Cynthia Phaneuf has seen it all in skating. Very early on, she was a National champion and was thought to be “the next big thing”. A catastrophic foot injury, a growth spurt and general life got in the way of fulfilling her potential at that time.I asked her what made her persevere. She says with a certain amount of pride that it is a quality that she has inherited from both her parents who have always fought through any challenges that they faced. Cynthia says:

“You need to just go through things. If it doesn’t work you will know that at least you tried. You don’t know what would have happened so you have to go and see what happens.”

It is this kind of practical advice that she would offer to younger skaters: “Believe in yourself” She laughs because she says that it’s advice that has been heard a million times before. She says:

“I wish I could say something that hasn’t been heard. I would say you are special enough and that even if you are less talented but work more you can get it. I think everyone can do it and be successful in their own way.”

Her perseverance paid off this past season when she finished in 5th place at the Worlds.What about strategy for this season? “I am not going to really change my strategy but I learned a lot of stuff that I am going to use. I learned that you don’t have to be as ready as soon in the season.I want to find the right time to peak for Worlds not to be ready too early in the season.I have found sometimes when you are doing the same thing for 8 months it can be tough.So I want my programs to still be fresh for Worlds.”

David Wilson is the choreographer for her programs: Toni Braxton’s Spanish Guitar with a remix of a few songs theis the SP. She says enthusiastically: ”It’s Spanish and very different from what I have done before.” The Free program is to Russian classical music whose name she is not sure of. She loves the fact that the way that it’s mixed you won’t recognize the very familiar theme until it jumps out about halfway through.
Part of Cynthia’s success can be attributed to her enduring relationships with the people that make up her team. Her longtime coach (and brand-new Mom of baby Stella) Annie Barabe is still very much in charge and is looking forward to attending both of Cynthia’s Grand Prix events with baby and the dad in tow. In the meantime for the day to day duties Sophie Richard and Yvan Desjardins have stepped forward to fill in the gap.

The Olympics were an amazing experience and that feeling has continued to bolster her self-confidence. She is looking forward to competing at Skate Canada and in Paris at the Trophee Eric Bompard and was delighted to get the text message from close friend Scott Moir that he and partner Tessa Virtue will be at the same events.
Cynthia says she is in great health and laughs off the pesky knee pain that she has when doing triple Salchows.Nobody is able to determine why it hurts so she deals with it in her practical way of taking care and backing off the jump a little when she needs to. What does she love about skating? She says:“it’s hard to say because there are so many things. Every time I go on the ice, even when I am anxious, I go and coming back home I feel better after I have skated. It is part of my life. I love the jumping stuff and the feeling of flying on the ice – I love the training I love to sweat on the ice.”

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