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March 2, 1999

Previous Entry

Hi, I am sorry that I haven't written for so long! Life has been pretty hectic lately. Well, the last time I wrote was way back in November! I am sorry about that.

Well, after New Englands I really began preparing for Easterns. They were in Florida, and we arrived on Tuesday afternoon. My practices there all went very well. I had added a triple loop into my short and long program, and was a little bit nervous about trying it.

The short program was on Wednesday night. I had drawn fourth to skate. The whole day I was really nervous and worried about my program. I knew that if I had even one mistake I could be out of it for nationals. I skated a clean short program, and was very happy! It is such a relief to get the short program out of the way at a really important competition. After the short I was in first place.

The long was on Friday. I think that the problem with this program was that I was too relaxed if you can believe it! Before easterns I was really thinking about the short because I had added the loop. But, at easterns my long was a disaster!! I only landed three triples cleanly, which was really bad for me. I dropped to third after the long. I think that easterns was a really good experience for me. I had a great time in Florida, swimming in the pool with my friends, and going to the beach.

When I got home after Easterns my coaches told me that it was really important for me to take easterns as a learning experience. What happened was that I fell on my first jump, triple lutz and then I lost my focus. I hadn't been falling on it in practice, so it took me by surprise that I had fallen in the competition. Then, I hadn't really thought about the next couple jumps and didn't attack. Starting shortly after easterns to prepare for nationals I started double run-throughs of my long program. This was something that I had never done before, but I think that it helped me a lot.

I arrived in Salt Lake City on Sunday. My practices started on Monday. Monday and Tuesday I had really bad practices for me. I think that this was because I was a little overwhelmed by being at nationals, and seeing all my competitors.

My short program competition was on Wednesday. I drew last to skate. Earlier this year, and all last year I was having problems skating late in my flights. It is always hard for skaters to wait after their warm up, and I found it hard to wait for my turn to skate. Usually my favorite place to skate is first. I like this position because I can just go on the ice right after warm-up and not know how the other skaters have skated. Well, after a competition I did this Summer in Lake Placid, one of my coaches Mary Scotvold and I talked about ways that I could skate last and not do poorly. Now, after the warm-up I take my skates off and go to a quiet area where I am alone with her and jump around and think about only me and not the other skaters. This is what I did after the warm up at nationals.

When it was my turn to skate a funny thing happened. My coach, Evy, told me wipe my blades when I stepped onto the ice. As I did this I felt my blade cut my finger. I skated around a little bit to get ready for my turn to skate, and then I looked down at my hand. Blood was gushing out and I kept on trying to wipe it away. My coaches told me not to worry about it, and I tried to get it out of my mind.

I skated a clean short program, which I was really happy about! After the bad practices I had been experiencing earlier in the week it felt great to be able to go out and do a good short. When I ended my program I looked down to my finger and I saw that blood was all over my dress and tights! I was happy that I didn't let my finger distract me while I was skating! After the short I was in second place.

The long was Friday, and I drew to skate last again! I wasn't as nervous for the long as for the short. I was planning seven triples in my long, and had been practicing them well at home. I began my program with a step out on my triple lutz. Unlike at easterns I didn't let this minor mistake get to me. I continued with a triple salchow, a triple flip, a triple loop, a triple toe double toe, a double axle half loop triple salchow, and a triple toe. When I finished my program I was extremely happy. I had done as a good as I could do at nationals! My marks came up and I was placed in third place.

Right after our group ended the top three skaters had to go to a press conference. This was fun because I had never done anything quite like this. Then, the top four had to be drug tested, which was no so fun!! We stayed for the senior ladies long, and unfortunately my mom and I both got sick. We returned home on Sunday afternoon.

I got new skates last week. I am working on trying to break them down, and on the artistic side of my skating. I am also working on my spins, and stroking. In school I am making up tests that I missed during nationals. It was fun to come home and see the news paper articles on me, and go back to school and have everyone congratulate me. I am looking forward to getting my new programs, and competing again soon!

Best Wishes,
Jennifer Kirk