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Posted By SkatingPj

I know!  I was excited too!  I ran into author and amazing sports writer Steve Milton in the hallway of K-Rock Centre in Kingston where Skate Canada International is being held and asked him about his new book:  TESSA & SCOTT - Our journey from Childhood Dream to Gold ( by Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as told to Steve Milton).  He said in his own self-deprecating way - "Naw I was just the transcriber."

It doesn't really matter how this book came to be - I am delighted that it has. 

For anyone who has known Tessa and Scott or for that matter for anyone who would like to understand them better, this book  is about them much more as people than as skaters.  It is exactly the kind of storytelling that gets me every time and it has the bonus of lots and lots and lots of pictures!

They are small town kids and have small town values which is likely why we have all fallen in love with them.  Yesterday, as they stood beside me on BOLD to talk about the Golden Waltz before the dance event, they were thanking me for having them.  Imagine that - as Olympic and World champions they are at a stage where they don't really need to thank anyone for anything and yet they do - their charm and grace is disarming and delightful.  Like me, they are willing to be a part of fundraisers for clubs and from the emial that was sent to my own club, North Toronto - you can email reader@anansi.ca.

If you are lucky enough to be in Kingston - Tessa and Scott will be at K-Rock Centre for a booksigning/autograph session @ 1:30pm today (Saturday).  If you are in the Toronto area - here are a couple more dates:  Monday, Novermber 1 - Indigo store @ 2300 Yonge and Eglinton @ 7:00pm and then Tuesday, November 2 - Roots General  Store - 100 Bloor Street  W@ 6:00pm for their book launch at the store's Grand Opening!  All are welcome!

I got mine early and (am thrilled to say) had it autographed - you're going to want to get yours too! I have to put mine down to get back to work - so many of the people and events are familar to me and skating fans it transports me right inside their lives.

It's going to be a skating book kind of holiday - great books for all the skating fans in your life!  Aside from my book, Taking the Ice - Success Stories from the World of Canadian Figure Skating you will want to get : Tessa and Scott's Book - available at fine book stores everywhere!!  

 

Tessa and Scott - Our journey from Childhood Dream to Gold

By: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as told to Steve Milton

$34.95

House of Anansi Press Incorporated

ISBN 978-0-88784-273-3

 

 

***Taking The Ice *** also on sale in Kingston at K-Rock or www.takingtheice.com ***

 


 
Posted By SkatingPj

If you don't know the name - you may be one of the few.  Let me refresh your memory.  David Pelletier and partner Jamie Sale were Canadian, World (2001) and Olympic pair champions in 2002.  The judging scandal that was uncovered at the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 where Jamie and David ultimately turned in their Silver medals for Gold was the impetus for the overhaul to the judging system that is now in place today.

Fast forward to 10 minutes ago and a quick conversation with my new booth buddy David Pelletier!  I have some great news for Canadian skating fans who are subscribers to the CBC BOLD Digital channel - David is going to join me for all of the action at the Skate Canada International event in Kingston. HOLY COW!!  Am quite excited!  Turns out - he is too! 

I remember a couple of years ago, David striding with purpose in my direction to tell me that he followed skating on BOLD exclusively and wanted me to know it.  Today, I asked him why:  "It's because I think skating can take itself too seriously sometimes and I like the fact that BOLD feels more conversational to me.  I like the candor and I like the fact that you still get what you need.  For me it makes me feel more like I am part of the event."

We all know it's not for everybody, but for those of us that like to follow skating and like to be the first to spot new talent long before it hits that last flight, it's great.

For David Pelletier - skating past, present and future is interesting and he says that this is the ideal time to see who will start the climb towards the next Olympics in Sochi in 2014.  He elaborates: "People come and people go. It's interesting to see who stayed after the Olympics. After all, it's less than 4 years until the next time so to see the programs at the beginning of the season can let you know who might be the ones to watch."

In between talking about three year old son, Jessie, who he describes as the love of his life I asked him which side of the boards he prefers.  He says : "The 'rush' of competing being out there in front of the public and in front of the fans and getting that moment where you can show the world and convince those 9 people on the judging panel that you are the best. It is amazing to challenge yourself and when it is the time to ask yourself 'who is going to show up today?'. It's a question of being in control.  As the coach, you are out of control  - your job is done once you get there to the competition. For the skater it is only half done once you get there They still have to skate and anything can happen when an athlete is under stress."

If I wasn't going to be on BOLD this weekend - I would want to watch BOLD.  We're going to have LOTS to talk about !

David Pelletier and Pj Kwong - never thought I would see those two names together!

Don't forget - comments, questions and anything else- to pjkwong@pjkwong.com.

 

***TAKING THE ICE by Pj Kwong - makes a great gift! www.takingtheice.com ***

 


 
Posted By SkatingPj

Hi everyone!

I am delighted to announce that CBC and Artistry will be presenting iAsk questions again this year during the CBC Broadcasts - where you get the chance to have your say!

The weekly Grand Prix questions will be posted on Figure Skating Universe (www.fsuniverse.net) on my Twitter @skatingpj, on CBC's figure skating page and here on my blog.

If you are fine to be quoted on a response you leave here to any of the questions - please let me know by putting an OK at the end of your message.

Here are the  potential questions I am looking at for this week's NHK coverage on CBC:

 

Question 1
 
Come out, come out wherever you are!
 
 
At this point, none of the Olympic champions are competing in the Grand Prix events  for one reason or another - in your opinion- who will show themselves as the early favourites and why?
 
 
Question 2
 
The Short Dance or as I like to call it:  The Original Compulsory
 
Ice Dance has been reduced from 3 - 2 segments - how will the Short Dance impact the competition?
 

*** Pj Kwong's book Taking The Ice -makes a great gift! www.takingtheice.com ***

 
Posted By SkatingPj

Pic of Josee Chouinard with Pj's Pic
Well...although it was 2 weeks ago, it feels like the launch was just yesterday for my first book Taking the Ice. (www.takingtheice.com)

I want to share a couple of things - first of all - if you are knee deep in skating, as I am, there will be pictures that will crop up unexpectedly from time to time.  My book launch was at The Granite Club, where I skated as a kid. My "good friend" (more on that later)2 time Olympian and 3 time Canadian Champion and Granite Club coach Josee Chouinard started telling me in Vancouver at the Olympics that she had a "surprise" for me - and then she would start to laugh maniacally and scamper away.  Apparently, Barb S (Skating administrator) had done a massive clean up of boxes at the Club and located pictures from the Club Competition in 1968 where I won something.  Josee decided it would be fun to frame it and to include it as part of her introduction of me at the launch. She (kindly) didn't mention it was the last time I won anything and kept her giggles in check at my very fashionable sailor dress for which I am grateful.  It could have been worse - I might have had a grandmother who had knit me a skirt complete with matching panties and a bonnet!  Sleep with one eye open Josee! :)

I thought incorrectly that the lion's share of the work would be the writing of the book - I was wrong.  There was a lot of effort that had to go into the launch of the book on the part of me and my family, Josee,  as well as Robert Morgan of BookLand Press. Then there was the sneak peek Short Dance Exhibition from Granite Club skaters and 4 Continents' Champions Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje which really helped to set the "skating" tone of the event.

I was grateful for the support of Skate Canada's Debbi Wilkes and CBC's Chris Irwin who both spoke about skating in Canada in glowing terms.  It was also an amazing gift to have photographer Justine Chiu capture all the special moments.  (www.justinechiu.com)

It was a little strange to get up and speak and to  be able to talk a little about some of the conversations that I had had along the way with Canada's best skaters, coaches and choreographers.  To be able to finally talk about David Wilson who almost quit skating prematurely, Toller Cranston who sees himself as an alchemist, Barbara Ann Scott who values duty and honour to one's country over anything else was a treat.  Then there was the chance to share the details of the Vancouver experience of Joannie Rochette through the eyes of her legendary coach Manon Perron. To look out and see Tomas Verner and Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier in the audience re-living Vancouver was a privilege and maybe shed a tiny shred of light on the fishbowl that is an Olympic Games.

I felt like a kid with a delicious secret as I spilled the beans that there had already been serious talk surfacing of a "deal" regarding the 2002 Olympic pairs title at a social function at Skate Canada in October of 2001. Thrilled to hear and write the 37 stories in that section?  You bet!

Small wonder writing the book never felt like work.Hope you like it! Thanks to all of my supporters and guests for a magical event! 

******  Get your copy of Taking The Ice *** got to www.takingtheice.com for info ***

 


 
Posted By SkatingPj
Skating is just around the corner and Canada’s Jeremy Ten will be at the first 2 events: NHK and Skate Canada. Intelligent and articulate, he admits that not qualifying for the Olympic Games in Vancouver was a disappointment, but that was then and this is now. Jeremy says: “My goals for this season are to have a good season and have a good time and perform better and get stronger; working towards becoming one of the best in the world.”
Looking back on last season he says: “I was in a slump after nationals although I am a firm believe that things happen for a reason. There was a lot of pressure on a “hometown kid” and going to the Olympics. I am proud for never giving up on myself - I survived and everything happens for a reason.” He explains: “I think with my injuries that Nationals was where I was supposed to end my season - had I gone to the Olympics, my injury was at its' peak and it wouldn’t have been good.” The problems were in his feet: on one foot it was the metatarsal bones jabbing into each other on triple and quad toes and then after Nationals he also had problems with his right ankle. Jeremy explains: “I think we had my skates rebuilt sometime earlier and they were too stiff and it hurt and because you don’t have a lot of time, I pushed through it and the bones started impinging on each other and swell and hurt a lot. I had 6 months with no flip or Lutz jumps because of pain The problem was finally diagnosed as bone impingement and he started treatment. Back on track, Jeremy is looking to improve his technical consistency with the inclusion of 2 triple Axels in his free program. He defines his skating style as “passionate and artistic” and looked to David Wilson and Jeffrey Buttle for the creation of his short program to music from “The Single Man” soundtrack, one of his all-time favourites. For the free program, he says with a laugh that it is to the same music from the Queen Symphony and he calls it his Queen v2.0 which was re-worked by David Wilson.
Jeremy’s coaching team includes long-time coach Joanne McLeod as well as Neil Wilson and then there’s Megan Wing, whose “crazy stroking lessons make 15 minutes feel like 45” but who has helped him increase his overall speed.

Jeremy’s biggest competitive obstacle has been: “myself and I think right now I am still struggling with the confidence factor and putting program out when it counts. I am just going to focus on making myself better which should be the first step in catching the top skaters.”

In adition to skating, Jeremy is enrolled in 2 - 3 courses at a time at Simon Fraser University and did get a chance for some well deserved R&R over the summer. He and best friend and fellow skater Kathryn Kang took off for Whistler and got a jump start on their tans.  He also works at Armani Xchange where the best thins is the people he meets AND the discount!

Back to his number one focus, Jeremy says: “ Skating brings the gift of expression and the ability to connect with people without saying anything.” He loves “to bring someone from the outside on your journey on the ice.” This season, Jeremy’s journey starts next week at the NHK Trophy.

 

***Taking The Ice by Pj Kwong is flying off the shelves - www.takingtheice.com  ***


 


 
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