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Posted By SkatingPj

Tomas Verner at Mariposa Gala August 2011
I ventured north of the city one morning last week to get in a quick chat with Tomas Verner. I was wondering whether or not he would be fit to compete in his two Grand Prix events. I knew that he had been struggling with a back injury and wanted to hear his status from the horse's mouth. Before we go the chance to chat, I watched him practice.  i saw him do several quad toes as well as triple axels. They weren't all pretty but I can tell you given the severity of the injury I was impressed.

This from coach Bob Emerson: "He moved a disc out of place about 12 weeks ago and has not been able to really train. I don't care who you are, it takes a minimum of 8 - 10 weeks to heal. We are on a fine line. I don't want to push it. It can go either way on either side of the fence. Not skating in NHK or Russia would not be a good idea."

Tomas says that he spent 2 weeks in California in the summer with Rafael Aratunian where his goal was to work on jumps. He had been experiencing some back pain before going and on the advice of his Dad tried stretching and physio. He thought it was muscular and he could work through it. Truthfully, he didn't help himself by jumping like a man posessed his first week in California and by the time the second week rolled around he had to miss sessions. He even found that over the course of 3 days, he coouldnt reach his feet to put on his own socks.

Once home, he gave in to the fact that this was serious and sought help.  It was one step forward and two steps back for the first few weeks when the disc problem flared up agai. he had decided that if it happened again he would have to give up. Fortunately, he found acupuncturist Susan McRae whose strategy is to motivate the body to fix itself and it seems to be working. Overall, Tomas is pleased that he was able to stay n the ice working on edges and "everything else" with Lori Nichol. He is back jumping and spinning with the exception of his sit spin which he will only try at NHK.

On another note, Tomas showed Lori and me a picture of him as a model for a Calendar called Passion, avaiable in the Czech Republic. He was delighted to be asked to be part of this initiative which supports AIDS and HIV awareness and education.

Here is more from Tomas Verner:


@@Pj's got LOTS more videos on YouTube - PjKwongWordBroker @@

Posted By SkatingPj

Denis Ten KAZ

Walking in the Richmond Training Centre last week, I was greeted with the sight of two people on the ice working in tandem. As choreographer Lori Nichol demonstrated the look she was going for, student Denis Ten matched her step for step. I was stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of Denis; his style of movement comes from the heart and is compelling to watch.

I asked Lori and Denis separately if they thought that 'movers' were born or if they could be taught. Lori said definitively: "It can be taught. There are more than a few out there whose skating draws you in - and I can assure you there are more that are taught than are natural."

Denis answered it this way: "There are natural movers and there are skaters who get taught. I think that in order to win you need to be a combinaton of both."

Hmmm...interesting. I don't know about you - but I think I can tell the difference. Denis is one of those natural movers that I first saw on a teensy tiny TV monitor while calling the 4 Continents Championships a couple of years ago. At the time, his material was not what it is today but I could still feel his passion infusing the program rather then being superimposed on top of his skating.

Regardless of results, I still think he is wonderful to watch:

On our way out of the coaches' room - Lori said - "make sure you get him to smile - he has a great smile". As usual, when it comes to skaters and skating - she's right :)


 Fun to watch the evolution of a terrific skater and wonderful young man :) The still pic by the way was taken at the Thornhill competition in the summer...looks like he has grown again??


Don't forget Pj is on YouTube: PjKwongWordbroker and Twitter @skatingpj




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