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2001 World Junior Champion 2004 U.S. National Champion Journal
Friday, August 26, 2005
Hi Everybody! Thank you for coming and checking up on me. It has been a really busy summer, but I've gotten a lot of work done and I've had a lot of fun. I'm preparing for the competitive season, and I'm so excited for it to begin.

Since my last journal entry a lot has changed with my new programs. The short program has new steps added to the step sequences to insure a Level 4 status, as well as crazy new spin positions. The free program has changed completely, down to the music. I started the summer skating to 'Liebestraum' by Franz Liszt, but I couldn't quite get the music into my heart. I didn't feel the music, and in my head I never saw it as my music, I pictured other people skating to it, Mishketuenok and Dmitriev, Jennifer Robinson and Illia Kulik to name a few. Mainly Jennifer Robinson mind you, and I didn't think I could pull of the white dress and pearls the way she did. I came up with a solution, I'd change it. I chose music by Maksim Mrvica; 'Amazonic', 'Hana's Eyes,' and 'Wonderland.' The new music takes me out of my generic, elegant look and adds an edge. I am playing a much stronger character. Tatiana Anatolievna and I created a story. I'm a fallen angel trying to get back into Heaven, but having a rough time being heard. It's a bit sad if you think about it, but the opening music is so powerful, and then a mystical middle portion and the long is a fight in every way. The last two minutes or so of the free program is made of steps sequences and spins, it's very taxing! I am in love with the new music. I am ready to take some criticism though because it was last used by Irina Slutskaia and I was afraid at first that people would say that Tatiana and I had no original ideas, but we worked hard to make the cuts different and in my opinion the program has a completely different character. I'm really excited to perform both of my programs, and I hope they are well received.

I performed in two shows over the summer. The first show was in Virginia and I skated my old exhibition pieces and the second was in Sun Valley where I debuted my new short program. I got to Sun Valley and realized that some of my US competitors were there, so I changed a lot of the program so nothing could be stolen. It's a shame that I had to change things around, but with the new scoring system, skating is now a game of numbers and I didn't want someone else having an upper hand using "my" elements. I was disappointed when I finally realized how much of a game this has become, and I feel it takes away a little bit from a program and artistic expression. Anyway, enough blabbering. The show went really well, despite the changes and I was ready to get back to Simsbury and start basic training.

After my appearance in Sun Valley I had a few weeks left in Connecticut with Tatiana Anatolievna's group. For most of the summer I skated with Shizuka Arakawa and Annette Dytrt. I wished I'd been able to skate a bit more with Andrei Griazev but Tatiana likes to separate us. Training overall went well this summer. We got great starts on conditioning, wonderful programs, I was landing quads nearly every day and I feel great about everything I accomplished. Kati Hadford who takes from Priscilla and I came up to work with Tatiana Anatolievna and it was a great comfort to have someone there from home. It was sad leaving Simsbury because it's possible that it's the last time Annette, Shizuka, Andrei, Olga, Vitali and I will all train together. I had a lot of fun with everyone this year, Sushi dinners, movie nights, shopping, it was tough to leave. I was more emotional about it than I thought I'd be, especially saying good-bye to Annette.

Throughout the summer I was filmed by ABC who will air a "fluff" piece on me during the competitions this season. They wanted to show how a program goes from some music on a CD to a performance. They popped up a lot this summer, so hopefully when it airs you'll get to see a bunch of sides of me, because I'm not always happy and smiling, actually a lot of the time I'm kind of bitter. :) They even came to Sun Valley for the debut of "The Swan," which was a real treat for me. (sarcasm) I always love performing for a camera in August! Really though, it will be a cool piece and I hope they actually show it!

I came back to Delaware on 24 August and have been busy unpacking and getting myself settled into my house. It is wonderful to be home with my family and friends and I'm excited to start working with Priscilla again. It's funny how you can miss things you never even thought of, like my hometown Starbucks or a side street you drive down to sing your face off on the way home from the rink. I am so excited for everything to start.

I hope everyone had fantastic summers and you're looking forward to fall. Colder climate clothes are better after all!



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