahasi is the favorite politically.

Has taken out a Double Axel and added a Triple Flip as his last jump. One of his Triple-Triple combinations will now be a Triple-Double, but it should give him two extra points. Lori Nichol changed a part of his music in the beginning of the Free Skate.

Hasn’t thought about music for next season yet. Leaves music up to Lori Nichol and Frank Carroll.

Kimmie Meissner

Really trying to getting her confidence level back up and feeling consistent with her jumps and programs. Knows she can do better.

Knew she needed a change and Mr. Callaghan offered to help her. Spent a week or two by herself after Nationals and then moved down to Florida. (Kimmie and Mr. Callaghan are both represented by Yuki Saegusa of IMG, so it made sense that they got in touch so quickly.)

Helps her to relax and be positive, yet serious. Has worked on everything with Mr. Callaghan. They’ve worked on correcting the edge of her Triple Flip and having a higher 2nd triple in her Triple-Triple combinations in order to avoid under-rotating the jumps.

Mr. Callaghan doesn’t have to train Kimmie because she trains herself and is a very disciplined skater.

Lost confidence after winning the 2006 World Championships because she felt that she had to be perfect every time.

Mr. Callaghan thinks more advanced notice should be given to every rule change.

Johnny Weir

Eyes Daisuke Takahashi as the favorite. Also named Voronov, Verner, and Joubert as strong competitors.

Wants to do a clean short with maximum levels and high component scores. Only attempting a Quad Toe in the long program. Has been training the Triple Lutz+Double Toe+Double Loop combo in his long program. Wants to do quads in both programs next year.

Is considering using a classic dance or waltz where he can perform both the female and male roles. Would love to work with Mikhail Baryshnikov and see what he can bring to the ice.

Is honored that the men will be closing the 2008 World Championships.

Doesn’t want to be double billed like the heroines of Chicago.

Says spins are much more taxing than jumps. Says skaters are dizzy after spins and the ‘lick your blade’ spins make it difficult to breathe. Thinks one spin and one jump pass should be eliminated in order to give skaters more time to express themselves. Finds footwork and spirals to be exciting elements.

Will be touring with Champions On Ice in Japan in June, July and August. Will be a part of the Figure Skating in Harlem event on March 31st. Wasn’t invited to do Stars On Ice. Is currently talking to Ilia Averbukh and Evgeny Plushenko about performing in their shows in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Will be training in Moscow at Katok Olympiskii with Elena Tchaikovskaya's group until March 18th.

Saw Plushenko perform on Satellite TV. Didn’t think Plushenko looks up to his usual standard. He says Plushenko is quick at getting in shape, but may struggle with putting his nose to the grindstone and realizing that he won’t just be handed things.

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