Congratulations to the following athletes crowned Senior Australian Champions:
Pairs - Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor
Ice Dance - Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds
Ladies - Kailani Craine
Men - Brendan Kerry
The Australian Figure Skating Championships took place during November 30-December 7 at Macquarie Ice Rink in Sydney.
Congratulations to the following athletes crowned Senior Australian Champions:
Pairs - Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor
Ice Dance - Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds
Ladies - Kailani Craine
Men - Brendan Kerry
After a long season, Australia’s Olympic figure skaters have one more major event on their calendars this week before they can rest easy.
Kailani Craine, Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Brendan Kerry have arrived in Milan, Italy for the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships this week.
With many PyeonChang medallists either retiring, injured or electing to miss the final event, the chance to move up the rankings is a prime target for the Aussies.
First to compete on Tuesday in the women’s short program is Kailani Craine who is still on a high from her 17th place in PyeongChang.
“This whole experience has been everything I hoped for and more,” she said in PyeongChang. “I just wanted two clean skates and I did that.”
Pair skaters Katia Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor, who placed 16th at last year’s World Championships, were disappointed not to have made the free program in PyeongChang after a strong short program placing 18th.
“We’re doing normal comp prep, running programs and doing simulations,” Windsor said from Moscow where they have been training for the past ten days.
“The ice is good and we are skating two hours a day. I’m coping with it (away from home) better than I used to but not coping with the cold. Everything else is OK.”
“We definitely want a PB and to get through the short clean,” he said.
Technically the pair have the arsenal to move them upward and have been working on the performance side.
“I’ll have to find more feeling within myself to a certain extent. Part of it is enjoying the program and sport and not doing it just for the sake of it – otherwise you never get that extra percent.”
For Katia, the past three years since her father passed away in January 2015, has seen many changes.
“2015 was so hard for me because all year was awful after my father passed away in January. December 1st was Dad’s birthday and then on December 2nd Nina told me about Harley and that was the day we started skating together.”
“Then it was Australia by January. It’s so different (to Russia). Like night and day.”
“Of course I never thought about Olympics. I didn’t think I’d go because it was such a short time since we started.”
The rise of Australia’s first pair team to win a Junior World Championships, place 16th at Worlds last year, a Senior Challenger event and be crowned as Junior Grand Prix champions last December and qualify for PyeongChang is only just sinking in.
“The pressure (in PyeongChang) wasn’t more than I expected. We skated well but the scores were not so good. We did a lot of work and it was a big experience for us.”
“Olympics is in my heart. I take all of the emotions from PyeongChang and they will be forever in my heart.”
“The Opening was so exciting. So cool and amazing. When you are watching on TV it’s different. It’s not like this when you go by yourself,” she said.
My mum and family were watching and I was so long time on the TV!”
Katia’s mother, also named Ekaterina did not travel to PyeongChang to watch her daughter but may consider Beijing. Although Katia is not so sure.
“Mum can’t watch because she really worries when we do elements. She watches the video after.”
After a few weeks back in Sydney, the duo headed back to Moscow for more training with coaches Andrei Pachin and Andrei Hekalo.
“The throws are good in Moscow,” Alexandrovskaya said. “In training today we did a clean full long program.so, I’m very happy.”
“It’s been a long season. I am waiting for this rest. I will go back to Moscow from Milan and have a big rest. Mentally and physically I am really tired because this season started in September. There’s a holiday with mum to look forward to.”
Brendan Kerry has an opportunity to march up the world rankings with two of the three Olympic medallists (Hanyu and Fernandez) out of the world championships.
Kerry’s PyeongChang Olympics with a stellar short program and final 20th place delivered the redemption he was seeking from Sochi and admits to feeling more confident with his skating now.
“Since coming back from the Olympics I’ve felt very stress free on the ice,” Kerry said.
“Usually I wake up and know how many days until I leave for the next comp. Headed into worlds I just wake up and am like OK, time to get ready and head to the rink.”
“I’m pretty exhausted mentally as the past four years have been for one moment and now - it’s passed,” Kerry said.
“So - it’s a really strange feeling heading into this worlds. I feel confident about how I’m going to skate though - that’s exciting. However, I am definitely ready to have some downtime at the end of this season before the next four year run.”
The 2018 World Figure Skating Championships in Milan begin this Wednesday with the women’s short program followed by the pairs short.
SBS Australia are live streaming the entire event. Check your local guides for more information.
Results and more information can be found here
Kailani Craine has finished her first Olympic campaign with another strong skate and a new season’s best in the Free program.
The 19-year-old waved at family members as she stepped on the ice, looking relaxed and at home on the world’s biggest stage.
“My legs were shaking a bit as I waited to get on, but once I was out there it all felt really natural – I was just so excited to be out there again,” Craine said.
“I wanted to really enjoy this whole experience and I did that.”
Craine opened with a triple lutz – double toe loop combination, before successfully executing all twelve of her elements.
“This whole experience has been everything I hoped for and more,” she saidsaid. “I just wanted two clean skates and I did that.
“This whole event has been a dream come true and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m just so happy and proud.”
Skating to a mix from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, Craine sparkled in a new outfit.
“I got my dressmaker to make me a new outfit for this routine and I couldn’t have felt better out there, I felt so good.
“And to have my family here and my teammates, it has honestly been such a wonderful experience.”
Craine ended her Olympic debut ranked 17th overall. Alina Zagitova - who is only 15 years-old - and Evagenia Medvedeva, two Olympic Athletes from Russia, won gold and silver, and Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond won bronze.
Craine’s score of 111.84 was a new season's best, taking her total combined score from the two programs to 168.61, and will give the young skater confidence as she looks ahead to the future.
“I hope to be back in four years time and I’m going to work so hard to be even better next time,” she said.
“I’ve learnt so much from watching the top girls here and made so many friends.
“I'm so inspired I just can’t wait to see what the future brings.”
Olympic debutant Kailani Craine has sailed through to the free skate of the Ladies Figure Skating, after a stunning short program which included a strong double axel and triple-double jump combination.
The 19-year-old impressed with her trademark artistic skills, performing to ‘dream a little dream of me.’
“That was great, that really was a dream,” Craine said immediately after her performance.
“My main goal was just to have a clean skate and get through to the free skate and I’ve done that so I can’t ask for much more.
“I’ve been feeling good the last few days and it’s felt like everything just went right for me, so I’m glad I was able to go out and do that.”
The Newcastle native was supported in the crowd by her parents, and skating teammates.
“The fans were amazing and I loved looking up and seeing the Aussie colours in the stands,” she said.
“Having mum and dad here was amazing. I really felt like they were out there skating with me.
“They’ve been on this journey with me from the very start and this is very much their Olympics as much as mine.”
Carine’s score of 56.77 saw her qualify straight through to Friday’s Free Skate.
There's no doubt Australian figure skater Brendan Kerry has earned his place at the height of his sport, taking on the men's free skating event with a jam-packed program, that included two triple axels.
Overcoming a slight hesitation on his opening jump Kerry cemented his place in the top tier of international figure skaters, finishing 20th with a total score of 233.81.
"I wanted to make the most of this skate," Kerry said. "I wanted to go for everything."
"I was over-thinking as I went into my first jump, but I got it together.
"I wanted to go for my quads though because I know I can do them."
Skating to a mix of 'Shine on you crazy diamond' and 'Money,' the 23-year-old pushed through some early nerves to prove he can now mix it with the best in the competition.
"My whole feeling at these Olympics has been pretty relaxed, pretty chilled," he said.
"It feels like I've at least made up for that bad skate at Sochi. So that feels pretty sweet."
Kerry, who finished his short program in 16th place, with a technical score that had him at 13th, said he now plans on working on his performance and musicality.
"It feels amazing knowing that my technical score has improved so much," he said.
"If I can get my program component score up a bit more I think my overall score will keep improving."
The Sydney-born skater earned a score of 150.75 for his free skate, equalling his season best.
Kerry will now focus on the World Championships next month, before planning out his next four-year campaign, with his sights firmly set on making his 3rd Olympic Games in 2022.
He was here to prove a point, and Australian figure skater Brendan Kerry has well and truly done that.
A strong short program which included a powerful opening quad toe loop jump has seen the 23-year-old skater move straight through to the free skate event tomorrow, finishing in 16th place with the eighth highest Technical Score.
“It feels great, it feels freaking awesome, I’m not going to lie,” a beaming Kerry said. “I needed that skate.”
Skating to Everyone Wants to Rule the World, Kerry showed he was no longer the anxious Olympic debutant of four years ago, and instead, has well and truly etched his name into the top tier of international men’s skating.
“I was nervous, of course, but I knew I just needed to stay relaxed and do what I’d been doing in my practices.”
“I’m a much stronger skater than I was at Sochi and this time it felt like I actually deserved to be here, so I came in with a very different mindset.”
It’s been a long road to redemption for the former Sydney skater, who now trains in New Jersey with Russian coach Nikolai Morozov.
“After my first Olympics I knew I had to make some big changes,” he continued.
“I looked at what the elite skaters were doing and I decided I wanted to really go for it.”
Kerry needed a place in the top 24 to move through to tomorrow’s event, and his score of 83.06 – a new season best saw him guaranteed a place in that top group.
Australian pairs skaters Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya have made history, after performing their short program at the Gangneung Ice Arena on February 14.
With a strong skate that included a huge opening triple twist, Windsor has become the first Indigenous Australian to compete at the Winter Olympics.
“I was starting to feel a bit nervous last night,” a beaming Windsor said. “But I’m really happy with that. Yeah, that was amazing.”
The team skated second, posting a score of 61.55 – just below their seasons best.
“We feel good, happy,” Alexandrovskaya said.
They needed to finish in the top sixteen in their field to move through to tomorrow’s free skate, and while they completed a clean program, they finished in 18th place, just out of free skate contention.
“I don’t know how I’m meant to feel at the moment,” Windsor said. “I’m so happy to have skated at my first Olympics but I wanted to make it to the free skate.”
The 21-year-old was supported by his mother Josie in the stands, while his father and skating friends watched from back home.
“It felt good to have the support,” Windsor said. “It’s pretty special knowing so many people were cheering me on.”
And it wasn’t just the Aussies who were backing the historic skater – with Windsor getting swamped with international media requests as soon as he left the ice.
“The attention has been amazing and I just hope I’ll be a bit of a role model now,” he said. “Hopefully more Indigenous kids get into winter sports.”
The duo will enjoy supporting the rest of the Australian Team at the Games, before heading to Moscow to prepare for the World Championships.
She may have waited all her life for this moment, but Aussie figure skater Kailani Craine admits it’s taken her a while to settle in to the Olympic Village.
“It didn’t actually sink in for a few days,” Craine said.
“I felt so excited when I arrived, but then it was all a bit hard to believe. I ran around meeting lots of people and trying to see everything, but it still didn’t really feel like it was all real.
“My first practices were a bit shaky too, and my skating wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. I just felt a bit strange.”
But the 19-year-old said the privilege of marching in the Opening Ceremony, helped to ground her to reality.
“I was sitting in the bus with my teammates on the way to the mountain, and I looked at them and saw they were all dressed in the same uniform and it suddenly hit me.
“I let out a little yell of excitement. I was like ‘I’m actually here.’”
“Walking in to the stadium for the Opening Ceremony was everything I hoped for and more. I can’t actually describe how amazing it was.”
Since then, Craine says she’s settled down, and is getting into a good rhythm.
“It was like I needed the Opening Ceremony to wake me up a bit,” she said. “Now I realise I’m actually at the Olympics and this is the only thing I’ve wanted my whole life and I’m going to make the most of every single day.”
The Newcastle skater has also been helped by the arrival of her coach, Los Angeles based Tiffany Chin, who flew in last night.
“I’m so happy to have Tiffany with me now, and just having her on the barriers to remind me of little things to help my technique. Everything is feeling a lot better.”
She’ll also be joined by her parents and her grandparents in a few days, something she says will aid her motivation to perform.
“I really feel like it’s all of us out there competing, not just me. My family has sacrificed so much for me to do this and they’ve been on this journey every step of the way, so it won’t be just me out there on the ice, it will be all of us.”
Craine will skate her short program on Day 12 (February 21), and her free skate on Day 14 (February 23).
ith just two days to go until Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya make history in the pairs figure skating, here’s what you need to know about the event, so that you can cheer loud and proud for our Aussies.
Pairs teams perform similar elements to single skating – such as jumps, spins and footwork – but they have to be done in unison. They also throw in some crazy acrobatic tricks, just for good measure.
Some of the moves that are unique to pairs skating include twists, throw jumps and twist lifts, and yes, there is a move called ‘The Death Spiral.’
The Death Spiral is one of the easiest elements to spot in the routine; it involves the male partner holding the hand of the female partner while she is fully extended away from him, pivoting around in an almost horizontal position, with her head scarily close to the ice. Thankfully no one has died doing a death spiral, as far as we know.
Just like in singles skating, pairs skaters perform two programs – a short program and a free skate.
The short program lasts a maximum of 2 minutes and 50 seconds, and has 7 required elements.
The free skate can last between 4:20 and 4:40 and is physically much more demanding, with a maximum of 12 elements.
For each performance, teams are giving a Technical Elements Score – which is basically a mark that reflects how difficult their elements were and how correctly they were performed – and a Program Components Score.
The Program Components Score consists of skating skills, transitions, performance, choreography and interpretation.
Both scores are combined to get a final mark.
Now to some expert commentary from our Aussie team:
“You have to be strong," said Harley Windsor.
Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian admits he wasn’t quite ready for the transition from singles skating to pairs skating when he first trained with Katia:
“I just didn’t have the muscles for it. I didn’t know how much stronger you need to be to lift a partner above your head, and to hold some of the positions. I really had to work on my fitness.”
“We are just friends” – Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya
While it’s true plenty of Olympic Ice Skating Pairs are couples in real life – take the USA team this year as an example – just as many are not. And Katia would like everyone to know that she and Harley are definitely NOT an item. “We are friends. We sometimes can fight on the ice. But we leave it on the ice.”
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya skate their short program on Day 5 (February 14).
When Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Aleksandrovskaya take to the ice it’s them against the world.“It’s just us, we only think of us,” Windsor said. “We block everything else out.”
Their extraordinary journey – from complete strangers who lived on the opposite sides of the world, to Winter Olympians in just two years – is one that has seen the international skating fraternity sit up and take notice.
“It’s taken a while to get used to all the attention,” Windsor said. “I’m still learning how to speak to the media, how to tell my story without letting my inner bogan come out too much.”
Thankfully there was no sign of that ‘inner bogan’ when the team took to the ice for their first Olympic practice session today - a light session that saw their remarkable unison on display once more.
“It was pretty good today,” Alexandrovskaya said. “We did what we wanted. It was good.”
And, it’s been good since the start of the couple’s unlikely pairing in Moscow, at a trial session set up by Windsor’s coaches.
“I was ready to quit when I suddenly got a call saying there were some partners available in Russia,” Windsor said. “Within a week I had my Visa and flew over there. I had no idea what to expect but I wanted to give my skating career one more chance.”
“I was meant to try out with three different girls, but I trialled with Katia first and I knew I didn’t need to try with any others,” Windsor said. “We just clicked straight away.”
But their staggering rise through the ranks – which saw them claim the Junior World Championship Title in Taipai last year – hasn’t been without a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears.
“At first I found the move to pairs skating really hard,” Windsor said. “I was a singles skater before, and I really didn’t have the muscle strength for it.”
“For the first three months I’d finish training and just be completely exhausted. There was one day I tried to drive myself home and I was so tired I couldn’t even lift my arms to hold the steering wheel.”
“And I’ve never trained so hard before. Some days we do seventeen run throughs of things. Katia likes working hard, she’s used to training really intensely. It’s been a lot of work.”
But there’s no doubt the work has paid off, with the pair ready to make their Olympic debut, and Windsor set to etch his name into the history books – as the first Indigenous Winter Olympian.
“I really want to be a role model,” the 21-year-old said. “My Aboriginal heritage is part of who I am and I’m really proud of that. It will always be a part of me.”
And, while the young team are keeping their goal – a top 12 finish – realistic for this Games, Windsor says there’s no limit to how far this unlikely pairing might go.
“I think we will definitely have another one or two Olympics in us, and we will be aiming for a Grand Prix medal and maybe even an Olympic medal one day. This is just the start for us.”
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya compete their short program on Day 5 (February 14).
Watching Brendan Kerry take to the ice at PyeongChang, it’s obvious that the Sochi Olympian has changed.
“I feel in control this time around,” the 23-year-old said after an impressive training session.
“I’m just more comfortable.”
Kerry’s Olympic debut ended in heartache, with the then 19-year-old admitting he was overawed by the scale of the event, the media attention, and the crowds.
“I just wasn’t ready for it all,” Kerry said. “It was like I just couldn’t process it properly.”
But it’s a very different Kerry who’s skated in to Korea and he’s ready for his chance at redemption.
“There’s not that initial spark of excitement like the first Olympics, but I prefer it this way. I know what I can enjoy and what I need to wait for until after the event,” he said.
“Last time I spent my first few days running around, checking out all the venues, trying to meet everyone and get to all the events. This time I realise there’s no rush – I can do all that after my competition.”
The new and improved figure skater has also proved he isn’t scared of big decisions, changing coaches to Russian Nikolai Morozov just four months ago.
“I’ve made some big changes, but I had to,” Kerry said.
“I feel good about everything I’ve done. I’m in a good head space.
“My training has completely changed and I’ve learnt how much dedication it takes in all areas of life to be an elite athlete. When I went to the first Olympics I was like, ‘I go to the rink, I warm up, I skate, maybe I cool down and then I leave’. Now I know how important off-ice fitness is, I watch my diet, and I don’t go out all the time. I’m much more committed this time.”
He’s also committed to some of his favourite mottos, such as “pain is only temporary”, with the 23-year-old sporting numerous fresh tattoos.
“Since Sochi I’ve got, I think, maybe twelve tattoos,” Kerry laughed.
“I just used them as a way to remind myself of what’s important to me, and to keep me motivated to keep going.
“My favourite is the one on my forearm, it’s got four lines and the initials of all my sisters. My family is important, I always remember where I come from.”
And there’ll be plenty of family support in the stands – his mother, Monica MacDonald, who was her son’s former coach and a Winter Olympian is already here and his father will fly over in a few days.
“It’s great knowing they’re here and I have that piece of home with me,” Kerry said.
“Mum is the reason I started skating and dad has always been a big part of my life, so it means a lot that they’ll be here.”
While Kerry pushed hard to include three quad jumps in recent competitions, he plans on scaling it back for these Games, focusing instead on having two clean skates.
“I know I’m more than capable of doing the three quads but I know the best thing for myself will be to take that bit of stress off and just skate a really strong free program,” he said.
“I know what I’m focused on – I’m here to do a job.”
Kerry will skate his short program on Day 7 (February 16), and his free program on Day 8 (February 17).
FIGURE SKATING: Many consider it the most glamourous sport of the Winter Olympics program, and Australia’s figure skating hopeful Kailani Craine is more than ready to take centre stage.
“I am so excited to be here, I really can’t put into words what this means to me,” Craine said.
“This is the one thing I’ve wanted all my life and now I’m here.”
It’s been something of a fairytale rise through the ranks for the Newcastle teen. Craine started skating when she was eight, and quickly realised her potential.
“I just fell in love with the sport straight away, and that made all the hard work so much easier. I just really love what I do.”
But the four-time Australian Ladies Figure Skating Champion admits her hardest task lies ahead – her goal is to rank in the top 24 of the short program, to qualify for the free skate.
“I really, really want to be there for the free skate, I’m just so excited about that routine,” Craine said.
“I’m feeling good. I’m even getting my dressmaker to design a new costume for that program so I’m really hoping I get to wear it.
“I know that if I throw down a solid performance and have a clean skate it will be enough to get through. I just can’t let the little things slip.”
And speaking of slipping, the 19-year-old says she won’t let the fear of falling even enter her mind.
“I only focus on my technique, and I never doubt myself,” she said.
“I’ve waited so long for this moment, and I’m going to give it everything. I’m just so excited and I really just can’t wait to get out there.”
Her choice of music in the short program – ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ – is perhaps fitting then, as Craine waits to skate her dreams into reality.
Craine competes in the Ladies Short Program on Day 12 (February 21). The free skate will be held on Day 14 (February 23).
In his last event before PyeongChang, Sochi Olympian Brendan Kerry has finished 13th at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei, Taiwan.
Performing his free program, the 23-year-old opened with a flawless quad toe but incurred a landing deduction in his second quad.
Multiple landing errors on easier triples proved costly for Kerry who said that he was “pretty disappointed” with his performance.
“I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I’ve even done one in practice that bad to be honest,” he said.
“But I’d rather do it now and know exactly what I have to improve on before the Olympics.”
China’s Boyang Jin won gold with 300.95 points while Japan’s Shoma Uno finished second with a total of 297.94.
Meanwhile America’s Jason Brown, who finished fourth in the short program, took bronze with a score of 269.22.
Andrew Dodds, who also competed in the ice dance with partner Chantelle Kerry, finished the day in 21st place with 177.81 points and though exhausted said that he was happy with the results.
It’s a long week, no one has ever done this before at a championship event doing two disciplines so it’s a challenge,” he said.
“Yes there were things that I missed out on and I can do a lot better but even that was a season’s best so it’s just building and I’m happy that I’ve got a season’s best at every time I’ve been out this week so that’s all I can ask for.”
Australia’s Figure Skating duo Harley Windsor and Ekaterina ‘Katia’ Alexandrovskaya have finished 6th at the Four Continents Figure skating Championships in Taipei, Taiwan.
The pair were the last to skate in the Free Program on Friday after claiming a silver “small medal” earlier in the week following the Pairs Short Program.
Windsor doubled the opening salchow then rallied for the triple double double combo. A lift later in the four-and-a-half-minute skate did not eventuate, interrupting the flow of the pair’s program.
“It just wasn’t our day,” Windsor said.
“We’re going to Japan after this so we’re just going to have to put our heads down and train just like we would every other competition again. It’s in the past now so there’s nothing we can do about it.
“We just have to try and take the good away from this competition. Obviously, there were a lot of mistakes in the free but we did a good short so if there’s anything we can take away from this it’s just some of the good elements that we did do and just focus on our preparation into the next one.”
Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea, who were third in Wednesday’s short dance, won gold with a total segment score of 128.68 while their fellow Americans Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc claimed silver with a combined score of 123.85.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim claimed the country's first ISU Championship medal after taking bronze.
Following the women’s free program on Friday night, Sochi Olympian Brooklee Han finished 14th and said that while she “left a few points on the table” she was “feeling pretty good” after returning to the ice after battling an injury for most of the season.
“I had some silly mistakes, especially on the triple toe which I can do in my sleep,” Han said.
“I’ve been jumping and doing triples for about a month so, with that being said, I’m really happy with how it went.
“The triple Lutz is the last jump that I’ve added back in and that only happened a week-and-a-half ago and I can’t really train that as much as I would like based on doctor’s orders at the moment.
“I was just really focused today and wanted to put out a good solid program and I felt for the most part I did that, I was happy with how it went overall.”
Japan dominated Friday night’s podium, with Kaori Sakamoto winning gold, Mai Mihara silver and Satoko Miyahara taking bronze.
Newcastle native Kailani Craine, who will compete in her first Olympics next month, said that Friday’s free program was “definitely not my best performance” after finishing 16th but added that she was feeling positive for PyeongChang.
“I thought I would score higher but, you know, what can you do?” she said.
“I guess that they’re just making me work hard for next time and that’s ok, this competition was a competition to iron out the wrinkles in my skating.
“I really want to be perfect for the Olympic Games and if this is what it takes me to just push that extra level then that’s ok because I really want to do my best at the Olympics.”
The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continue tomorrow with the men’s free program. For results click HERE or follow OWIA on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE for live updates.
Sochi Olympian Brendan Kerry has delivered his best short program performance since last March’s World Championships with two quads and a triple axel at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei.
The 23-year-old finished 9th on Thursday and after a “horrendous” performance at Nationals and an “awful” Grand Prix, he said he was happy to “come back here before the Olympics and dust the rust off” ahead of PyeongChang.
“I feel really good for free,” he said.
“This competition I’m trying a really different approach, I’m trying not to come here and do a tonne of programs and overwork myself like I usually would at home training.
“I’m trying to relax, I got in a little bit later than everyone else, missed my first practice. I’m feeling fresh, if at this point the work isn’t done I’m kind of stuffed no matter what so I figure just keeping my legs fresh getting ready would be the way to go.”
Current leader and Olympic podium favourite Soma Uno from Japan won gold with a score of 100.49, just 0.32 points ahead of China’s Boyang Jin who claimed silver while bronze was taken by Uno’s fellow countryman Keiji Tanaka with a score of 90.68.
While there is still the final free program to be skated on Saturday, small medals are awarded after the short program at ISU Championship events.
Kerry’s fellow Australian Andrew Dodds finished 18th after competing in the Ice Dance free program with partner Chantelle Kerry earlier in the day.
Despite being “completely exhausted” the 26-year-old said that he was feeling ready for Friday’s practice before hitting the ice again in the free program.
“I’ve had a bit of a calf injury at the moment so [I just need to] take care of myself so I’m ready to go on Saturday, he said.
Mark Webster opened with a triple axel and completed his triple flip combo but had trouble with the Lutz, finishing 28th.
Earlier in the day, 2016 Ice Dance Champions Matilda Friend and William Badaoui were back on the ice for their free dance scoring 58.96 in a program that the pair feel “is a lot more suited to us”.
“We feel a lot more comfortable doing it and we feel like it shows off our strengths in skating a lot more than the short dance and I think the score kind of reflects that and shows where we can be,” Friend said.
“Considering the setback we had, if we can be at this point in our free dance now then it’s looking promising for the future.”
“We were really proud of that skate, as soon as we finished we knew that we did the most we could on the ice and we really pushed it and when we got off and we saw the scores today we were happy with them,” Badaoui added.
“It was a surreal moment for both of us sitting in that kiss and cry and seeing the scores because three months ago I was in bed with the cast on.”
Dodds and partner Chantelle Kerry felt “settled” after finished thirteenth following the free program with a score of 115.62.
“We felt easy, we felt the ice pretty well,” Dodds said.
“All the elements went well, we got a few calls for the levels on some elements that we can work on. We’ve got a competition next week so we’ll have another shot to get them.
“We were aiming to get the qualifying scores for Worlds here, we were 0.4 off it. With a few extra practices and feedback on that, we should be good to go for next week. We’re pretty happy [but] like always we’re going to be disappointed when we just miss out on something.”
The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continue until the 27th January. For results click HERE or follow OWIA on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE for live updates.
Figure Skating duo Harley Windsor and Ekaterina ‘Katia’ Alexandrovskaya have made history at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei, Taiwan after becoming the first Australians to receive an ISU Senior Championship medal.
The current Junior World Champions claimed a silver "small medal" following Wednesday’s Pairs Short Program and while they’re no strangers to making history, their focus for the time being is purely on their skating.
Whilst there is still the final free program to be skated on Friday, small medals are awarded after the short program at ISU Championship events.
“People keep saying that we’re making history for Australian figure skating, I don’t think I’ll really appreciate everything until after the season and I’ve had time to relax and let everything really sink in,” Windsor said.
“For now it’s just skating, just focusing on that rather than trying to think about all the other achievements that we’ve done.”
Despite feeling “a little bit nervous” ahead of Wednesday’s competition, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya gave a superb short program and were just 0.31 points behind American gold medallists Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc who finished with 66.76.
“You have all the nerves and stuff before comp warming up and then you go through your routine but once you step on the ice, we’ve done a clean short program a thousand times,” Windsor said.
“We weren’t tired at all during that Short Program and that’s a good indication for the Free, I remember at the beginning of our season during our Short Program half way through I was tired.”
2016 Ice Dance Champions Matilda Friend and William Badaoui were back on the ice on Wednesday just three months after Badaoui broke his fibula.
“Rehab hasn’t been easy but with Till and all the support that I have, it’s been amazing. Everyone’s helped me through it so much because it’s a pretty rough thing to go through,” Badaoui said.
Despite finishing in 14th place after their short program, Friend said that the results weren’t going to faze them.
“We felt really confident going into it,” she said.
“We were really excited to be competing again and when we finished the program we were really happy with it and how it all went.
“We didn’t get a couple of levels that we were hoping to get on some of our elements so that brought the scores down quite a bit but we always came into this comp not worrying about what we were going to get in terms of scores so we’re really happy with our attitude going into it and how it turned out.”
In their first “big international” as a dance team, fellow Aussies Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds said that they’re using each competition as a learning experience after finishing the day in 13th place.
“We are frustrated with some of the calls that we were given but that’s normal, you’ve just got to work through it. We know that we can do the stuff, we just have to get feedback and see how we can go from there,” Dodds said.
“Every competition we’ve ended with a PB scores so we’re getting there, moving up each time. That’s all we can ask for, we’re a new team.”
“We’re definitely feeling more settled each comp we go to so to come out at the biggest comp we’ve done since we started dance and to actually feel pretty settled skating together, taking our time is good,” Kerry added.
In the women’s Short Program, Brooklee Han placed 13th while Kailani Craine finished 16th.
“Today definitely wasn’t my best performance,” Craine said.
“I made a big mistake on my triple-triple combination jump and I’m really disappointed in that because I felt really confident going into that in the short program.
“Some of the calls I’ll have to go back and have a look at, I missed some levels so I’ll just have to go and have a look at that and just improve. It’s good that I’ve had this now instead of finding this out at the Olympics!
“It’s a really good practice run now and I can just improve.”
For Sochi Olympian Han, who has been battling an injury for most of the season, Wednesday’s performance was an opportunity to get back onto the ice.
“I was happy with the performance of the program, I felt like my combination was the best that I have done this season in my short program,” she said.
“It was disappointing to miss some of my events in the middle of the season and then of course to miss Australian nationals in my home state of Queensland and I really wish that I could have gone to that but I was happy to get back out there again today.”
The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continue until the 27th January. For results click HERE or follow OWIA on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE for live updates.
Australia’s figure skaters are preparing for their last opportunity to test their programs ahead of the PyeongChang Games at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei, Taiwan this week.
Among the first to be selected for the Olympic Team, wonder pair Harley Windsor and Katia Alexandrovskaya capped off 2017 winning the Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.
The current Junior World Champions, who have now won a total of five international victories and one third place podium result, said that they we’re feeling “ready for the competition”.
“Our session just now was relatively good and in the morning it wasn’t bad either,” Windsor said.
“We normally skate really well if we do a comp and then another not long after. It’s worked alright for us this season so I guess this will just be like a practice for us for PyeongChang.
“We had a big gap in between the Junior Grand Prix Final and this so we felt like this was sort of necessary to do before the Games.”
The pair, who will make their first Olympic debut in February, are unsure of how to feel about the looming Winter Games.
“We’ve never been and we don’t know how to feel because everyone’s told me that it’s not like a normal Junior or Senior World Championships … it’s the Games,” Alexandrovskaya said.
“There’s certainly a lot more hype around it but it’s our first one so I don’t really know what I’m meant to feel or how I’m meant to react to it,” Windsor added.
Fellow Aussie Kailani Craine, who wrapped up 2017 by winning her fourth consecutive national title at the Australian Figure Skating Championships in December, said Four Continents is her ideal Olympic test run.
“This competition for me is just a practice for the Olympics so hopefully I’m not really changing anything between the two competitions,” she said.
“I plan on doing my triple-triple combo in the Olympics so I really want to try and get that out there one more time, I’ve done it in the past two competitions but getting one more run at it will be good and just practicing the programs another time.
“I’m so excited, I could go tomorrow. It feels like it’s coming so slow but I’m sure it’ll come right around the corner. I’m really excited and I Want to do well at this competition so I can go back to Australia, back home, and have a few days before I leave for Korea.”
Sochi Olympian Brendan Kerry, who previously said that “being selected for the Olympic team again is a huge motivation” for championship events, will also compete in Taipei.
"4CC isn't so much a practice run for the Games as it is a testing event," he said.
"I really want to see what's ready and what needs work before the Games so I can go out and do two clean skates come PyeongChang.
"My biggest focus at this event is for the Short Program to go out with 2 quads. The Free I'm focusing a lot more on being strong the whole way through rather than trying to save myself for the ending."
The large Australian team also includes 2014 Sochi Olympian Brooklee Han in Ladies, dancers Matilda Friend and William Baddoui plus Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds. Joing Brendan Kerry in the men's are Andrew Dodds (competing dance and mens) and Mark Webster.
The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships kick off on Wednesday 24 January with the pair and women’s short programs. For results click HERE or follow OWIA on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE for live updates.
Wonder pair Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor have capped off an incredible year by winning the Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.
The current Junior World Champions, who have now won a total of five international victories and one third place podium result, always believed they could win the prestigious International Skating Union’s end of year event, which brings together the six best juniors and six best senior skaters in each discipline to determine the best of the best.
Australia has never medalled at either the Junior or Senior Grand Prix Final and this win is yet again another historic milestone for the nation in the sport of figure skating.
“Our skate was great. A little tiring for me but it was great,” Alexandrovskaya said immediately after the free program.
After a strong short program on Thursday, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya were sitting in second place behind the Russian team Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov and only 1.34 points separated the top four teams. The pressure was on for the free program.
Windsor faltered on the opening triple salchow – landing the jump then falling off the edge. Undeterred, they powered to their side-by-side triple toe combo in perfect unison and completed a quality packed program scoring a total 173.85 points sneaking ahead of Panfilova and Rylov by less than one point (173.01)
“It was a little tough, at least for me,” Windsor said. “There was one big mistake but we are happy that we pushed through it and everything else was relatively OK.”
Galina Pachin, who coaches the team with her husband Andrei, was ecstatic.
“It’s amazing. It’s like a golden rain this past two years,” Pachin said. “Harley told me that winning and gold medals are like an addiction now.”
“They are already more mature and definitely dealing with pressure better. I don’t any pair who have gone from nothing to win Junior Worlds and qualify for Olympics in just two years,” Pachin said.
On their goal for the coming Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Windsor – who will be Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian, was frank.
“We’re not there not to win a medal. We want to skate two of the best programs that we can and that our ultimate goal is to finish in the top 12. We will be extremely happy,” he said.
In a comprehensive victory, Kailani Craine has won her fourth consecutive national title surpassing her personal best score by nearly five points at the Australian Figure Skating Championships in Brisbane.
23-year-old Brendan Kerry made it a six-time win, coming from well behind in the short program with a fighting free program to retain his crown as Australia’s Men’s Champion.
Kailani had a spectacular national’s campaign with a clean short program that included a triple/triple combo and backing up with two triple lutzes in her free program to Moulin Rouge, achieving a PB total of 172.06 points.
“I love my short program,” she said.
In second place was the new junior national champion Amelia Jackson from Queensland who backed up by making the podium in senior ranks and in third was veterinary science student Katie Pasfield from NSW.
Struggling with multiple international flights and jet lag, Brendan Kerry skated a horror short program, missing every jump and ending up fifth on 57.17 points. He had his work cut out to catch short program leader Mark Webster who was on 65.03 points leading into the free program.
Fighting back to overhaul an eight-point lead, Kerry landed two triple axels and a triple/triple combo in the free program, earning 197.29 points, which was enough to secure the title ahead of Andrew Dodds on 190.80 and Mark Webster on 184.51, both of whom also skated strong free programs.
Kerry had been testing out the order of the quad jump elements at the recent Shanghai Trophy in China and at the national championships.
“I wanted to see if I felt comfortable with the quad salchow as the first element, so we tried it in Shanghai but I didn’t want to base a decision off one comp, so nationals was a safe testing ground,” Kerry said.
“I’m definitely now able to sort the order of elements to put out strong consistent skates from here on out.”
Kerry will return to his new training base in New Jersey next week.
“I’m looking at getting in some really solid training time without having to bounce around for comps. They were disappointing skates at nationals but I’m really happy I pulled up and won my sixth title. It’s important to me, especially heading into the Olympics.”
“At nationals I wanted a clean second half and when the loop didn’t happen, I was angry.”
Paris Stephens and Matthew Dodds took out the pairs championships and new dance team this year Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds were impressive in their first championship together winning the dance.
The Australian Figure Skating Championships in Brisbane this week will provide national champions Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine with an almost last opportunity to test their programs ahead of the PyeongChang Games next February.
Both skaters have returned from their US training bases for the senior national titles in Brisbane to be held Thursday 7 and Friday 8 December at Boondall Ice World.
Kailani Craine (19) will be going after her fourth consecutive title, while five-time Champion Brendan Kerry (22) will be seeking his sixth.
Craine intends to test out harder technical content in her short program.
“I'm really looking forward to the nationals this year. I always love competing in front of a home crowd, and I really hope to deliver a personal best performance,” she said.
“It's also an excellent opportunity to practice my routines before the Olympic Games with harder content, especially in my short program.”
“This year has been so exciting for me, so I hope to finish with my tenth overall national title (in all divisions). It's always a fun time catching up with my fellow team mates and I love to see how much everyone improves each year.”
Kerry is expected to have a smooth ride to his sixth title.
“It’s important to come home and do nationals because as Australia’s best I feel obligated to come back to defend my title and compete alongside the up and coming Australian skaters,” Kerry said.
“At this event I want to try and see what’s comfortable and what isn’t in regards to the order of elements headed into the Olympics. The new free program is going really well so far and transitioning from a thought process to more of a go to set of actions.”
Pair champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor will not be in Brisbane to defend their 2016 crown but competing on the same days in the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.
2016 Ice Dance Champions Matilda Friend and William Baddoui are also out of this year’s championships after William sustained a broken ankle in training a few months ago.
The Australian Figure Skating Championships will be live streamed on the Ice Skating Queensland Facebook page.
Entry to all events are free of charge at Boondall Ice World, Sandgate Road, Boondall. The Senior Men’s short program starts at 8.40pm (AEST) Thursday, 8 December and the Ladies at 9.50pm.
The final free programs on Friday, 9 December begin at 11am (AEST).
A competition schedule can be found at http://www.isa.org.au/afsc
As unlikely and unpredictable as Australia’s Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor’s Junior World Championships title seemed back in March this year, of even more significance is the continual melding the figure skating pair are bringing to their sport, lives and partnership.
In a stunning two seasons, Alexandrovskaya (17) and Windsor (21) have come from nowhere on the international figure skating scene to have now captured four gold medals and one bronze and are preparing for the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games next February.
With the Junior Grand Prix Final title within their reach this week in Nagoya, Japan the pair and coach Andrei Pachin articulated their impending move from Junior to Senior ranks, what that means and how their partnership has matured and progressed.
“This season didn’t start so good,” Andrei Pachin said of the pair’s fourth place in their first Junior Grand Prix in September. “Harley and Katia were thinking about how others were thinking about them after winning the Junior World title.”
“Just before Oberstdorf (the Olympic qualifier) they became confident.”
“Even in the last few weeks now, you can see Harley is now really confident and really professional in practise. They are confident about going for the Junior Grand Prix Final title.”
“I could see this confidence in Poland (two weeks ago). They can cope better with little mistakes. One mistake last year would destroy everything. Now they can go through the program – they are very professional.”
In the lead up to the Junior Grand Prix Final in Japan at the end of this week, Pachin said that his team were ready.
“There have been four clean shorts and one clean free program.”
The husband and wife coaching duo of Andrei and Galina Pachin from Sydney’s north west have proven to be strong role models for their team in life as well as figure skating.
Where Andrei is dogmatic and relentless, Galina is critical of the finer points. Andrei has a global view, Galina looks after detail. The same could be said respectively for Katia and Harley.
It’s not uncommon for Andrei and Katia to have short, sharp explosions whereas Galina and Harley would be in quiet discussion to resolve a training issue.
“Andrei is good for Katia. I’m good for Harley,” Galina says.
It’s that simple.
Andrei is looking to the future.
“I feel like we have to go ahead and look ahead beyond Olympics and Worlds in 2018. The technical luggage we have not will not be enough for next year (beyond this season),” he said.
“For Olympics and Worlds it’s important to get a result to ‘book your place’ for the future.”
The pairing of the unlikely couple is realising a career-long passion for their coaches.
“We weren’t sure it would happen like this. But step by step, it has happened. Now I can see with conditions we have now and the quality we have now we can fight.”
Alexandrovskaya’s increasing confidence in English is providing an opportunity for local skaters to discover more than seeing by example. Her serious determination to be the best is unswerving. She expects success and knows how to achieve it.
Basking in past results holds no water.
“Last season was last season and that’s already gone. We were World Junior Champions but that’s already last year,” she said in August.
“Communication last year was with hands. (It’s) much better now. I can talk to people. Harley is quiet. I’m much louder. Yes, it’s much better now. I know him.”
Harley’s passion to achieve and learning how to think like a champion will also have a lasting impact at home.
“Last year every competition was a new experience. I learned how to mentally prepare myself for competitions,” Windsor said.
“This year I don’t want to come second. I kinda like the taste of gold.”
When a pair skater girl is repeatedly thrown in excess of ten metres across the ice, the boy is asked to lift multiple times, both land complex jumps and then required to bring emotional power to four minutes of a free program, it takes a special combination of talent and personality to succeed.
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya are normal and do have their occasional spats and then get on with what they want to achieve.
Skating to the Rolling Stone’s ‘Paint It, Black’, Alexandrovskaya explains their short program as “dark and hard music, very strong”.
“It’s more difficult mentally. More transitions, more emotions because we think not just about elements.”
The emotional repertoire required is a challenge they are both willing to achieve and keep building upon.
“Last season the programs were very basic with a focus on us getting to the elements,” Harley said.
“If you want to be a really good senior pair you can’t pick just anything (to skate to). You have to pick something that suits both of us.”
“I like that we can show how we can step up and have variety,” he said.
“As we skate more together and mature, we will show stronger emotions and connections. That’s important to us.”
Katia holds the same view.
“For the free program it’s different music, different style (to the short) from the film Mask. First part is jazz and again jazz in the early second part. Third part is rock and roll. I like more the jazz part, but I love all music.”
Training at the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) in Sydney’s Olympic Park under a program devised by OWIA’s John Marsden and Zsolt Zsombor from NSWIS has been integral during this all-important season.
“NSWIS has been huge. Especially the altitude training. If we didn’t do NSWIS we wouldn’t be as fit or strong. Week by week we would increase. The weight went up and a little more reps plus the altitude got harder and harder,” Windsor said of their preparation before the Olympic qualifier in September.
“It was smart what Zsolt did - planning it all out and increasing slowly and surely. It’s made us smarter in the way we train and how we prepare.”
Will nerves play a part at the Olympics?
“I don’t do nervous before competitions. Senior is of course mentally harder,” Katia said with a shrug. “I want clean programs and wait for the result. We need just to skate.”
Windsor believes there has been a big shift this season.
“We are both good competitors and we are both good at turning it up a notch when it matters.”
“I’m sure there are far, far better skaters than us but not everyone can compete. But the ones who can turn it on and perform when it counts are the ones who are there at the end.”
The ISU Grand Prix Final and Junior Grand Prix Final for the best six in the world in each discipline is in Nagoya, Japan from December 7 to 10.
Alexandrovskaya and Windsor will compete their short on Thursday, 7 December from 4.10pm (AEDT) and their free program on Friday 8 December from 6pm (AEDT).
A livestream of the Junior Grand Prix Final can be found at https://www.youtube.com/isujuniorgrandprix
More information and results can be found HERE
Under an unusual format for international ice sports, the invitational only Shanghai Trophy in China combined figure skating, short track and synchronised team competitions over four days culminating in an ‘All On Ice’ gala on Sunday evening.
Australia was represented in the limited-entry events in figure skating by Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine and in Short Track by Deanna Lockett.
The competition formats with only a free program for the figure skaters and varying distances for short track provided a change from the usual routine.
The best result came from Brendan Kerry who placed fourth of six competitors in the free program with 149.15 points, landing one quad jump and two triple axels scoring less than four points shy of his personal best.
“The event was fun and much less tiring as I didn’t have to perform the short program beforehand,” Kerry said of the new-look competition.
“We all enjoyed such a small event. Everyone gets along really well, so it’s safe to say we all had that competitive mentality but also all enjoyed it.”
Kerry, who has changed coaches to Nikolai Morozov and changed his training base to New Jersey, USA, took away a few positives from Shanghai.
“Overall the PCs (Program Components) were much lower than what I would’ve liked. I wanted to throw out some triples seeing as I managed not to do too many at my last event. So not the greatest I’ve ever done but I still took away some good stuff headed to the Games.”
Kailani Craine, who was called up to the event with just two weeks’ notice, also enjoyed the new experience and placed fifth with a spirited skate.
“I've had a really different competition experience in China, only a free program,” Craine said.
“In training I was trying more ‘tano’ variations on most of the jumps which unfortunately I didn't showcase here in China, but I think they will be ready for my next competition.”
“All of these different experiences help me build into a better skater. There’s always more you can learn.”
Being guaranteed a gala exhibition at the conclusion of the event is exactly the sort of skating which the Newcastle 19-year-old enjoys.
“I've had a really good time in China. The people are so friendly and I can't wait to perform in the exhibition,” she said before the gala.
Australia’s current Junior World Pair Figure Skating Champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor have struck their fourth career gold medal and fifth podium in Estonia overnight, returning to the scene of their first Junior gold medal last year in Tallinn.
The Tallinn Trophy is part of the senior ten-event International Skating Union’s Challenger Series and will accrue additional world standings points and experience for the up and coming team going in the PyeongChang Olympics next February. The ISU Challenger Series sits underneath the top tier Grand Prix series of events, which includes the best athletes in the World.
After a dazzling short program the previous night highlighted by a soaring triple twist and an effortless lift at speed that scored the Sydney-based team a PB of 66.80, the free program, which sealed their first senior international gold medal, was harder work.
Last to skate and performing to the soundtrack from The Mask, the opening of the free program was heavy going with difficulties on both side-by-side solo triple jumps but they worked the 4.30 minute program to the end with strength and determination.
“It’s our first senior gold. That’s cool,” Windsor said.
“We were pretty confident going into the short and were doing clean run throughs in training whether we were feeling good or bad. We’re happy that our program component scores are going up - giving us extra points. We got mid sevens here, whereas last comp it was high sixes, so it’s a decent jump,” Windsor said.
Alexandrovskaya, ever the perfectionist, was happy with short, saying, “It was season’s best, but little bits were wrong. The toe loop wasn’t perfect like we can do. All elements were not bad.”
Scoring 112.50 points and well under their best for the free program, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya were able to amass an overall total of 178.90 points, well ahead of second placed Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin from Russia on 162.62. Third went to another Russian pair, Anastasia Poluianova and Dmitry Sopot on 161.60.
“We didn’t have a practice on the day, just the six-minute warm up,” 21-year-old Windsor said. “When I do practice in the morning it gets my muscles activated and without that it was hard. Our senior pairs free program isn’t exactly easy.”
Alexandrovskaya intends to learn from the experience.
“We didn’t have skating for one full day – 24 hours. Of course, it (the win) is good points for us, especially with so many mistakes in the program. It was not perfect. I like to check mentally my jumps, throws and lifts in practice,” she said.
The senior Challenger gold medal follows their Junior Grand Prix win in Poland last month and bronze in the Senior Olympic Qualifying Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany in late September.
Transitioning to senior ranks during the season has entailed switching between junior and senior programs at alternating international events. Next up for Australia’s history-making pair will be the prestigious Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan from December 7 to 10, which will mark the end of their ground-breaking junior career before a solid push to PyeongChang.
“This will be one hard week between here (Tallin) and the Junior Grand Prix Final (JGPF). Of course we will work hard,” 17-year-old Alexandrovskaya said.
“It’s going to be a hell of lot easier than a senior program. I’m looking forward to that. Now that we have pretty good results this season so far, we are more experienced than last year and events like the JGPF are no longer an intimidating thought,” Windsor added.
PyeongChang is less than 80 days away and this young team’s expectations are in check.
“We do not expect to get a medal but want to skate two good programs in Korea,” they both said.
“Our transition from Junior is going well and we look more mature on the ice, stronger and more senior. In the free program here, we again got a level 4 for the twist but this time with +3s for the grade of execution,” said Windsor.
“Just do what we can and a perfect skate for us. We can’t have a medal, but we can skate good and clean,” Alexandrovskaya said of PyeongChang.
In their international career to date Windsor and Alexandrovskaya have made the podium five times with four golds in a mix of top tier Junior events and Challenger level senior competitions - Junior Grand Prix Tallinn 2016, Junior World Championships 2017, Junior Grand Prix Gdansk 2017, Tallinn Trophy Senior Challenger 2017 and bronze Nebelhorn Trophy Senior Challenger 2017.
The Australian Olympic figure skating team of Brendan Kerry, Kailani Craine, Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor were named to PyeongChang earlier this month, with Windsor making world-wide news as Australia’s first indigenous Winter Olympian to be selected.
With their Olympic qualification events behind them, figure skaters Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine alongside short track speed skater Deanna Lockett are heading into this weekend’s Shanghai Trophy with a weight off their shoulders.
The three Aussie skaters secured their place on the invitational event’s start list through their strong performance at their respective World Championships in March this year.
Having already secured his place on the Australian Winter Olympic Team for 2018, Shanghai will present the perfect opportunity for Kerry to reclaim the ice after he previously described his performance at the Grand Prix in Regina, Canada as “the worst”.
Now, just a few days out from the event, Kerry said that he was “hoping to achieve a strong core and re-gain some confidence”.
“Preparation for Shanghai has been going really well. Not planning as much technical difficulty, rather trying to just go out and focus on a more polished performance,” he said.
“I started the season out really strong and then had a disastrous skate at my GP. All part of sport – but I just want to go out and get my mojo back!”.
The five-time Australian Men’s Figure Skating Champion and Sochi 2014 Olympian was named alongside Craine two weeks ago as one of four figure skating athletes to compete at PyeongChang this February.
Kerry, who will contest the men’s individual event, said that “being selected for the Olympic team again is a huge motivation” while for Craine it’s made her “push harder”.
“I think now that I have qualified, my training feels a little more free and I can push myself to try harder elements and also really push my run throughs without being worried of making a mistake,” Craine said.
“Preparing for Shanghai is a little different to a regular competition since we only perform our Free Program. So basically I’ve just been running my free program a lot and building up really good stamina and confidence with the program.
“Training has been going really well, I have a lot of confidence in myself leading into this competition so hopefully I can just perform how I do in training every day!”
The 19-year-old skated to gold at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany earlier this year, securing an Olympic berth for Australia at PyeongChang 2018 and impressing judges with her Free Skate to ‘Moulin Rouge’.
The routine featured five triple jumps, three level-four spins and level-four footwork, skills that picked up the Newcastle native 109.43 points.
“My local rink has set up a big TV screen where my free program from the Olympic Qualifying competition plays on repeat, which is such good motivation for me to push myself so I can feel those kind of moments at the Olympic Games,” she said.
Lockett, Australia’s top female short tracker, wrapped up her World Cup season last weekend ranking seventh in the 1500m and 19th in the 1000m – with the top 32 skaters in each distance securing Olympic quotas for their nation.
With the Olympic qualification period behind her and this event having no impact on her rankings, Lockett will be more “relaxed” and able to “enjoy a little bit more racing with no pressure,” according to her coach Lachlan Hay.
“She will be able to focus on some new things and some new strengths to use at PyeongChang” Hay said.
“It will be a great chance to get used to the loud noise from the crowd which will be expected in Korea 2018.
“It’s a huge event they put on and very exciting, showcasing the best of the best in speed skating and figure skating as well.”
Lockett will contest the individual 1000m and 1500m event and will likely throw her hat in the ring for “a really fun chance to skate with other skaters and make a relay team” in the 444m, 777m and 2000m international mixed gender relay events.
The 2017 Shanghai Trophy will take place from 24 – 26 November. You can follow the live results HERE.
David Barden / Georgia Thompson
OWIA / Olympics.com.au
Dynamic figure skating duo Harley Windsor and Katia Alexandrovskaya have their eyes set on gold as they head into this week’s International Skating Union Challenger in Tallinn, Estonia.
The pair, who have both been selected to represent Australia at PyeongChang 2018 in February, have been training hard for Tallinn but they’re keeping things simple and sticking to what they know, according to Windsor.
“Our preparation for Tallinn is just like every other competition, we haven’t changed much in terms of training,” he said.
“Going into this comp we are feeling good, training is going good so we expect to get a medal and [we’re] hoping for gold.
The pair’s selection to represent Australia at the Winter Games has been a massive motivation to continue to strive towards greatness.
Windsor said that the news “was a massive step” this season and that both he and Alexandrovskaya, “hope to use this comp and more mental preparation leading into February and also our Grand Prix Final”.
“Being selected for the Olympic team, I think, has helped us a lot,” Alexandrovskaya added.
“We know what we are capable of [and] we think we can always get better and improve.”
Galina Pachin, who coaches the pair with her husband Andrei, said that the duo’s selection for the Winter Games was “their dream come true” and that it would drive them to “skate their best at upcoming competitions to get better rankings before the Olympics”.
“Being selected for the Olympic team has an effect of greater responsibility for what they do on ice every day,” she said.
“Preparation for the Tallinn Trophy was good. Harley and Katia practiced in Sydney for four weeks and almost all their programs run through were of good quality.”
Earlier this year, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya made history as the first Australian figure skaters to win the Junior World Paris Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki.
The duo, who will have been skating together for two years this December, won a bronze medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany this September behind the World silver medallists and European champions, qualifying them to the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang next February.
The Tallinn Trophy will take place from 23 to 25 November. You can follow the live results HERE.
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