First blog entry

Hi everyone,

I am so excited to finally get my web site up and running. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported my skating and to Figure Skaters Online for helping me set this page up.

Well, this past season has been quite a whirlwind for me. From the Liberty Open all the way to Nationals in Cleveland, I felt like I never really had any time to stop. Nonetheless, it was by far the most exciting season I have had so far. It was so much fun traveling around the world, experiencing different cultures, and skating with some of the best skaters ever.

The Czech Republic was my first trip of the season. Although my skating schedule was very busy and I didn’t have time to see any sights in Ostrava, I really enjoyed being around a culture that was completely different from ours. The people that I encountered there were pretty friendly and even though it was hard to communicate with them because of the lack of English speaking citizens, we seemed to get by.

My short program was probably my best of the season. I won by nearly six points and could not believe it. The long program went extremely well also. I was way more nervous for the long program because I had never been in such a great position after short and I wanted it to stay that way. Due to that pressure, I did a nice single flip-double toe combination for my first jump. I could not believe it and I knew that if I wanted to keep that position I had to pull it together.

I actually told myself while I was skating, “This can be either the worst performance of your life, or the best performance of your life Alex, so make up you mind.” I knew I didn’t want the first option so I turned it around and skated a clean program after my first little hiccup. Overall, I ended up staying in first place and I was so ecstatic. I’m pretty sure that standing on top of the podium, listening to the national anthem play and watching the U.S. flag rise for the first time ever in my skating career, was the highlight of my trip in Ostrava.

Sheffield, Great Britain was my next trip. I was so excited to go outside of the country once again and although I had four weeks between the Czech Republic and then, it seemed like I was back at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport two days later. For once, it was extremely nice to be in a country where the official language is English so we didn’t feel like complete outcasts. The funny part about that though, was that even though they did speak English, it was so different from ours that we could sometimes barely understand what they were saying.

My short program in Sheffield went very well and I ended up in second after a clean skate. I was so thrilled to be in second after the short because I knew I had a chance at making the JGP final. My long program was not so hot. I put too much emphasis on making the Final and lost focus on the task at hand. Due to my lack of focus, I made two really big mistakes; singling a triple Lutz and singling a triple loop. Fortunately, those two mistakes didn’t cost me enough and I ended up in third place, which meant that I had qualified for my first ever JGP Final.

After the competition, my coach Joan Orvis and I were able to stay an extra day and visit London. The one thing I really enjoyed about London was the beautiful architecture. You can tell that the English put much time and effort into carefully constructing each building because they all were gorgeous. My favorites were by the far the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.

Up next was the JGP Final in Korea. I had about two months after Sheffield to really get my programs to where I wanted them to be and by the time we were about to leave, I felt very prepared to skate my best. This was the first time ever in ISU history that the Senior Grand Prix Final and the Junior Grand Prix Final events were combined and it was so cool being around athletes such as Patrick Chan and Yu-Na Kim.

The first day of practice was quite an eye opening experience. The facility was gorgeous and as I walked in, I felt like I was competing at Worlds. I was a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event and I had to sit down with my coach and take a deep breath to relax. However, practice went very well that day and I knew I was ready to perform.

The short program went extremely well and I found myself sitting in fourth place. The Korean fans were so enthusiastic and I didn’t want to get off the ice. I was having such a great time. The long program was the next day and it actually went pretty well also. I once again did a single loop and my triple Salchow was downgraded in my triple salchow double axel sequence. Although I moved down the placements to sixth, I was proud of myself for what I had accomplished.

The rest of the trip was wonderful. I was able to experience world class skating and surround myself with a lot of the stars of our sport. Overall, Korea was a great learning experience and I hope that someday I will be competing in the Senior Grand Prix Final.

After Korea, Joan and I knew that we had to really focus on the long program because that had been my downfall in the past. So for the next month, we ran long program after long program until I was able to perform it perfect with my eyes shut (well not really, but you guys know what I mean). The short hadn’t been a problem in the past so we figured if I just kept running through it clean, it would be fine.

Nationals snuck up on us faster than we really thought. I knew I was prepared though and I couldn’t wait to get there. Up first was the short program, which I had done clean at every competition and had been practicing clean nearly everyday. My warm-up was perfect and as I took the ice, I felt pretty good, but a bit more nervous than I had felt in the past. I think that is what got me. I fell on the triple flip and doubled the triple Lutz. It was bound to be a disaster, but I finished the program stronger than ever, working for every point that I could get. I ended up seventh and was very disappointed with myself. I knew I could do that program clean and it was extremely frustrating to not perform it that way. I used this frustration however to motivate myself for the long and it seemed to work.

I made two small mistakes in my long; leaving out the triple flip-triple toe loop combination and two footing a double axel. Luckily, it was good enough to win the long program and pull up to 3rd overall. I was extremely proud of myself for fighting until the end and although I didn’t accomplish my goals of winning the junior men’s title and qualifying for World Juniors, I was able to take many lessons away from this competition.

Finally my season was over and I was able to take a much-needed break. This was the first time I had ever experienced a long season and my coach told me I needed to take two weeks off and just relax. The first week was great, but by the end of it, I really wanted to get back on the ice. Well, that was definitely not going to happen because my mom had scheduled a lovely appointment for me to get my wisdom teeth out that Thursday. Boy was that fun. Actually, it wasn’t that bad. I was able to skate the following Monday and finally start training again for my first year as a senior man. However, for the first few days, it did feel like my head was going to explode whenever I spun or jumped.

A few weeks later, I took a weekend trip down to Chicago to visit a friend of mine, Megan Hyatt. It was nice to see her and we had a lot of fun wandering the streets of downtown Chicago and sightseeing a little. Two weeks after that, I was training in Colorado with Kathy Casey for a couple weeks. I then was home for a week, before flying to Montreal to work with my choreographer Sebastien Britten on two new senior programs. I was in Montreal for two whole weeks before finally coming home.

I have been home for more than two weeks now and it has been quite nice. Now it’s just back to training and getting this four and a half minute program under my belt. Thanks for reading my journal and supporting my skating. It is greatly appreciated!

 

Until next time,

Alex Johnson