Mid-season Progress

Hello and welcome to the latest blog for me and Josh.  Last time we wrote, we had just gotten back from competing in Detroit and training in Montréal with many great teams.  Shortly after, we were assigned to Ondrej Nepela Trophy, a challenger series international competition in Bratislava, Slovakia.  Although we hadn’t announced our assignment due to USFS policy (we aren’t allowed to announce it until they do), we had about a month and half to train for this upcoming international and the process was an adventurous one.

Earlier in the year we talked about using a different dressmaker than previous years together; someone we had both used in the past and agreed that she makes beautiful costumes.  We contacted her early on and she agreed to do them.  After sending our measurements and looking at many stunning sketches she emailed us, we sent our deposits and asked for the costumes by Labor Day weekend (well before our international season).  As that weekend rolled around and we didn’t have our costumes we began to grow anxious.  We attempted to contact her every few days to make sure she was working on them and we were very disappointed with her lack of communication.  A couple weeks later and we still hadn’t been updated on the progress of our costumes.  Our competition was just around the corner and we were beginning to feel like we wouldn’t have anything to wear.  Josh had a backup costume for one of the programs, but I had nothing!  We tried every way of contacting her, but she had simply ghosted us.  At one point, Josh called her 12 different times in one day and 50 times in a week; he sounds like Adele in “Hello”.  Luckily, we have a seamstress at our rink who was willing to lend a helping hand.  The weekend before we left she whipped up a beautiful long program dress for me that fits my role of Scarlet from Gone With the Wind and also made Josh a fitted white shirt to go with my red dress.  Both turned out amazing, especially considering they were done over a weekend!  For our short program, I borrowed a classy black dress that Amanda Evora happened to have around.  Thank you Dawn and Amanda for coming to our rescue! Long story short, we never received our costumes and ended up asking for our deposits back after a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration.  We are now working on getting our costumes done for our short program to You Raise Me Up. 

In the midst of all that, Hurricane Irma was approaching.  Initial reports had Irma totally missing our area so we stayed put.  However, as Irma got closer, we were right in its path.  The hurricane was heading straight towards the gulf coast but it was so big that it would be covering the whole state.  As it got closer at a category 4, shelves in the stores were completely barren; there was no water and no bread, but there was plenty of panic.  Gas stations were running out of gas and everyone was fleeing the state.  We waited it out for as long as we could, but after hearing the surge might cover our home and a mandatory evacuation in our county was called for, we packed up as much as we could and drove to a friend’s house that was away from the surge and safe to stay in.  Luckily for us, Irma passed fairly quickly and we were able to head home after only 1 day, but we were without power for 5 days.  The rink had lost power and we were without ice for a couple of days the week before our international.  Fortunately, we were able to skate at a different rink one day and got our heads back in the game after the chaos.  Things are mostly back to normal in Florida, but the occasional sighting of a downed tree or torn down sign serves as a reminder of the destructive force that we nearly caused us devastation.

After all that craziness, we left off to Bratislava.  Arriving in Vienna wasn’t so bad because it was a short bus ride away.  I wish we had a chance to see Vienna too, but I guess we’ll save that trip for another time!  We arrived rather early and actually had practice our first day alongside singles skaters.  It’s strange, but cool to be on the ice while skaters like Keiji Tanaka and Grant Hochstein are pulling quads off.  Of course, we had to navigate our lifts around these quads, which is like an adventure in itself.  The day of the short program, Lyndon had us do a full run through of our program in practice ice.  A clean run-through in practice gave us confidence for the real thing later on. We set a new personal best in our short program by nearly 7 points.  Although we weren’t quite perfect, we felt like we did the short to nearly the best of our abilities while also leaving room to improve.  Similarly, in our free skate we attacked our elements and came out with a result that we are happy with.  We know we can do better, but we are really happy with getting a new personal best overall score and with where we are at this time in the season.

The day after the free skate, Josh and I took a walk from the hotel to visit their presidential palace and the castle in town.  We left with some cool memorabilia and experiences as well.  Later, we spent some time with most of the rest of the American and Canadian delegations and had a great time.  We left Bratislava the next day happy, fulfilled, and ready to get back to work.

The trip to Bratislava and the competition was a success for us; we did a triple twist in international competition for the first time, we got a level 4 on our footwork, and although we had some imperfections, we put out three triple jumps and three throw triples.  Understanding that the differences between us and the people beating us is performance and quality, we set to work on our skating quality right away.  We spent the first week back working on only skating and death spirals (we got no credit in our free skate and we are looking to correct this immediately).  Now, in our second week, we have spent more time on these details and also spent more time with our short program choreographer, Ilona Melnichenko.  We are now actually in the car on the way back from working with Ilona and feel like we accomplished a great deal with her.  Although we didn’t make any drastic changes, we did upgrade the footwork to increase our speed and spent some time detailing other parts.  In addition to working with her on choreography, we also got some help with her from stroking.  Her dance background and keen eye are incredibly helpful for our stroking.  We are returning to train as normal next week and build back up for our next international event.  Our goals are to increase our scores even further for a new personal best, to increase the quality of our elements, and to show a difference in our skating abilities at our next international.  We look forward to blogging for you all again after our next event, thank you for reading and thank you for supporting us (:

– Joshica

Summer Blog

Hello again, thanks for coming to read our blog.  Last time we blogged, we talked about our summer intentions and our music choices; now that we are in the heat of summer we wanted to update you all on how everything is going.

We started off with a local competition called Orange Blossom Open to give us an opportunity to compete our programs before Skate Detroit (albeit only 1.5 weeks before our competition in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan).  This turned out to be a great opportunity for us to try out our twist in competition for the first time.  The anxious nerves on a new element definitely got the better of us there as we received a downgrade on our below average attempt, but nonetheless it was important for us to see how it felt in competition.

Last week we embarked on our journey to Skate Detroit and we had a great time participating in this awesome competition again this year.  We set out to debut our triple twist in Skate Detroit, and we were able to do so without any major problems.  Although our programs had their faults, we accomplished our goal of showing the judges our new element and our new programs as well.  Even though we didn’t get the scores we wanted, we still came away very happy with what we were able to do in Detroit.  Following the competition, US Figure Skating held a minicamp for the pairs in the International Selection Pool.  These activities allowed us to get valuable feedback from judges and technical specialists for our programs and elements this season.  Additionally, we got to have a lesson with jump technician Alex Ouriashev and spend time working with World-medalist Kyoko Ina.  Camp ended with a fun consistency drill where all the teams had to try and land their side by side jumps as many times in a row as possible.  Overall it was a great experience that allowed us to learn and hopefully grow.

Now that Skate Detroit is over, we are in Montreal for a week of training.  Our head coach Lyndon Johnston invited us to come with him as he works with the teams training in this city.  While we are here we will be working with many of the coaches and all of the teams coached by Bruno Marcotte, Richard Gauthier, and even Josee Picard (we will be training at two rinks).  This trip represents an unbelievable opportunity for us and hopefully we can learn and feed off of the energy of the skaters here and come to understand the training habits of some of the best skaters in the world.  We do not yet know of any international assignments, but we hope that our skating can take us to represent the US in international competition and that the improvements we have seen over the last little while (and improvements we are making in the near future) can help us achieve our goals this season.

 

Thank you very much for reading!

 

Music Choices and Offseason Updates

Hey everyone, welcome to our blog. As the 2016/17 season comes to an end, it’s time to get rolling into the 2017/18 Olympic season! Josh and I have been busy picking out music, getting our programs choreographed, and gearing into this upcoming year. We are excited to announce our music choices and choreographers to you all and share a little bit about what we’ve been up to since nationals.

Placing 5th at the 2017 US Championships, we were thrilled with our results and how much we had overcome that season. After battling with injuries and sickness all year, we could finally relax knowing we skated programs to be proud of. I decided to take a week-long trip to Colorado Springs to visit my dad and older brother while Josh took a trip to Minnesota and Chicago to visit friends. We both came home feeling refreshed and ready to get back on the ice.

Once it was time to pick our program music we really wanted to take into consideration our style of skating, what we move well to, and what we feel when we’re in the moment of our programs. For our short program, we will be skating to You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban. When deciding on this piece, we listened to a few different versions, but in the end we went with the original. Every time we listened to it, we could see and feel ourselves skating to it from our hearts. We contacted Ilona Melnichenko, asking if she would be willing to choreograph our short program; Ilona responded with excitement and many creative ideas. With her background in ice dance, we were excited to work with her. Luckily for us she teaches only 3.5 hours away from where we train, so we drove across to the east coast of Florida and spent one long, fun weekend learning crazy transitional moves and being pushed way out of our comfort zone. Eleven hours of choreography later, we had the most challenging 2 minute and 50 second program we’ve ever done together. We love this program and we’re so excited to continue improving it throughout the season.

For our long program music we picked Gone with the Wind. This piece has always been one that I love. After struggling to find music that both of us absolutely loved, this idea came to Josh, and I immediately felt strongly optimistic about it. We listened to it over and over and excitedly asked our coach what he thought. He was all for it and so were we. We asked Phillip Mills to choreograph our long. He has choreographed programs for many national champions, and world and Olympic skaters so we were overjoyed when he excitedly agreed to spend a week working with us. Josh and I are looking forward to debuting our new programs in July at Skate Detroit.

As some of you may remember, Josh had been struggling with a shoulder injury since Cup of China.  A recent MRI showed a tear in his labrum and inflammation in his AC joint, but he was told he wouldn’t need surgery and that there were other options which he could pursue. He ended up getting a cortisone shot to the joint, which was the source of his pain. This seems to help a lot and we have been able to fully train since then. Josh’s injury recovery has allowed us to pick up where we left off on pushing the triple twist, our main focus. As we get back into program mode, we will continue zeroing in on the twist, finding new lift exits, and improving our program components. This will be an exciting year for everyone and we are looking forward to another great season!

Thank you for reading,

 

Joshica 🙂

Persistence

Persistence.

If I had to use one word to describe our season, that would be it.  To give you all an understanding of it, let me give you a little backstory.  This season threw a lot at us, but we fought back time and time again.  I think every team (and athlete in general) experiences setbacks throughout a duration of a season and we were no different this year.  Last season (2015-16) was tough because we had just gotten together and we were experiencing success at a level far beyond what either of us had ever seen.  I (Josh) was 2nd to last the year before with my previous partner at the US Championships and Jessica was 3rd to last the year before that with her old partner.  Needless to say, we certainly weren’t expecting to be assigned to a grand prix event within our first year.

When we first got together we knew we had something special; we definitely expected to try to get into the mix for Senior B assignments, but a Grand Prix event?  That’s crazy talk!  Still, we managed to get one and we did pretty well too.  In fact, at our two international events we put out great skates onto the ice, which was just how we practiced.  Last year we would skate clean in practice so often that we could be unhappy with a clean program because we missed one level.  That’s an insane amount of consistency that I hope to get back to one day.  One thing that always loomed over us last season though, was the twist.  As a new team, it is tough to learn each other’s timing in order to master the triple twist.  For us, it was even tougher due to an injury in Jessica’s tapping foot that only allowed us to practice twist about twice a week.  This made it difficult to even do a decent double, let alone work on getting three rotations.  A MRI in August of 2015 showed that Jessica had two torn ligaments in that foot, we made the decision to keep going anyways because we had pushed through it and skated well to that point.

By the time Nationals rolled around in January, our twist wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been in the summer months, but it also wasn’t worthy of the quality that the top senior teams were doing (all triples, by the way).  To say the US Championships in St. Paul was an utter disaster would be minimizing it too much.  First of all, I want to start by saying that we skated a short program just about as well as we could and we were in a great position (fifth) for the free skate.  The long, however, was a nightmare.  And when I say nightmare, I mean the type of thing that comes back to haunt you over and over again.  I mean that performing that program was like living out the worst of your thoughts and nightmares all in one.  I recently re-watched our performance and I honestly felt like crying all over again, because it is such an emotional pain to see what we did on the ice that day.  Like I said, we had practiced clean programs OVER and OVER again, but when the lights came on in St. Paul we were a mess.

After our skate, many people questioned us, asking if we were injured.  Probably everyone at Nationals is dealing with an injury, I had a scapula problem that made it difficult to turn my head and Jessica had her foot injury of course, but I only brought/ bring that up because people asked me so many times.  The reality of the matter is that those injuries did not affect our performance in St. Paul and we could have performed just like we did in Milwaukee at Skate America and put ourselves in position to fight for a podium spot.  But, we didn’t!  Although a little bit of time with the sports psychologist may have helped, the root of the problem was actually easily identifiable and in the coming months we would work on fixing that.

Following the completion of our season, Jessica excitedly underwent surgery to repair the torn ligaments in her foot; a long recovery was on the way.  As an athlete with a competitive drive, it is difficult to make yourself hold back in what you do and restrain the fire inside of you that keeps you going.  However, coming back from an injury, one must be careful.  Jessica took the doctor’s orders and went even a little bit slower than he had planned it out for her, so we could be sure she wasn’t coming back into it too quickly and risking re-injury/ improper healing.  We basically did nothing for the majority of the spring (although I did get to spend the time to get back my triple loop, flip, and lutz) because coming back was a “feeling it out” kind of thing and her foot was still getting sore.  We took this as a sign of just a slow recovery and would push it just a little bit at a time.

It seemed like life was trying to get us down; besides the injury, Jessica also got sick four times during the Summer, making training even more difficult.  Skate Detroit came and passed in July and the pain was back at the same level that it had been before the surgery, so we scheduled another MRI.  In the week preceding our assignment to Lombardia Trophy in Milan, we learned that the ligaments that Jessica had surgery on were still torn.  The doctor said that if she made one wrong landing on the foot or one bad tap that it could, potentially, be career-threatening.  This was devastating news and my immediate thoughts were, “Ok, let’s do the competition in Italy because we’ve come this far and worked through it already, and when we get back, let’s get another surgery done and call it quits for the season so we can focus on the long term.”  Jessica, however, wouldn’t have any of that.  She’s tough and she certainly didn’t want this injury holding her back for yet another season, so she went for a second opinion.  The second opinion showed a mistake in the reading of the MRI.  She didn’t have any torn ligaments, but she did have a pretty bad case of tendonitis that wasn’t healing itself (since it didn’t heal when she rested post-surgery) along with some deteriorative bone bruising that could be serious if it went untreated (the doctor said it may develop into osteoporosis, even at her young age, if we didn’t do something about it).

Although it was a relief to know that her ligaments were not torn, it still left us wondering how we could treat the problem since rest had not solved the issue.  Following the competition in Milan, the doctor tried an experimental procedure involving the injection of liquid calcium that is usually done on knees to solve the problem in Jessica’s bone and poked holes into her tendons to promote healing along with an insertion of amniotic fluid that would further that process.  Luckily for us, the recovery time on this procedure was short enough that we could still receive another international competition, and we did; we were assigned to Cup of China!  Although the recovery time was short, we still did not really have much time to train for the competition in Beijing; our first week doing full elements was the week before we left.  We know we could have been more prepared, but we still felt like it was worthwhile to go out and get world rankings points for participating in the grand prix.

Even though we didn’t do our best in the international events this year, we showed improvements in other areas such as our presentation and lifts.  The biggest problem that contributed to the “meltdown in Minnesota” (is that too catchy of a title?) was my refusal to use proper technique on my lifts.  Rather, I relied on brute strength and willpower to put up lifts where I didn’t use my legs and counted on these bad boys upstairs I call guns.  Following the “setback in St. Paul” (I’m way too good at making these titles), our coach Lyndon and I spent months doing basic lifts, making sure that I was using proper technique and that only the correct way was ingrained into my head.  Executing the lifts well in China was just the beginning for us, however.

After we got back from Beijing we wanted to make a run at the triple twist because Jessica’s foot finally felt better and we had about a month and a half before nationals.  Suddenly, instead of doing two attempts a week we were doing ten attempts a day, that’s 35 times as many tries!  However, yet another thing was trying to get in the way of our success.  The sudden, dramatic increase in repetitions led to a rotator cuff injury that I am currently in the process of continuing to rehab, which meant that we had to cut down our attempts yet again.  Also, we had to train for the US Championships in Kansas City, we couldn’t just focus on the twist.  Still, even injuries weren’t the only thing holding back.  On December 2nd I got sick; on January 29th I finally stopped taking medication for this sickness.  I was sick for over eight weeks, including during the US Championships.  In fact, during our programs at Nationals I was on seven… seven different medications.

It was extremely difficult to train while being sick for seven weeks leading up to the event (being sick one week after made it eight weeks total), and combined with the rotator cuff injury and our short amount of training for the season, it seemed like we were put in a spot where quitting on the season would have been very easy.  To recap, last year we trained, but didn’t do twist for the most part of the season.  This year we didn’t skate much from Feb-May, skated lightly over the summer and held back for the most part due to her injury recovery and sicknesses, didn’t skate much during the fall because of the recovery from her second surgery, and FINALLY trained from the time we returned from Cup of China (late November/early December) till Nationals with my rotator cuff injury and sickness disrupting us the whole time.  For those wondering, I have had a sinus infection that my body overreacted to and kept the symptoms going despite the virus being gone for quite some time, needless to say, breathing during a long program was a challenge.

It might seem like I’m writing a book of excuses, but what I’m trying to get it is that from the beginning of the partnership we have dealt with hardships in training.  Despite the rotator cuff injury that was caused from the twist repetitions as of late, I think we are both happy with how far the twist has come this season in our short amount of time on it and that it is on the right track to finally become the triple that will put us on par with the other teams we compete against.  When we took the ice at the US Championships we had two choices; we could either let our troubled season and “mishap in Minneapolis” affect our performance, or we could follow US Figure Skating’s campaign strategy and #GetUp.  You can guess which one we chose.  Our performance in Kansas City was 35 points higher than it was in St. Paul.  While we had our mistakes, we also conquered the lifts, securing level 4’s and positive GOE’s on all of our lifts, including the highest scoring group 3 or group 4 lift in the event (yes, I am petty enough to have figured that out).  We made improvements on our side by side spin, we increased our component mark, did strong throws in the free skate, and most importantly we got the monkey off of our back that has been riding us since the “mistakes in the Midwest” last season.

Life tore us down, injuries tore us down, sickness tore us down, but we made a choice on the ice in Kansas City, Missouri.  We made a choice to be persistent.  We made a choice to get up.  We made a choice to show the fans and the judges that we are a force to be reckoned with and that our time will come where we will be competitive, not just for the domestic podium, but for the international podium as well.  The US Championships was just a baby step for us, we plan on going so much further, we know we have a lot of improvements to make and that no singular element like the triple twist is going to make us sudden world championship contenders.  When we had our “ill luck on the ice” Jessica was eager to call it a learning experience; I was eager to say it was the worst thing that ever happened to me.  All that hard work, all season long; all that pushing through the injury all year long… for THAT?  But, after this season passed I can honestly say that Jessica was right (and I promise she’s not forcing me to write that)!  Jessica was more correct than I could have ever imagined because if it hadn’t been for all the “tragedy in the tundra” we may have never taken the time to re-learn what we thought we had already known.  We learned so much because of the letdown that we experienced and more importantly than learning something from a technical standpoint, we have learned the power of persistence because of the setbacks that we have gone through.  We have learned to get up and we will continue to get up throughout our career because it is so ingrained into our DNA that we only know how to keep pushing back up every time life kicks us down.

If you read all that, I applaud you and thank you very much.  This is the 2371st word of this blog and it turned into more of an essay, but I am glad to have shared that with you.  If you skimmed through the details, I oblige you to please read it thoroughly because I spilled my heart out for you.

Thank you so much,

– Joshica.

What Giving Means to Us

Tis’ the season of laughter and love, family and friends, and happiness and giving. It’s the time of the year when family gets together to celebrate the holidays with gratitude. My family and I, Jessica, have always celebrated Christmas and every year it continues to be my favorite holiday because of the happiness it brings to people. When I was younger, I never fully understood or appreciated the acts of kindness and the amount of giving I receive, not only during this time of the year, but every day that goes by. I am blessed with an amazing, supportive family who never cease to make sacrifices to bring happiness into my life. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how fortunate I am and I cannot express my gratitude enough. I truly am grateful for the life I live and all that I have. I wish to give back to my family as each year goes by, and every day I try to make small gestures to give to the people around me, hoping to make their day a little brighter.

Making people happy is the greatest gift I believe anyone could give. Passing strangers and giving them a smile, holding the door open for the person behind you, donating to a good cause or something you support, etc.. All of these things, even if you only help one person, or show someone a sign of happiness, will have an everlasting effect. In our lives from day to day, we become consumed by the business and stress that seem to loom over us everywhere. We forget to stop and lend a helping hand, or even to wave to the car letting you cross the road to say “thank you”. This year has come and gone, some might say it hasn’t been the greatest year, but it’s not too late to spread happiness and love by taking opportunities whenever you can to give someone, anyone, gratitude and hope.

My biggest wish this Christmas is for you all to spread love by giving to others something as little as a smile when you walk by them, or as much as donating your time, energy, or the spare change in your pocket to help someone less fortunate. You might realize just how good it feels to make people happy. 🙂  I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy New Year!

 

Happy Holidays,

Jess and Josh

How Donations Help Us

Hi everyone, this is Josh and I’m writing this blog on behalf of both Jessica and myself.  Although it may seem odd to compose a blog only a few weeks after our last blog, and with nothing happening in between, I have felt compelled to write this because of the effects that others’ actions have had on me.

I just wanted everyone to know just how much donations help us.  This is my first semester going completely full time in school.  As I work through the business core classes, all of the new information gets harder to digest and more important to learn.  Thanks to a couple of scholarships, I was able to afford full time schooling, as opposed to the half-time I have been pulling for the last few years.  This week of school has been especially difficult for me because I have had four times the normal course load, along with two finals (that consisted of two presentations and two papers, one of which was 27 pages long).  I often hear about skaters who decide that they will start school full-time and I see how they have trouble maintaining success in skating.  That is not me though, and I will not let that be me.

Skating is, and always will be, my utmost important focus.  However, I also take pride in my high GPA and make every attempt to ace my classes.  Still, leaving for Beijing (in twenty minutes actually, I’m writing this in the DFW airport) for Cup of China and being prepared is the most important thing for me.  Normally, my problem in this situation would be, how do I juggle my full-time job along with my full-time skating and my full-time school.  Something’s gotta give right?  Luckily for us, something could give.

Jessica and I have made concentrated efforts (albeit, in small bouts) to raise funds for our skating.  To this point, it has been very helpful in covering the ongoing costs of lessons, ice time, costumes, and travel.  Interestingly enough, I never saw the way it would affect me this week.  If I were to work my normal hours at work, put in my time on and off the ice, and do four times the normal course load with the additional finals, I don’t think I would get more than 2 hours of sleep a night; I already average as little as five hours and 40 minutes some weeks (thanks to my handy Fitbit sleep tracker, I know this) just due to my hectic schedule.  So, faced with the choice of giving something up for the week, I remained loyal to my motivations of submitting schoolwork I could be proud of and training effectively for Cup of China by taking several shifts off of work this week.

In the past, this sort of move would be unthinkable for me; after all, if I’m going to go out of town for a week and a half, I’m going to need extra money to take care of that.  But, for the first time in my life I am not scraping by.  I have, in the past, gone to a competition and run out of money while I was there.  I’m the guy who brings sandwich bags to the breakfast area at the hotel so that I can put bread in there for later (I’ll also take the jam and peanut butter packets, makes for a free lunch).  This feeling of not being controlled by my work, feeling that I can dedicate myself to my skating completely in every fashion is new to me.  What makes it so great is that it is all possible thanks to the donations people have been so kind to give to us.  Jessica and I are incredibly grateful for the charity and caring attitudes that others have shown us.  Not everyone donates to our Gofundme account; in fact, the majority of our donations have come from other places, like the account we have set up through the New England Amateur Skating Foundation.  Even when people donate to the memorial fund, we eventually become a beneficiary of that.  Thank you so much for everything you do, and the next time you have even five dollars sitting around, I implore you to please check out our Gofundme at www.gofundme.com/joshica.

 

Thank you so much for reading!

–  Joshica 🙂

Our First Blog!

Hi, and welcome to our blog!  We hope to keep a blog at least once a month; some will be written by Josh, others by Jessica… This one is written by both!   🙂

We are in our second season together and are looking to gain steam to improve both our abilities and our standings nationally and internationally.  This year we started off our international journey in Italy at Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo (just outside of Milan).  The competition didn’t go exactly how we wanted to, but that’s ok; mistakes are bound to happen and we still felt like we learned a lot from that event that we can use going forwards.  Despite our performances, it was really cool to see the beautiful country of Italy and have all the amazing gelato, pizza, and pasta.

Jessica had surgery on her right foot in the offseason to repair two torn ligaments, an injury on her landing foot that had been bothering her for years and had worsened last season.  We spent many months slowly rehabbing the injury and taking the process even slower than instructed.  Our goals are long term; we weren’t concerned with being 100% for summer competitions.  However, once training resumed in full, it was clear that the injury was still lingering.  Initial MRI reports showed that the injury was still there, but after two more MRI’s we found a different diagnosis.  We decided to wait until after our trip to Italy to do anything about it.  A little over two weeks ago Jessica underwent a minor procedure that will hopefully solve the problem once and for all.  Luckily for us, she will be back on the ice next week and possibly full strength a week after that!

It’s a good thing that Jessica’s recovery will be fast; shortly after the procedure we were notified of an invitation to Cup of China!  This will be our second Grand Prix event, after attending Skate America last year in Milwaukee.  Neither of us have been to China before and Jessica has never been to Asia at all!  Needless to say, this trip to Beijing is unbelievably exciting for us.

It’s amazing to get to go to China for competition, home of one of our favorite teams of all time, Shen and Zhao.  China has really shown a great depth in pairs skating in the last couple decades and we are honored to be able to compete against their best teams.  We keep realistic expectations for events like these and feel like we’ve accomplished something just to be selected to such a prestigious event.  Nonetheless, we have set performance related goals and hope to put out our best possible programs there, both technically and presentation-wise.  We look forward to this trip and hope to update you all throughout the future.

 

Thanks for reading!