Photo by Sean McKinnon

I always forget just how much information flies around in the off-season; from coaching changes to music announcements to injuries and retirements, there’s lots to talk about. One of the things that I find very interesting is what the skaters get up to away from the rink.

I just read that former Japanese competitor (one of my faves!) Takahiko Kozuka is involved in the creation and launch of Kozuka Blades in partnership with Yamaichi Special Steel Inc. Takahiko has created a blade that he is calling ‘quad proof’ in response to the blade-snapping force exerted during the landing of quad jumps. Amazing!

While in Toronto, World champion and Olympic bronze medallist Kaetlyn Osmond, took time out from her schedule to visit a local PetSmart. Kaetlyn has a commercial on TV right now for Nulo dog food, and this trip to the store confirmed for me what I already knew and that is that away from the rink, Kaetlyn is a pet lover. Why is this important? I like to think of skaters as being fully rounded humans. I think back in the day, it is one of the things that made Olympic bronze medallist Toller Cranston so unusual. He insisted that his career as a legendary artist was as important as anything he was doing (also legendary) on the ice. I am not normally a Dancing With The Stars fan, but this season is different. Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu are everything to me. Adam’s criss-crossing commitments across the United States, between Stars on Ice and DWTS, all with good humour and energy gives new meaning to the term ‘too many things to do, too few hours’. (Yup, it’s a term I just made up – what are you going to do about it?)

I love the fact that Kaetlyn and Takahiko and Toller and Adam and so many more are constant reminders that beautiful skating makes up only one part of a rich life and that finding more things to add texture to one’s life has great value. Something to which we can all aspire.

From on the ice, this is a video that I captured after the short programs with Kaetlyn Osmond at this year’s Worlds in Milan. You’ll see we talk about skating as well as home life.

Thanks to everyone who joined in for my Facebook Live on Wednesday! We’re going to do it all over again this Wednesday at 7pm ET on my Pj Kwong (author) page. Looking forward to more great conversation! Please follow me on Twitter @skatingpj and subscribe to my YouTube channel here. Have a great week! Pj