1. This has been a very successful season for you, your first season at the senior level. What have you learned from all of your international experiences that will help you grow as a skater?
It has been an amazing year. Just skating with all of the top guys in the world, and competing well against them will help me have more confidence for next season, and seeing what they do in their programs will hopefully help me to be more creative with my programs next year. Also, seeing their jumps was amazing. At my rink I don't have anyone to look to as far as jumps are concerned to get motivated for quads, so watching Yagudin all season has helped.
2. Out of all of the events that you competed in this season, which was the most memorable for you? Why?
The most memorable event for me was probably Trophee Lalique. They have all be memorable, but in Trophee Lalique everything felt good, Paris was loads of fun, and I got to be with Tanith a lot, so it was all helping me have a great experience. Skating well was good too.
3. What were your feelings about being chosen to represent the USA at the Four Continents Comp?
I was actually hoping to go to Four Continents all season, so I was excited to go. I knew how tired I would be though, having just come from LA, but I wanted to compete. Korea was really interesting, but I was insanely tired all week and my shin was very aggrivated, so I didn't skate the way I wanted.
4. Did you have time to do any sightseeing in Korea?
I didn't have that much time to go sightseeing, but I did get to walk around Jeonju City a little bit, and there was one incident where a taxi driver drove me all around the city to get to where I was going, which could have been very direct. So yes, I did a little sightseeing.
5. What was your favorite memory about Nationals in Los Angeles? Did you have any fun experiences that you would like to share with your fans?
My favorite memory about Los Angeles was my short program. I don't think I've ever skated it so well, the crowd was amazing, and it was just very memorable. I'll hopefully hold on to it my whole career. Other memorable things for me were watching Sasha skate brilliantly and make the team after she had told me how much she wanted to make it, it was fabulous and watching Tanith and Ben skated so well and come second in dance.
Well besides doing all of the touristy things (Hollywood, Rodeo Drive) I got some chances to just be with friends I don't see too often. I loved seeing them, especially Tanith, Sasha and Stephanie and meeting new people. It was just fun.
6. In your opinion, how does the US team look going into the Olympic games? Who do you think will do well in Salt Lake?
In my opinion, the team for Salt Lake City looks amazing. Our ladies will only have competition from the
Russians, the men will do well, I hope the pairs are awesome and dance will be good. The only thing I would change is that Tanith and Ben would get to go in
dance, it's too bad.
I think Plushenko, Yagudin and Goebel will medal in men, the Russian rivalry will be fierce. The ladies will be Slutskaia, Kwan and Cohen. Pairs will be Berezhnaia/Sikharulidze, Sale Pelletier and either Shen/Zhao or Totmianina/Marinin and in dance Lobacheva/Averbukh, Annissina/Peizerat and Drobiazko/Vanagas.
7. What do you think about when you are skating a program? Are you totally focused on what you are doing or are you aware of the audience, and if so, does the audience reaction affect your performance?
When I'm skating I normally think about really random things. But I try to focus on breathing, where my arms are and to look at the judges. I do hear the crowd a lot, but it doesn't affect me really
8. Have you selected any music for next season yet? Is there any particular music that you would like to skate to , if not next season, then some time in the future?
I haven't begun making selections yet, but I want to do something very different for my programs this year. Schindler's List, Love Story, Egyptian themed music, tango, Secret Garden, they all come to mind. I'm not sure yet, but I'll keep you posted!
9. What do you feel you have to do to advance in the Men's standings next season?
To advance in men's skating I naturally need quads, harder footwork and to be more interesting. My long this year was kind of bland. I also want to invent some new spins for next year!
November 15, 2001
1. Congratulations on your 4th place finish at Trophee Lalique. What did you think of your performance?
I was very pleased with my performance at Trophee Lalique. In the short program, there are still step sequences to be sorted out and changed, and the triple axel has to be more solid, but I was very pleased with the way short went. In long, I was excited to land most of my jumps. I was upset that I popped the first axel, and my shin was sore for the triple sal at the end, so I left it out, but all in all I think it was a strong performance. Again, there are things I will improve for nationals like speed in my skating and speed in my spins, and of course landing all my jumps.
2. You have now skated at two Grand Prix senior events. What are your feelings about competing at the senior level?
The senior level is so much different than junior. It's a smaller, more elite group of guys in senior, which I'm very pleased to be a part of. Unlike junior though, I actually watch the senior guys. Its very inspiring to share practice ice with Yagudin, Eldredge and others, I feel like I skate up to their level. Its so much more like a business trip in senior, rather than a vacation (junior).
3. On a personal level,
what was it like competing against Yagudin, Eldredge, Stojko etc...
It's very exciting. When I began skating, I always thought about what it would be like to be in such an elite group. Now that I'm here, its exactly how I pictured it. They're all very nice and its great for them to know who I am now, instead of just me knowing all about them.
4. Did you have any memorable off ice experiences in Saskatoon or Paris that you would like to share with your fans?
In Paris I had lunch near Notre Dame and the Seine River with Galina and Sasha Cohen which was a lot of fun. Then I saw the chocolate shop from the movie, 'Chocolat', and then we went for ice cream at a really cute Glacerie. It was a good day!
5. I know that you have a subtle stress fracture. What exactly is this injury and how does it affect your skating?
My injury is basically from pounding on quad toes, and because my hip strength isn't that great, so when I pick into the ice, my foot roles completely over and then has to snap back quickly for four revolutions, it doesn't care for that much. The injury basically keeps me from practicing quads, overdoing triple/triple combinations and excessive triple axels. It's a pain, but it will heal quickly with the help of medication, a bone stimulator, and a special strength coach, Todd Baden.
6. Do you plan to include a quad jump in your program at Nationals this season? Or will you wait until next season before you attempt that jump?
Because of my injury, I highly doubt I'm even practicing quad toes by nationals, so it won't be an inclusion. Hopefully for next season I'll have either quad sal or quad toe in the program.
7. Which jump do you think is the most difficult?
Personally, the loop is the hardest jump for me. I always have trouble keeping it the same every time, which is unfortunate, but when it's on, it's my best jump. Hopefully, some day, quad lutz will be my most difficult jump.
8. What do you think of your fans? How important are they to you?
I know I have some fans, but I don't think I have that many yet. It is a great feeling though when people write to me, wanting photos and autographs, its a little feeling of celebrity. I really enjoy the letters and things, and just having people cheer for me when I go to skate is an awesome feeling. I love the support from my fans.
9. What do you think it takes to become a "great" skater?
I believe in a few key things, to become and to be a great skater. You have to have a complete package of technical and artistic ability. Its not interesting to watch someone jump for four minutes, and its not exciting to watch someone stroke for four minutes, you have to have balance and equality in those two areas. You also must have a level head. People who are either too full of themselves, or too scared of themselves will not make it as a great skater. One must have a strong support system. A strong relationship with your coach, a strong family, and a great group of friends. And finally, one must believe in themselves. If all else fails you, you can still have you, to push yourself into being great. I think these things help and have helped make top skaters.
1. What is your favorite memory of being at the Goodwill Games?
My favorite memory of the Goodwill Games would have to be just being around all the top skaters. At the draw party, in the hotel, practices, watching the competition, it was all amazing to be in that group of the most elite athletes for my sport. It was awesome.
2. I know that Evgeny Plushenko is one of your favorite skaters and that you look up to him. What was it like for you to compete with him at the Goodwill Games?
I only got to watch his free skate actually, but just sharing a locker room with him and watching him practice and seeing his work ethic and everything was great for me. He is so confident which is something I'd like to work on of course. He's just so good.
3. Did you have a chance to do any sightseeing while you were in Australia? Tell us about your experiences.
Brisbane is a gorgeous city so everything was interesting to see in the city. But I did have a chance to go out of the city to see koalas and kangaroos at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It was so cool. There were so many animals. I got my picture taken with a koala and was able to feed the kangaroos and walk through a field with hundreds of them, so it was nice. And while I was walking around a bunch of tourists recognized me and asked for pictures and autographs so that was cool. Shopping at the Queen Street mall was pretty fun also. It is an outside mall so it was nice being in the awesome Australia weather while doing some light shopping.
4. The Australian fans had quite a favorable reaction to your skating.....even going so far as booing your marks after the short program. How did you feel about this show of support?
The crowd was awesome. They were so supportive of me. Even when I was sitting waiting for the dance competition to start a group of people in the stand were screaming at me to wave to them, so it was cool getting the "star treatment" I guess. the Brisbanean crowd was so nice.
5. You skated very well during the short program, in fact you skated better than most of the other men who made a lot of mistakes in their programs. Were you happy with the judges marks or do you think that they should have been higher?
I know that I was the lowest ranked man at the event, and that I didn't try the hardest jumps, so I expected myself to score around that level if I skated well. The judges are doing what they have to do. I love judging so I understand everything theyre trying to do, one day I'll get higher marks and skate less well. Its just a totem pole type deal, once I'm more well known I'll get the marks.
6. Were you able to watch any of the other non-skating events while you were in Brisbane?
I tried to see diving and gymnastics but they were sold out.
7. What are your impressions of Australia and the Australian people?
Both are beautiful. The people were so kind and accommodating, and Australia itself is beautiful. I definitely suggest a pilgrimage there for everyone, if you can take the flights.
8. This season is your first on the senior level. What do you hope to accomplish this year?
This season is all about getting my name in the public eye, so next year when I'm one of the top Americans, I can do well and have people recognize me so I'll be higher on the "totem pole".
9. Do you have any messages for your fans?
I want to say thank you for all your support and to my new fans since Goodwill Games, thank you for liking me!