I am at liberty to say that the Liberty competition is well under way. (See what I did there? A function of being up too late too many nights in a row…never mind) My friend Carol Nugent, with whom I announced the Olympics in Salt Lake in 2002 is here as the chief announcer and tells me that there will be between 800 and 900 starts at this event; meaning that many programs. A pretty impressive record including skaters at all compettive levels from bottom to top. She uses this event as a training opportunity for would be PA announcers to get experience.

She isn’t the only one,

I ran into Canadian coach Bruno Marcotte who was standing rinkside with one of his pairs, Jade Savannah-Godin and Andrew Evans who are in their second year as a team and as Senior competitors. Bruno sad that he feels that the American skaters often get a head start on the season and he sees that having this team compete here is a way of getting them out with lots of time before the heavy competing starts in the Fall. He sees this competition as the incentive to get things together more quickly.

Andrew at 22 years old is already a pair veteran with a couple of partnerships, while Jade is only 17 and still a relative newcomer. This team got together only four months before Canadians in 2010. In Bruno’s words: “last year it was like having two separate skaters skating together. This year’s goal is to have them skate together as one; as a team.”

As they took the ice for warm-up you could defintely appreciate the potential in this team. Their short program seemed to be in the right place for this point in the seaon, not perfect yet but definiitely headed in the right direction. The most difficult part was when the music died about 2/3 the way through the program after their lasso lift. It took a bit of time to re-group as they had to have someone get their back-up CD but when the music came back on they were right back in the groove and put down a beautiful throw 3Sal and an inside death spiral. I was impressed that in a relationship that continues to evolve they were comfortable enough with each other that they remained composed and focused despite the delay.

The skaters told me about their goals for the season, Andrew said that he would love to compete and have 2 clean programs at a competition. Jade says that she would love to skate a clean free and was telling me that her biggest challenge to overcome is her confidence. Although she may not yet feel like it, she has the look of a thoroughbred on the ice – in other words, she needn’t worry. Bruno commented that he knows they have the tricks, they just have to get them out there.

I asked Bruno about the difference between being a skater and a coach and he said that in both places he felt passion for the sport and has a fierce competitive drive. He wants to be able to share what he knows and to infuse his skaters with this same passion. It’s a good thing too because at the moment he has 3 senior Canadian teams: Savannah-Godin and Evans, Mylene Brodeur and John Mattatal, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, 1 junior team as well as a 4 more international teams that come to him for training.

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