You may not know the name Victoria Muniz but I do. As the commentator for CBC’s digital channel BOLD, I get the chance to watch every skater in every discipline at events like Worlds and the Four Continents. As such I get to know the names and faces of skaters who don’t yet find themselves in the final warm-up group for the free. Victoria is part of that bunch of skaters who are no less dedicated and competitive but who are just not as well known.

In truth she has always been athletic.Her parents have told her that she started riding a two-wheeler when she was 2 years old, keeping her balance so as not to need the training wheels.She says with a laugh that she didn’t know what figure skating was until she came to it at her 10th birthday party. Almost immediately she could spin and do jumps. Fast forward to this summer where Victoria and her Mom made the trek to Toronto for coaching and obvious improvement due in no small part to her terrific work ethic. She is the first to have represented Puerto Rico at an ISU Championships which is in itself an accomplishment. The California native made it to made it to US Sectionals in her 4th or 5th year of skating. At that time, the newly formed Puerto Rican Skating Federation had started and was looking for skaters who could represent them. Victoria’s grandparents on her father’s side were from Puerto Rico and with that family connection she could qualify for the tiny country.

She now makes her base in Los Angeles and is coached by Nedda Soltani and former Canadian champion Charlene Wong. Her summes goal was to try and improve her program component scores from Worlds and benefit from a change of training environment. She arrived with her programs already choreographed by Alex Chang. Her short program music combines Prelude by Jesse Cook with African music and the free program is to Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Movement of the 2nd Piano Concerto. Their strategy this summer has been about helping Victoria to emote more and to reach out to the audience using eye contact. The coaches have helped by placing themselves at various places around the rink and challenging her to make eye contact with them when she skates. It seems to be helping as Victoria talks about having more confidence which is key to success..

The gift in skating has been learning and accepting the lesson that, “whatever is done is done”. She used to take everything so seriously and would hold on to mistakes. She now realizes that as a skater you have to move beyond any errors and wants to “just go for it and not hold anything back.” It is this quality that made her skating idol Michelle Kwan so totally memorable. Victoria says: “There was something about her when she was on the ice; you knew ‘she feels it’” There have even been times that Victoria has shared the ice with Michelle and is thrilled that the more experienced skater has shared her expertise when Victoria was seen to be struggling.

Her goals for this year are to make the top 24 at Worlds and qualify to skate the free program. The advice that she would give a 10-year-old girl is the same she applies to herself: “I try to remember that if I miss a jump it’s not the end of the world.” She is also quick to add “Practice makes perfect” and with the amount of practicing she does her version of perfection can’t be far behind.

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