You are currently viewing archive for October 2011
Posted By SkatingPj

I have to say that this was the first time I has the chance to talk to Amelie Lacoste in any sort of detailed way and found her to be the soul of patience!  The fact that she was willing on 3 separate occasions to come back and answer questions via Skype because of my inability to make the recording function work...makes her #1  books!

As for skating - she has been working really hard in anticipation of her start in the Grand Prix series this weekend as one of 3 Canadian women competing.

"Last year was a big year for me. I did 2 Grand Prixs I was on the podium last year at Skate Canada and going to Worlds was one of the biggest goals I had for last year.  I worked so hard and I did a great job at Worlds."

The trick of course is to try and figure out what to do differently in this season and Amelie talks ab out stepping out of her comfort zone to create programs in styles she hasn't used before.  For the short program, she is skating to Satin Doll with choreography provided by Shae-Lynn Bourne and is excited by the dance-y style."The short program isa new style for me. At first I wasn’t sure. It was difficult but after working with Shae-Lynn I got comfortable and got used to the music. She makes you comfortable on the ice to put your best on the ice even though for me it is very different music: sexy and charming."

In her free program, working with the character of Eva Perron and the music from 'Don't cry for me Argentina' with choreography from Julie Marcotte, it proved to be more of a challenge: "This is a 'character program'.In my long program, some parts are very powerful and some parts are smooth. It's almost like giving my heart and telling a story with this program.In the middle is sensitive and reaching judges and showing  what I feel inside. I am not used to it and I am kind of shy but Julie made me comfortable and now I am excited to perform it."

She will be competing at Skate Canada and Cup of Russia for the Grand Prixs and would like to make top4 in each event and maybe even make it to the Grand Prix Final: 

I would love to do the Final although I am very aware that all the GP are very difficult. But it is still my goal…why not?" Why not indeed as she is planning a 3lo/3lo in the short and 5 triples in the free.

I was interested to know what she does to boost herself if things don't go according to plan at a competiton. "I always try to find the positive thing in my bad skate and then re-build using those positive things. When I go back to training I put the negative aside and realize that the negative doesn't have to affect us. We can be strong." The other source of her strength, she is quick to point out is her family. Her parents Cecile and Andre Lacoste and her sister Stephanie "they gave me everything and they always stand beside me whether it's good or bad."

Skating is "my passion" says Amelie. "When I am skating, I feel freedom, like I am giving my everything." She has been dreaming about being a skater since she was a little girl. "I have always had big goals and big dreams and wanted to be the best skater I could be. I think I have achieved those goals."

A little more from Amelie Lacoste - before hitting the ice this weekend in Mississauga.

Don't forget - this and many more videos on Pj's YouTube Channel:


@@On YouTube PjKwongWordbroker on Twitter @skatingpj @@


Posted By SkatingPj

With the start of the 2nd ISU Grand Prix event in Mississauga, Ontario less than a week away, I thought it would be fun to catch up with 2011 Junior World Men's champion Andrei Rogozine who is slated for his senior GP debut at Skate Canada.

The first thing I noticed was Andrei's energy and openness and quick smile when we sat down to chat after a practice session at his suburban Toronto home training base, the Richmond Training Centrre.

His start in skating came after seeing Olympic Champion Alexei Yagudin on television where he was intrigued by the champion's huge jumps, his power and his interesting and creative programs. Andrei found his way to the rink where he has been coached by one of his two coaches, Inga Zusev from the very beginning. Andrei says that he has skated at lots of different clubs along the way and has also picked up Alexei Berezintsev as an additional coach.This season's choreographers are Shae-Lynn Bourne, who created his 'modern classical' short program and Carol Lane and Juris Razgulaevs who choreographed his free program to Spanish music. Andrei's self perpective is: "I am sometimes lazy but I work really hard." He describes the gift that skating  has offered him: "It helps me become motivated and determined to achieve a certain task. I take this really seriously." He is a young man very focused on skating but it isn't all serious: "Fun for me is jumping and I also like competing. I love the fact that I am getting to travel the world." This is no doubt one of the advantages of being a good competitive skater. Andrei is excited to not only be competing at Skate Canada this season but he will also be competing at the Rostelecom Cup of Russia.  This event will have particular significance for the 18 yr old as it will be the first time he will go back to Russia, where he was born, since leaving the country as a five year old.  His goals for the season are to finish in the top 5 at both Grand Prix events and to be one of the two Canadian men heading to Senior Worlds in Nice, France in March 2012.

As part of his training, he heads to the gym and additionally does some running. He has also been known to do back to back run throughs of his programs where sometimes the focus is not so much the jumps but rather the training.

Keeping on top of his game is essential obviously in preparation for competition: "It's certainly nerve wracking to compete, but it's what I am trained to do. I am always nervous before my first jump but then I concentrate on skating the best that I can."

Closer to home, Andrei is focusing on finishing his last semester of high school online and says that he is a biology/science guy as far as his favourite subjects are concerned. He is very much like any other Canadian kid who enjoys video games and goofing around with his golden retriever Axel. With great pride, he fills me in on the move to Newmarket from Richmond Hill that he and his Mom are making to a new house whose downpayment was partly made with  prize money Andrei earned from competing..

As for the future, Andrei makes no predictions but would love to be at the olympics in Sochi in 2014 and in Korea in 2018, where he won his junior world title.

Andrei says he is concentrating on "now" and as far as being in the senior ranks,

"now" is almost here.


@@@@Pj's Book TAKING THE ICE is taking the Skating World by storm@@@@

Posted By SkatingPj

Elvis Stojko and Pj's Book
As a writer, it is a blessing when you come across people who know how to give good talk. The 3 time World champion and 2 time Olympic silver medallist Elvis Stojko is one of those people. Like him or hate him, the man is an original, doesn't ever drive me crazy by giving me the what I call the "I'm giving it 100%" answer, nor does he back away from any questions. 

For this catch-up, I went to Richmond Hill where he and wife Gladys Orozko-Stojko were on the ice. They had been in Toronto for a good portion of the summer teaching and Elvis was also keeping in shape for the many shows he still does.

"The body always follows the mind"

Elvis' way of thinking about things is to competely eradicate the negative from his mind."As a competitor one of the biggest mistakes people make is to worry about what other people think and it can be a huge distraction. The truth is many people who are negative don't have the guts themselves to do something."

I like the way that when he talks about young skaters it is in a protective way - wanting to help them benefit from the lessons that he has learned. "The strategy for skaters has to be to consistently keep skating. You can't stop. You have to continuously make the muscles go through what they have to go through in order to be able to make things happen."  As a coach and a man who still performs as well as offering seminars, he has this to say: "Consistency in performance is what would contribute to the sucess of more skaters." He counsels: "Stop worrying about the outcome of the event and what is expected of you and focus more on what your own goals are."

Elvis' shares his point of view regarding the sport this way: "Every aspect of this sport is subjective. the thing is when you do well, you are liked and I don't think searching for approval from the outside is the way. The key factor is to not fall into the trap and to follo your own path." good advice from a man who is well known for marching to the beat of his own drum.

In Elvis' time as an amateur skater, there were lots of 'characters' and we talked about the fact that under the current system which he feels is controlled at every level giving the appearance that many of the skaters are looking the same. "I think that too much structure isn't a good thing and there has to be room for the skaters to have freedom of expression."

We both agree that skating is like everything else and has peaks and valleys as it contunes to evole. For his part, Elvis is still very much involved and skating 'his way' to excited crowds in packed arenas as his schedule confirms:

October 29 7pm Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular at iWireless Centre Moline, Il air date: NBC january 2012; November 18 7pm
Kaleidoscope at Bojangles Coliseum Charlotte, NC air date: Fox November 24 4:30pm eastern follow NFL game cancer awareness - tribute to cancer survivors;
December 18 Bathurst, NB; December 19 St John, NB; January 1st 2pm Symphony on Ice Mclintyre Arena Timmins, ON -100th anniversary celebration; February 15
Rock the Ice III Peterborough, ON

According to Elvis, success is a process with the mental preparation aspects playing a key role. It would appear as if some things haven't changed.


@@@Lots More great videos on Pj's YouTube channel: PjKwongWordbroker@@@

Posted By SkatingPj

I finally got the chance to sit down for a chat with former Italian Ice Dance champion and current coach and choreographer Pasquale Camerlengo. Truth be told, I saw him first while he was still a skater in the early 1990s and am delighted for his well-deserved success. He got as high as 6th in the world and placed 5th at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France skating with partner Stefania Calegari - so he knows a thing or two about competing at the elite level.

He first started creating a buzz with interesting and original choreography as part of his own programs. When he made the decision to retire after Worlds in Prague in 1993, almost immediately  the late Carlo Fassi contacted him to ask him his plans. Pasquale wasn't sure what  he would be doing exactly but had already thought about coaching. With a gentle nudge from Fassi asking him how much he would charge for choreography, he was put to work the very next day. Pasquale is a thoughtful man; intent on finding the perfect work to express his ideas. I get the feeling that he is the same on the ice; the steps carefully chosen to express the program idea, concept or theme. "The difference between being a skater and a choreographer is: as a skater, everything is done for you. As a coach/choreographer, everything is done for others. You can't be selfish and be a choreographer."

It is because of Carlo and his wife Christa's encouragement that Pasquale thought about the move to the United States. "They always mentioned the US and how great the possibilities would be there because there are many more rinks and many more skaters". He now makes his coaching base in the Detroit area along side wife and coaching partner, two-time World ice dance champion Anjelika Krylova. "I am here because of Anjelika. She built her life here and already had everything: a house, rink, life. Did you know that she is the only one to win world medals in ice dance with 2 different partners?" he says with pride.

It didn't take long for Pasquale's work to catch on as he started with Stanick Jeanette and Georghe Chipeur but in my opinion it was his work with Daisuke Takahashi that really put him on the map. "I got an email from Daisuke's agent 4 years ago asking me if I could do some choreography for him. Anjelika saw the email first - I couldn't believe it when she told me." Focused on his work he says: "I can say that everything really started from there. It was then that I got the commitments from a lot of big skaters."

With the amount of choreography that he is doing, he also finds the time to put coaching front and center and is responsible for Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje and France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat among others. "I have learned as a coach to keep the balance on everything and it's a very hard thing. The relationship between a coach and skaters is to keep the balance in work, motivation and to create chemistry."

His advice for skaters? "Listen to your heart. We know what is right and often cannot explain why."

For Pasquale, skating is "about expressing." When asked how he would describe himself, he says: "I am Pasquale. I am myself."

A simple statement about a complex, confident and visionary man. I am sure there is lots more to write in this book. Stay tuned :)


 @@@ Pj has more great videos on YouTube: PjKwongWordBroker @@@

Posted By SkatingPj

Hi everyone - this story is too beautiful to not share...Sarah just turned 9 yrs old 2 weeks ago and is one of my skaters and she has been busy over the last month with her 4th annual Food Drive to benefit the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank - I originally told her story on my blog - check closer to the bottom of the page or check out her web page: ...I just received the following email from Mom Lynda...(Did I mention that Sarah just turned 9?????) 

"Okay...sit down...
Do not read this while driving or operating heavy equipment.
Sarah's 4th Annual Food Drive results
Sarah's goal was to raise 1 tonne of food.
Here are the totals:
508 pounds ( from our street, friends, family and from North Toronto Skating Club)
1870 from Sarah's School
2286 from Tremblett's Valu Mart ( including 25 turkey dinners)
4664 pounds of food
In addition, she raised just under 2K in cash, which the Daily Bread Food Bank counts every dollar as a pound of food.
All in, cash and food donations:
drum roll please.....
3 tonnes of food.
Can you believe it???
We can't. We are all in shock.
Not too sure if you heard her, but Gail Nyberg was on CBC Radio today and was talking about Sarah. She was talking about the great work that Sarah has done. It was awesome!"

Great work indeed!!  Way to go Sarah -  If this is what you are doing at 9 - I can't wait to see what you will be doing 10 years from now!!

What a great way to end my Thanksgiving ...Thanks to the fans and families who helped support this cause...and thanks to Sarah for letting me part of this!

Sarah - the newest and maybe best example of what a Skating Warrior Princess can do (she just got named to this very select group)...would like to challenge everyone else to do their best this week!!

The Power of One. :)

Pj :)



User Profile

Recent Entries

You have 1753303 hits.

Latest Comments