At the Liberty competition a little earlier today, all eyes were on the beautiful and graceful Canadian champion Cynthia Phaneuf as she took the ice for her short program.  Composed, it looked good as she started into her opening moves and what struck me was the huge leap in her maturity and confidence. Skating to the same music she used last year, Spanish Guitars, the nuances seemed to have been expanded and along with her powerful skating the program filled the rink.  Here is her Liberty SP posted with Cynthia’s permission:

Although she had a problem with her Lutz today, history was made when she landed a triple loop for the first time in competition in her short program.

Training has been going very well at home and I landed the triple loop in this program first a couple of weeks ago and I think it was always Annie’s (coach Barabe) to do it here so I am very happy with that.

Annie told her that the loop was working very well for her in shows and she rarely missed it which would make it a good choice for the short.

Last season was filled with ups and downs for Cynthia who talked about feeling depressed after skating to less than her potential at both Skate Canada and World. For that reason, she is making “performance” her goal this season rather than focusing on numbers or results.

This is a good strategy for a skater who, when she is “on”, can easily compete with the best in the world when it comes to musical connection, strength and power.

Cynthia spoke of feeling realxed coming into this competition and understands that this is the very first step in a very long season. Her goal is to create consistency from one competition to the next and to continue to become a better skater.  “I feel more ready this year than I felt the year before. I feel ready for this time of the year. I feel confident.” That confidence translated into support from the crowd of “strangers” at Liberty which was a thrill for Phaneuf.

Here is a quick bilingual interview:

As always, Cynthia has a gold  pendant around her neck engraved with a Chinese symbol which she says means “always happy”. Her mom bought it for her in about 2004 and it should serve as a reminder of how she makes us feel as the audience when she skates her best –

Always Happy 🙂

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