I cannot believe in another couple of weeks, we are basically at the end of the road for another season!

Time to Talk Tokyo with skaters on their way to Worlds.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje at the 2011 Canadian Figure Skating Championships (Photo by Justine Chiu)

Canada’s national silver medallists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje returned from the ISU Four Continents Championship in Taipei City with more lessons learned. In their free dance performance there, Andrew’s blade got tangled in Kaitlyn’s dress on his way into their dance spin:

“The amazing part was that we didn’t fall …but without the required revs to make a combo spin element, we got a zero.”

With pride in her voice, Kaitlyn goes on to say that in the past they would have let it take the wind out of their sails, but this time, they just kept on and “didn’t let it ruin our vibe.” Just an unfortunate hiccup for this team whose steely resolve was so clearly evident as they looked into each other’s eyes at the conclusion of the national championships where they finished in second. They were less than a point behind Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier. Interestingly, they don’t think of the rivalry but concentrate on the work that they have done to this point and really just want to get to Worlds and show the world what they know how to do. They have made some real strides this season and attribute their improvement to efforts of their coaching team: Pasquale Camerlengo, Anjelika Krylova and Shae-Lynn Bourne. The hours upon hours spent on basic stroking and edge quality and skills has paid off facilitating their joy in skating their two programs which are “the most fun to perform for an audience that we have ever done.” says Kaitlyn. In a charming twist of fate, Kaitlyn remembers seeing Anjelika and partner Oleg Ovsiannikov in a skating show that came through her hometown of Houston. Although she was already a skater, it was seeing Anjelika that really inspired her to pursue her goal of ice dance. When she is with Anjelika, she says she really tries to “soak all that up”.

New this season, is the more regular connection that the team has made with a sports therapist who has helped them with strategies of relaxation and how to put in competition what they are able to do in training at home. They had always worked with one before intermittently through Skate Canada. This was different though, as it was a commitment and a priority that they made before the season started. Kaitlyn says: “We don’t talk to her every day but we like her as a person and we connect with her.” The goal has been to put things into perspective – to not focus so much on results and to realize that there is life after competition. Sounds sensible to me.

As one of the teams who will be competing in the Preliminary round of the ice dance competition at worlds – Andrew’s comment sums up their positive and philosophical attitude:

“We see performing our free dance in front of the actual panel as having an advantage. It’s like doing a dry run and we are looking forward to that.”

They say this is almost like going to their first Worlds – they feel new and fresh and feel as if they have something new and fresh to offer. Kaitlyn and Andrew say that their goal is to make top five in the world. We all know the first step in achieving a goal is naming it. “If we skate our best – why not?” is what Andrew says. They are planning on celebrating their programs and enjoying the work they have done. They aren’t making any changes to the programs aside from maybe some minor arm and head movements.

“We are looking towards the future with hope and not fear and are ready to work hard to get the results we are working for,”

In other words – Weaver and Poje – ready to take on the world.

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