A season of changes

I cannot believe how long it’s been since I last updated you guys with my life. I’ve been extremely busy this summer and fall, getting back into shape and working on new programs.

Last season was filled with many ups and downs.  I made a big decision to move out to Colorado and leave my longtime coach Joan Orvis. It definitely wasn’t an easy move as Joan is like my second mother, but I had gotten to the point where I needed something new and to start fresh somewhere else.

I started off the season pretty well and kept building after each competition. I was landing triple axel more and more consistently and was very close to landing quad toe. I had a bit of a rough Sectionals, but came away from it knowing exactly what I needed to work on.

Training after Sectionals was going extremely well and I was doing more clean longs than ever before, until I fell on a strange triple axel and sprained my ankle. Words cannot even begin to describe what was going on in my head that day as I went to the ER to have my ankle checked. I got an X-ray and the doctor said it was a Level 3 sprain and that I should stay off of it for at least six-eight weeks. Well, I knew that if I took that much time off, there would be no way for me to compete at nationals as it was only seven weeks away. So, I ended up off the ice for about three and half weeks before I finally put my skates back on.

Training for Nationals was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Not only was it physically challenging as I had to get back into shape quickly all the while trying to manage the pain as best as I could, but it was mentally draining as well.  Trying to convince yourself that you are in good enough shape to do a four and a half minute program with eight triples in it is not very easy. Nonetheless, Nationals was quite the let down and I was extremely upset, as I never got to show how I really could skate.

It’s embarrassing to go out in front of thousands of people and skate as if you have never skated before. I do look back at Nationals with a bit of regret as it was probably not the wisest decision to skate, but I did accomplish a couple of personal goals that week and have learned lots from the experience.

The biggest problem I had with competing at Nationals is that I paid for it all spring and up until the beginning of June. It turns out that I actually had severe bruising of my Talus and Tibia from the sprain and because I trained for Nationals, they were even further damaged. Bone contusions take quite some time to heal and I never allowed my body the proper amount of time to recover, because it was always a rush to get back onto the ice. I do have a bone chip in my ankle from the damage I did to it before Nationals, but luckily I am not in much pain from it and can train at a normal rate finally!

I also made a big change in July and am no longer taking from Tom Zakrajsek and Becky Calvin.  It took me quite a while to figure out what I wanted to do with my skating and who could help me get there. After much debate, I decided to make a change. I am now taking full time from Tom Dickson, who is also my choreographer, and couldn’t be happier. He is so inspiring to work with on a daily basis and has helped me tremendously in the three short months that I’ve been working with him. I’m also working with Catarina Lindgren (Tom’s wife), Christy Krall and Erik Schulz part time.

My programs this year are probably the best programs I have ever had! My short program is to “O Mio Babbino Caro” and I absolutely love it. I have wanted to skate to this music for years and when Tom Dickson brought it in for me to listen to, I immediately knew that was it! It’s such a calming piece of music and really reflects who I am as a skater. My long is to music from the ballet, “Gayane” and it’s a very strong yet beautiful piece.

On top of my singles skating, I also will be competing in novice pairs this season. I competed in pairs a long time ago at the Juvenile level and figured I would give it a try again. I have been having fun learning all these new tricks and it should be interesting to see where this takes me. My partner, Danielle Viola, and I competed our short program a few weeks ago here at the Broadmoor and it went very well. I must say though, it was very strange competing with someone else right next to me. I almost forgot to bow with her at the end!

I have done a couple of competitions and gotten great feedback as to what I need to work on. Things are coming along quite well and I am looking forward to my next competition. Regionals will be in Dallas in a couple weeks and then it’s off to Secitonals in Fort Collins, Colo., since there are only four Senior Men at Regionals! I can’t wait to get out there again!

Apart from skating, there hasn’t been too much going on. I moved into a studio apartment back in the beginning of May and I love living by myself.  It’s only a few minutes from the rink, which is very convenient.  That’s all for now, I have a batch of brownies in the oven that I must tend to!

Thanks for all your support and interest in my skating!


Alex Johnson

P.S. For some more day-to-day tidbits on my life, follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Alex_M_Johnson. My username is Alex_M_Johnson.