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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kim Yuna returns to competitive skating

Kim Yuna won Gold at the Olympics in 2010, setting record scores for the short program, long program and combined total, and becoming the first South Korean to win a figure skating medal at the Olympics. After sitting out the entire 2011-2012 season, she is now making her return for the 2012-2013 season, and aiming for the 2014 Olympics next season.

Since she was not assigned to any Grand Prix events, she is participating in smaller events to score points to enter the World Championships. Her first competition this season was at the NRW Trophy in Dortmund, Germany, where she picked up the Gold medal with scores way beyond the reach of her other competitors.

Her short program, skated to Kiss of the Vampire

This program seals her return to competitive skating. She is strong technically, and has such expression ~ even though she said in an interview that expression wasn't what she was really focusing on now!

Her long program, skated to a medley from Les Miserables:

There were mistakes... She is not perfect, and though her triples look easy and flowing, it seems she needs a bit more stamina to put her through the long program. Nonetheless, is was a good start, and the world is watching...

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Announcement: 2013 Singapore National Figure Skating Championships & Basic Skills Competition

The Singapore Ice Skating Association has put out the announcement for the 2013 Singapore National Figure Skating Championships and Basic Skills Competition, which will be held at The Rink @ JCube on 30-31 March 2013.

Download the announcement and entry forms (link to SISA's website).

Skaters who are looking to join a club may check out Tropical Blades Ice Skating Club!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2013 ISU Adult Figure Skating Competition Announcement

The 2013 ISU Adult Figure Skating Competition will be held 15th to 18th of May 2013 at Oberstdorf, Germany. The announcement and forms are available at the ISU website.

Here's the Adult Figure Skating Competition website.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Friday, October 05, 2012

ISU JGP Croatia Cup 2012 - Ladies short program

Ceciliane Hartmann is representing Singapore at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Croatia Cup 2012. She is in 18th place after the short program. Even with a disappointing fall on the double Axel, she managed to keep her program together and put forth beautiful spins towards the end.

Here is her program:

All the best for the long program! Skate well!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

September School Holidays Intensive Skating Course

Looking for something to do during the September holidays? Why not pick up a new aport ~ or continue it if you have already picked it up recently!

The Rink at JCube is holding an Intensive Learn-To-Skate Course over the one-week holidays. Priced at $160, the course consists of four 45-minute lessons (from 9:30am until 10:15am) every day from Monday 3 Sep until Thursday 6 Sep.

For more information and to register, contact The Rink at 6684 2374/75.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ISU JGP Courchevel 2012

The ISU Junior Grand Prix 2012 kicks off today in Courchevel, with the Ladies Short Program at 2:30pm, followed by the Men's Short Program.

Good luck to Singapore skater, Ceciliane Hartmann!!

ISU will be putting up all the performances on its official JGP channel at

The results (or starting order) is available at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ISU Official YouTube Channel

ISU has launched official channels on YouTube for its various disciplines (figure skating, speed skating, short track). Here's the Figure Skating channel:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

News for Official Opening of The Rink @ JCube

The Rink held its official opening on Sunday 12 Aug 2012. It was graced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

As the first sports facility developed under the Community/Sports Facilities Scheme, The Rink operates as a community rink accessible to all members of the public. Moreover, it also offers the SkateStar program, an affordable learn-to-skate program that has had overwhelming response.

A national Learn-to-Skate programme has been rolled out at The Rink since May 2012 to equip participants, from young children to seniors, with foundational skills in ice skating through a progressive five-week course.
Close to 500 have registered for the programme.
~ quoted from AsiaOne

Having been involved in the SkateStar program ~ first helping to develop the curriculum, and now coaching the classes, it is heartening to see how participants of all ages are able to pick up basic skating skills and skate safely. It is even more encouraging to see that many of them have also developed an interest in the sport and aim to progress to higher level skills!

A friend of mine said, "Hopefully figure skating will really take off as a sport. No reason why Singaporeans cannot excel in this sport!" I agree wholeheartedly, for figure skating and also for speed skating and hockey. For the sake of the sport, all stakeholders (The Rink, SSC, skaters, parents, coaches and officials) must work together to develop our athletes and provide support for them to excel.

News stories:
"Ice Rink at JCube aims to encourage recreational ice skating" - from AsiaOne
"Over 80,000 visited new ice rink at JCube since April" - from Channel News Asia

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Official Opening of The Rink will be on 12 Aug

The official opening of The Rink will be on Sunday 12 Aug 2012.

After the official ceremonies on 12 Aug, the first public skating session will be at 3pm, and the first 50 skaters get to skate free for the 2-hour session!

Over the next week, there will be free public skating from Mon through Thu (13-16 Aug) for the first 50 skaters at 10:30am session. There will also be free "disco night" for the first 100 Facebook fans on Fri 17 Aug from 9:45pm.

Visit The Rink's Facebook page for more details!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Sochi Ice Arena at the London Olympics

Sochi is promoting the Winter Olympics at the current Olympics in London. A Sochi Visitor Experience Pavilion has been set up, together with the Sochi Ice Arena - an ice rink that hosts performances by top figure skaters. The performances, created by Ilya Averbukh, feature 6 Olympic champions and 18 World champions of figure skating, and also includes numerous artists from various disciplines.

Peek into Sochi Ice Arena Spectacular: Sochi - Small Stories of a Big City

A part of the ice show here:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

En pointe, sur la glace!

Bringing a new meaning to "ballet on ice", Darlene Gilbert skates "en pointe" on blades of her own invention!

My first thought: you can't jump on that!
My second thought: won't your toes hurt?? (ok, so you can tell I'm not a ballerina)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ISU 54th Ordinary Congress Decisions

ISU has put up a report on the 54th Ordinary Congress

Relevant to figure skating is the section for Single and Pair Skating and Ice Dance.

  • The minimum age requirement in the Figure Branch has been changed to 15 which now includes all Senior International Competitions and not only ISU Championships and Olympic Winter Games. This change is effective starting in the season 2014/15. Minor adjustments have also been made in the Novice and Junior age categories.
  • The Single and Pair Skating and Ice Dance Technical Committees proposed several changes to make the Special Regulations and Technical Rules consistent across the disciplines, this harmonization of the rules were unanimously approved by Congress.
  • An additional Base Value has been introduced, the Base Value now ranges from level 0 to 4.
  • As of the season 2014/15, vocal music can be used in Single and Pair Skating.
  • Congress passed a change to remove the preliminary rounds at ISU Figure Skating Championships which will impact the time schedule starting with next season’s ISU Championships.
  • In line with ISU Championships 16 Pair Skaters and 20 Ice Dance Couples will qualify for the Free Program at the Olympic Winter Games.
  • The introduction of an examination for ISU Referees and International Judges and Referees was voted in by Congress.

Singapore National Games

Ok, this has nothing to do with figure skating (at least for now)... but I received information about the 2012 Singapore National Games:

2012 marks the first year the Singapore National Games will be held. This is a sporting event open to everyone living in Singapore to participate and represent their community. The Games will be held every two years, and will be a unique event in Singapore’s sports calendar.

Official website:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Peach Classic 2012 Announcement

This year's Peach Classic will be held on Sept 1-2, 2012. This is an all-adult figure skating competition held in Atlanta, Georgia.

The announcement is now available at

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Kilian with a twist...

Now, perhaps there is a reason I should sign up for SISA's speed skating seminar! ;-)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer Ice Camp at The RInk @ JCube

The Rink at JCube will hold a "Summer Ice Camp" for skaters from 6 years of age and up!

There will be 4 sets of skating camps held during the June school holidays. Each set consists of 4 consecutive days of lessons which will cover basic skating skills, starting with SkateStar Core Blades 1. Each lesson will be 45 minutes long, and skaters will get another 2 hours of skating time to practice their skills.

The classes will be held 28-31 May, 4-7 June, 11-14 June and 18-21 June, from 9:30am - 10:15am. The cost is $160 for each week. To register, call the rink at 6684 2374

Monday, April 30, 2012

Registration for SkateStar program @ The Rink in May

The SkateStar program will be launched at The Rink starting this weekend ~ 5th & 6th May.

For the month of May, registrations will be for Core Blades 1 only. This is suitable for absolute beginners who have not ice skated before.

Registration starts on Monday 30 April at 3pm. I presume you have to go to The Rink to sign up, or call them at 6684 2374/5.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Figure Skating Sessions in May

Figure skating sessions have been announced on the SISA website.
Basically the sessions are:

Sat 5 May 5-7am
    ~ "structured" session, 2 hours with program music played

Sun 6 May 5-6am & 7-8am
    ~ "open" practice ice sessions , 1 hour each without music

Tue 8 May 9:45-10:45pm
    ~ "open" practice ice sessions , 1 hour without music

Sat 12 May 5-7am
    ~ "structured" session, 2 hours with program music played

Sun 13 May 5-6am & 7-8am
    ~ "open" practice ice sessions , 1 hour each without music

Tue 8 May 9:45-10:45pm
    ~ "open" practice ice sessions , 1 hour without music

Note that these sessions are open to all figue skaters, but prices are different for SISA members, affiliated Club members and non-members. Check out SISA's announcement for more details.

Monday, April 23, 2012

World Team Trophy 2012

Team Japan took the World Team Trophy, with fantastic performances from the Men and Ladies competitors.

Daisuke Takahashi skated a near-perfect free program, to give himself a comfortable lead over Canada's Patrick Chan.

In the Ladies event, Akiko Suzuki won with a lovely free program, though she seemed to be struggling with a few combination jumps and a popped 3Lo.

Japanese Pairs team Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran led in the short program, but faltered in the long to finish to 3rd place.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SkateStar Program ~ lessons at The RInk @ JCube

The SkateStar program is set up by the Singapore Ice Skating Association (SISA) and will be implemented by The Rink at JCube. (Incidentally, I still maintain that the use of "proceeding" as an adjective is wrong... but that is beyond the scope of skating)

Here is the message sent out to SISA members today:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

The SkateStar Program will commence at "The Rink" at JCube on Saturday and Sunday, 5th and 6th of May 2012!

4 sessions are available for the SkateStar Program which are scheduled for:
   Saturday: 9.15am-9.45am or 9.45am-10.15am
   Sunday: 9.15am-9.45am or 9.45am-10.15am

The 5 week skating course is a 30 minutes group lesson costing S$160 inclusive of rental skates and a complimentary 2 hour public session proceeding.

"The Rink" at JCube will revert to you when the management is able to take bookings for the courses in the next couple of weeks. For private lessons bookings (1-1 coaching), please fill in the attached form and either email it to Stuart Clays, Head Coach of The Rink at JCube at, or drop in at the ice rink and the JCube team will revert back to you as soon as possible. Please note that in most cases, beginner students will need to complete Core Blades 1 to 4 before private lessons are available.

The SKATESTAR program was developed by the Singapore Ice Skating Association (SISA) in collaboration with the Singapore Ice Hockey Association (SIHA) to cultivate the sport of ice skating in Singapore. It is Singapore’s only national learn to skate program. The program is designed to teach the fundamentals of ice skating through a progression of skills that is fun, challenging and rewarding.

Program Objectives: To teach the fundamental skills and correct techniques of ice skating;
To provide a fun and safe ice skating experience for beginners of all ages;
To provide all skaters (recreational and competitive) with the basic foundation for skating which will enable them to continue to more advanced figure skating or speed skating;
To provide a standardized methodology for coaching ice skating in Singapore;
To promote physical fitness by focusing on coordination and balance;
To teach life skills (discipline, perseverance and determination);
To have fun!

We look forward to seeing you on the ice soon!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Rate Sheets for The Rink @ JCube

It was a busy first week of operation for The Rink at JCube. I'm sure many have been asking about the rates and session timings ~ right, it is no longer a "come as you wish" concept, and for good or for bad, Singaporeans will quickly adjust to it.

In any case, I've taken photos of the rink's rate sheets. On one side is the session timings (photo below). It is a bit hard to read the "terms and conditions" in the dark area at the bottom, so I suggest you should go get a copy for yourself.

UPDATE: This schedule is now obsolete. There is a revised schedule as of 1 Oct.

And of course everyone would like to know the cost. Below are the rates, and though they did mention learn-to-skate classes at $160 for 5 lessons, they failed to say these are *group* classes (yes, there were many people asking me about it). Also, this must be the first time I've ever seen the word "proceeding" used as an adjective!

I'm curious to see how this second week goes, and whether things will settle down somewhat. It is wonderful to see a vibrant skating scene, but there is still uncertainty where it will put the sport of figure skating.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Winter Carnival ~ fun and skating for all

It was two days of fun for skaters ~ experienced and beginner. The events started with a speed skating demo and a figure skating performance, presented by SISA's speed and figure skaters.

After that were 3 sessions of organised group lessons for beginners, followed by a session of "family free skate" where parents also got on the ice with the kids!

As a coach on the ice, it was wonderful to see so many young kids interested in skating ~ and picking it up so fast. We covered the basic skills in the first level of our SkateStar program, and most of my groups picked them all up! Of course in the actual course we would be spending more time mastering each of these skills before moving skaters to the next level.

During the family free skate, parents also got their feet wet... and many of them were doing pretty well. Overall, it seemed like the participants had a great time and enjoyed their sessions.

For those interested in checking out the SkateStar program organisation, you can visit the website of the Official SkateStar Program.

If you are starting out and would like to purchase skates and accessories, feel free to visit my online store, Chowskates.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Opening performance at The Rink at JCube

Max Ko, presenting the first performance at the media launch for the opening of The Rink at JCube:

Artistic Seminar with Kevin Cottam

The Singapore Ice Skating Association has been organized a series of seminars in this first week of operation of The Rink at JCube. This morning was a seminar by Kevin Cottam, a well-known choreographer.

Skaters worked on concentrating on the core, the center, balance and control. Many good pointers, especially for the skaters in the beginning freestyle levels.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Winter Carnival ~ 6 & 7 April at The Rink @ JCube

"Winter Carnival" this Friday and Saturday at The Rink @ JCube will start with a performances at 12 noon, followed by FREE SkateStar Mini Workshops (free lessons) ~ half-hour sessions from 12:30 until 2:30. See the flyer below for more details!
** UPDATE 5 Apr 2012: sessions have been moved to a later timing. Sessions will start at 1:45pm.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Rink @ JCube Opens Today!

Today was the opening of The Rink at JCube ~ Singapore's first Olympic size ice skating rink. Of course I had to go for a spin on the ice.

One thing that disappointed many figure skaters was the rule of no jumps and no spins on public sessions. The rule is set up for safety of skaters in the rink, during public session. In that case, the rink should offer closed sessions for figure skaters!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Competition Tip #12: Good luck!

Competition starts today! To all competitors,

Competition Tip #12: Good Luck and Skate Well

You have practiced hard, prepared yourself physically and mentally, and now is the time to show what you've got.

"Good luck is the residue of preparation" ~ Jack Youngblood, NFL Hall of Fame

Many people have something specific that they feel brings them good luck. You may have a good-luck charm, a teddy bear, your favorite tights you always wear at competition... go ahead and bring it along to the rink. (though you probably will not bring teddy bears onto the ice with you)

"I wear my Peggy Fleming T-shirt when I go to sleep every night before I compete, and for the past four years, it's brought me incredible good luck." ~ Sarah Hughes, 2002 Olympic Gold Medallist

Get to the rink early. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive. When at the rink, you can focus your mind on your skating. You can have time to warm up off-ice. Take some time to stretch. Visualize your program.

As you take the ice for your program, remember that you are here to skate your best. Keep focused on your program. Feel your music, and, most of all, enjoy your skate!

2012 Worlds ~ Pairs Short

The pairs short program saw Savchenko/Szolkowy in first place:

Pang/Tong placed a close second, with a beautiful program.

Two pairs, two different styles. The long program should be interesting to watch.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Competition Tip #11: Rest

As competition draws near and the atmosphere around the rink heats up. You may feel the urge to skate more... and harder... BUT remember that you need to have sufficient rest in order to perform on competition day.

[Adapted from photo by Eli Duke (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Competition Tip #11: Rest yourself

In the days leading up to competition, skaters are trying to get in as much practice as they can. Practice ice has been scheduled. Sacrifices are made to get skaters more ice time. BUT when an element doesn't work, skaters become anxious. They try it again. And again. Yet again.

While keeping up your practice is necessary, it is now time to pace yourself and not push too much. Understand that you have trained hard and you can show your best ability if you

give yourself enough rest and take care of yourself

The most important thing for you to do now is to stay healthy, fit and injury-free. Tone down your training a notch. Have faith in your ability. Listen to your coach. Eat properly.

Skaters' schedules can be grueling, with late-night and early-morning practice ice. Be sure to plan your day so that you have a good night sleep and perhaps a little nap during the day. Also plan your mealtimes around your practice (or competition) schedule. You might not feel like eating, but that could be due to nervousness. You should still eat, even if it is a light meal.

Schedule for 2012 Singapore National Figure Skating Competition

Event schedule for the Singapore National Figure Skating Competition:

Friday 30 March 2012 7pm - 8:30pm (short programs)
  ~ 7:10pm: Novice (advanced)
  ~ 7:40pm: Junior & Senior

Saturday 31 March 2012 2:30pm - 10:30pm (free programs)
  ~ 2:50pm: Opening & National Anthem
  ~ 3:00pm: Future Stars
  ~ 4:00pm: Preliminary
  ~ 4:50pm: Elementary & Novice B (primary)
  ~ 5:40pm: Novice A (pre-primary)
  ~ 6:50pm: Novice Advanced Ladies
  ~ 7:30pm: Novice Advanced Men & Junior Ladies
  ~ 8:00pm: Senior Ladies & Adults
  ~ 8:50pm: Closing address, Prize giving & Awards

FREE SKATING at The RInk @ JCube

Announced on the JCube facebook page, there will be an "opening special" for 3rd - 5th April at 12:45pm at The Rink (Level 3).

2 hours of FREE SKATING for first 50 guests

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Competition Tip #10: Mental Preparation

As you take to the ice, you need to be focused and calm. Most skaters have their coach with them for competitions, to put them on the ice, to help calm their nerves and to prepare them mentally for competition.

Competition Tip #10: Mental Preparation

All athletes have a mental preparation routine. Whether or not you have your coach with you, you need to have a strategy to help calm yourself. This can start as early as the day before competition, so that you can

be prepared mentally

Individual athletes will have their own mental preparation routine. For some, being in a quiet environment works best. Others find music they can use to calm their thoughts. Skaters frequently listen to their program music while visualizing the routine.

Here's a clip where Michael Jordan talks about his mental routine:

A few things you can do:
~ Use visualisation. Run through your program in your mind.
~ Stay calm and focused. Let go of other issues in your life and focus on your competition.
~ Talk to positive and encouraging people.
~ Relax yourself. Laugh. Humour always lightens things up.
~ As you are waiting for your event, think of your favorite part of your program.

The Rink ~ Singapore's Olympic ice rink at JCube

In a press release dated 20 March 2012, CapitaMalls Asia announced that
a) The Rink will open on 2 April 2012, and
b) Singapore Sports Council (SSC) has awarded the rink management contract to CapitaLand Retail Management Pte Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of CapitaMalls Asia)

This opening is eagerly anticipated by figure skaters, hockey players, and all other skaters who frequented skaters at the old Fuji Ice Palace previously located in the same place.

Link to press release

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Competition Tip #9: Focus on Process

While preparing for competition, focus on the process. While performing at a competition, focus on the execution.

By David W. Carmichael [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Competition Tip #9: Process

Everyone has a goal. What is your goal as a skater? What is your goal in this competition? Of course, everyone wants to win this competition. While I am sure it is admirable and, for some, realistic, it is not a well-defined goal. It is not specific. It is not within your control. I would call this the outcome of a process.

More well-defined goals might be, for example, to skate a clean program. Or to achieve your "personal best" score. Or even to land the double Axel in competition. As you enter competition, you may even have multiple small specific goals. In this way, you

focus on the process and execution

Set goals for yourself, whether in training or for competition. Even within your program, make up small goals that you can use to help you focus. Start with the opening jump combination, land it clean. Next, enter your spiral sequence, smile! After that you have a sit spin remember to get low down... Even if you fall short of one goal, get on on the next one.

As you skate, focus on the process of achieving your goals. Focus on the execution. Focus on what you need to do to get *your own* personal best. It is not the outcome that makes an athlete, it is the process, and your attitude to competition. Skate well, and you will have the satisfaction of achieving your perfect program.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Competition Tip #8: Coping with Adversity

To all skaters entering competition, good luck and skate well!

However, like it or not, not everything will go as perfectly as everyone would wish it to be. Still, it is in your power to overcome any imperfections.

[Picture adapted from photo by torophyofeb_2009, on Flickr]

Tip #8: Prepare for adversity

The most common and obvious errors in figure skating, of course, are falls. There can also be other situations that can unnerve you, causing you to lose focus, confidence or composure. You should always

be prepared for adversity

All skaters have fallen on jumps and they know to get right back up and continue skating. Some have fallen on spins, and similarly, they have to get on with your program... but actually, it is a little different, since spins take a much longer time than jumps ~ skaters who miss a spin are allowed to perform a spinning action until the correct point in the music, before continuing. And then there's also me, who totally slipped off the edge in a spiral during competition (how embarrassing!)

If you fall or make errors in your program, remember that you are still in control. You have been working hard preparing for the competition, you know your program, and you know your strengths. The best thing you can do is to focus on the rest of the program. There is a lot more to your ability than the (double) Axel. Show it off!

Apart from your performance errors, there can be technical issues beyond your control. Imagine you just took your starting position and somebody else's music is being played. Or your CD does not play. If the wrong music comes on, you need to inform the judges. Always have a spare CD ready in case the CD you submitted does not play or gets misplaced. When such technical problems occur, it is natural that you may be a bit shaken, a but more nervous. Take a few moments to calm down and refocus yourself before you resume your program. The judges can wait a few seconds, and it will help you regain your composure.

Less commonly, there may be problems with the sound system - or even a problem midway through your CD. So long as your music started and you are already skating your program, you should continue to skate, unless told to stop by the judges. You are not entitled to stop your own program halfway because you submitted the wrong cut of your CD or if your CD skipped a bar or if your CD stopped playing suddenly. Here's a video of a little girl, who completed her program even though her music went out:

What else can go wrong? What if you find a tear in your tights, or your laces snap, or your blade feel loose. Remember to have extra laces, extra tights, a sewing kit, safety pins, screwdriver... they might just come in useful. Don't forget to at least have one practice with your competition dress on ~ at least you can identify any potential problems and have it fixed before competition.

Then there are other external issues you cannot predict. Like getting caught in traffic on your way to the rink, or the MRT breaking down (again!?). You should give yourself plenty of time to get to the rink ~ better be there "too early" than late!

While you cannot imagine all of the things that can go wrong, you can at least prepare yourself for what you can think of!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Competition Tip #7: Positive Attitude

Figure skating is by no means an "easy" sport. Every skater goes through that feeling of "losing" a jump, or having a "bad spin day". When such things happen just before competition, it brings on more stress.

[Picture adapated from photo by David W. Carmichael (]

Tip #7: Be Positive

Your attitude towards what you do is very important. Athletes who adopt a positive attitude can overcome setbacks and stay strong. When you are training or preparing for competition, always

adopt a positive attitude

When you fall on a jump, how do you react? A skater who becomes angry at the fall is focusing on the wrong issue. Instead, focus on how to improve the jump. Thus, rather than being upset at "losing the Axel" during a practice session, think about how to make it more consistent so it will not be "lost" again.

As you run through your program, do you get worked up for not landing a jump, or tripping up your step sequence? Right, mistakes happen, but you cannot turn back the clock and fix it. Missing that opening double-double in your program cannot be undone, but the rest of your program lies ahead... One mistake must not ruin your entire program. Focus on making the rest of the program perfect. The same goes for practice and training. Always move forward and make the next attempt (or element) better.

As you take on a positive attitude in your training and towards the competition, you will find that you will be able to triumph over adversity, resolve problems in your skating and make yourself a better skater!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Competition Tip #6: Visualize

Visualization (or Imagery) is a mental skill used by athletes at all levels to improve the quality of skills, help with athlete's concentration and motivate the athlete.

[Picture adapted from photo by David W. Carmichael (]

Tip #6: Visualization

You can use visualization when you are on the way to the rink, warming up off-ice, or putting on your skates. It helps you prepare mentally for what you will do. To do this, you learn to

visualize your performance

At the skills level, you can think of yourself doing that perfect jump. There are three phases of the jump - take off, air position and landing. Start with the take off - think about how should it feel, what edge are you on, where are your arms, and when is the perfect timing... and "feel" it in your mind, taking off into the jump, the snap into position, keep tight, until... landing with a good check on a flowing edge...

You are probably thinking, that's easier thought than done, but if you can run through the thought process and the feeling in your mind over and over, it will help your body perform it when you are on the ice.

Of course there is also visualization at the program level, where you visualize yourself running through your program. How it feels on each step, where your arms should be, what your body is doing, where you look, etc. Visualizing all these details will make it more natural when you perform the program.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Competition Tip #5: Responsibility

You are responsible for your role as an athlete ~ and that is not "to win the competition".
So what am I talking about?

As an athlete, you are responsible for putting in your best performance at the competition. Winning is the outcome of the process, and your responsibility is not confined to competition day.

Tip #5: Responsibility as an athlete

By Kcr (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Take care of yourself mentally. Take care of yourself physically. Take care of your nutrition. In that way, you can

take on your role as an athlete

Take care of yourself mentally
When you feel prepared, you are confident. Part of being prepared is training well. If you are still feeling jittery about not having enough practise, it is time to write down your training plan leading up to competition. Plan for on ice and off-ice training. Analyse it and re-work it until you are satisfied. Then stick to your plan and trust yourself.

Take care of yourself physically
In the days leading up to the competition, you will be trying to push yourself physically. You will need to pace your training without burning yourself out. Allow for light-training days and rest days for your body recover.

As you train, you owe it to yourself to have the most optimal training session each time. As you enter the rink and warm up off-ice, allow yourself to transition into your role as an athlete. Set aside other issues in school, at work, at home... or even with your friends, skating or otherwise. You need to focus on your own training.

Take care of your nutrition
With all the physical stress you are putting on your body, you must ensure you have sufficient nutrition. After training, you need to replenish calories, so resist the urge to skip meals. Here are a few interesting articles on nutrition:

Finally, love what you do and love yourself. I choose to use this picture partly because of the advertisement in the background... it is so true ~

Love the skin you are in

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Competition Tip #4: Warm-up

On competition day, as you take the ice for your warm-up, it is cold and you are nervous...
You need to warm-up! Not just that, you need to calm your nerves.

Tip #4: Warm-up Routine

Proper warm-up helps to stretch and loosen muscles and tendons, improving your ability to perform. It also helps to mentally prepare you for competition. Before competition day, plan to

have in place a warm-up routine

In fact, as a skater, you should have two - one for off-ice and one for on-ice. As you are waiting for your event, you will be doing some light warm-up off-ice. When it is time for your event, you will have 6 minutes of warm-up on ice.

[Picture adapted from photo by Onちゃん (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons]

Your off-ice warmup should be just sufficient to get your muscles and tendons loose and stretched. When getting on the ice, skaters frequently start with some stroking, step sequence and then move on to other elements in their program. Prepare the sequence in which you want to warm up your elements. Remember that your coach will usually be by the boards to help you too, so you should discuss your plan with your coach.

Once you have your warm-up routines on and off ice, use them when you go to the rink for training!

Here are some links you can use for reference:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Competition Tip #3: Focus

Competition stress gets to everyone. Not just the athlete, but also family and even close friends. The environment you are in does not make it any better.

[Picture adapted from photo by David W. Carmichael (]
You see your competitor land that double sal and you wonder if you will. You hear others gossip about how "simple" your footwork sequence is, or how your spin is "only level 1".

Tip #3: Focus on yourself

I originally wanted to phrase this as "avoid stressful situations" but that is not always possible. Moreover, avoidance is not the best solution. Instead, you need to

focus on your own training

This is not the time to listen to naysayers. This is not the time to worry about whether you should have put a double Sal in your program ~ just because others have it. This is not the time to second-guess what your coach has planned out for you.

 Work on what you have.
   Make your program the best you can.
    Focus on your strengths.
     Train hard ...
        ... and the results will follow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Competition Tip #2: Familiarity breeds success

This may sound like a "duh" tip, but there is more to it than you may think...

[Picture adapted from photo by David W. Carmichael (, via Wikimedia Commons.]
Tip #2:
Familiarity with your program

All skaters perform a program to music, and you must

be intimately familiar with your program

You need to know your program well enough to perform it with ease, with expression, and under any circumstance. You need to know how every part of your program fits in with the music. You need to know the entire sequence of your program. You need to become one with the music.

The program must be so ingrained in you that you can focus on the quality of the execution. Such familiarity with your routine will build your confidence in your ability. Minor disruptions will not bother you ~ so what if you fell on that jump, just get up and continue.

So you're thinking, you have your program, you have practised it over and over, how can you not be familiar with it? Well, ask yourself this question:
If your program was interrupted (for whatever reason), would you be able to resume the program from where you left off?

This was what happened to dance team Yanovskaya/Mozgov at the 2012 Junior World Championships. The strap on Mozgov's pants came loose and the judge stopped the music to have him fix it. They had to start again from where they left off... Though such cases are not common, being familiar with your program will help tremendously in an already tense situation!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Competition Tip #1: Confidence

With 11 more days to the start of the Singapore National Figure Skating Competition, I am beginning to hear expressions of nervousness all around the rink. How prepared are you?

Over the next two weeks, I will be posting one tip a day regarding preparation for competition. Are you ready?

Tip #1: Confidence

Confidence is the knowledge that you are capable of doing something.

Be confident in your ability

You have trained hard, and continue to prepare physically for your competition. As you work on your jump, your spin, your step/spiral sequence and your program, remember that you have the ability to perform.

Yes, you can do each and every element in your program. Banish the thought of "don't fall". Instead, think "stand up" on that jump landing. Keep your attitude positive.

Remember that you are making consistent progress. Though your road to progress may be bumpy (who doesn't have a "bad spin day" or a "bad jump day"?) you must focus on the fact that you are training to improve.

Whenever you step on the ice, skate like your best!


[Picture adapted from photo by Rich Moffitt from Boston, USA (Sasha Cohen in a very high jump) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Spirit of a Competitive Athlete

"You're too old. You're too slow. You're past your prime."

Lim Heem Wei is Singapore's first gymnast to qualify for the Olympic games. Like figure skating, gymnastics is a sport where the average age of female competitors is usually in the teens. At the age of 22, Lim shows that "too old" is only in the mind.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Skating order for 2012 Singapore National Figure Skating Championship

The skating order, drawn at the SISA gathering on Sat 10 Mar 2012, is available on the SISA website, at "11th Singapore National Figure Skating Championships and Competition Skating Order"

Good luck to all skaters!

Champion Cords

How many times have we coaches say "your arm was not moving with your foot" only to have our skaters say "yes it was! I moved them together". As a coach, I have tried taking a video (thank goodness for camera phones!) to prove to the skater… Still, the problem couldn't always be solved immediately as the skater did *feel* like they were moving them together.

In the spring of 2003, in the midst of a similar coaching session, Sheila Thelen told a skater, “I’m going to tie your left hand and left foot together, so you are forced to move – as a unit.” She then proceeded to get a section of bungee cord, knotted one end around the skater’s boot, and tied another knot at the other end of the cord in a loop to create a handle. The skater went on to land 10 axels in that lesson!
Sheila says,
The skater came back each time saying very important words to her coach, such as: “Now I know where my left foot goes in midair.” “Look what this cord does for my landings – now I’m doing the landings the way YOU wanted them.” “I think I’m really getting the hang of this!” Of course, the most pertinent comment the skater made was: “This bungee cord really works great! I can FEEL in midair!”

Sheila tried the idea on several other skaters and saw improvement to their skating. Over the next many months, Sheila worked tirelessly, sourcing for material, designing the cords and also working on a patent for her new product as well as obtaining endorsement from the Professional Skaters Association (PSA). Thus, Champion Cords was born!

What does Sheila encourage coaches and skaters to use Champion Cords for?

Singles, doubles, triples, quads, spirals, moves in the field, flying camels, laybacks, split jumps, camels, stroking, crossovers, presentation, posture, alignment, position, muscle memory, awareness and technique.
It has helped skaters understand and experience alignment and stretch while skating. Sheila also notes that
Most skaters wear their Champion Cords for a half hour a day, two times per week. Champion Cords teaches seminars across the country, helping skaters learn a very difficult sport - better, stronger, and faster: Alignment, Position, Muscle Memory, Awareness & Technique.

What else can be done with Champion Cords? Here's a cool video

Over the years, Champion Cords gained recognition and are used by notable skating professionals, including Audrey Weisiger (National/World/Olympic Coach PSA & USFS Coach Of The Year), Frank Carroll (National/World/Olympic Coach PSA & USFS Coach Of The Year), and Robin Wagner (Coach of Olympic Champion, Sara Hughes, and National/World/Olympic Coach). Champion Cords are also used by over 70,000 coaches and skaters throughout the United States and throughout the world, with sales to countries like Italy, England, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, China, Japan, South America, Finland, Canada, Australia, France, Dubai, Russia, etc.

Champion Cords is now on Facebook!

In 2006, Sheila joined Grassroots To Champions (“G2C”), which is a highly skilled group of Olympic/World/National coaches, each teaching different top specialties in figure skating. Figure skating clubs of all different sizes and levels (from very small clubs with beginning skaters through large clubs with National/World/Olympic skaters) schedule seminars for their faculty/facility. To these seminars, Audrey brings in her favorites: Nick Perna, a specialist in “Pole/Safety Harness Usage,” Chris Conte, a specialist in “Dartfish” (a technical computer feedback and analysis system), Trevor Laak, a specialist in “Jumps analysis,” and Sheila Thelen, the “Champion Cord” specialist. Additional specialists include: Dr. Caroline Silby, Pasquale Camerlego, Darin Hosier, Kat Arbor, Douglas Webster, Doug Mattis, and Tommy Steenberg. These G2C seminars are taught all over the United States and around the world.


Sheila Thelen is a PSA Master-Rated Coach and Skating Director at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center in Stillwater, Minnesota. She is also the Executive Director of Grassroots To Champions Seminars. Recently, she was nominated for the 2010 Peter Kollen - US FS/PSA Sports Science Award.

Additional projects that Sheila Thelen is involved in include, new blade designs with Nick Perna (in production),, Dartfish Training, Staff Member at Parade Ice Gardens (Downtown Minneapolis, MN), Monthly PSA Article. She was recently nominated for the 2010 Peter Kollen - US FS/PSA Sports Science Award.

You can learn more or order product from: Champion Cords: Audrey Weisiger’s Grassroots To Champions:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

SISA Gathering

On a Saturday morning, Singapore skaters gathered at the Orchid Country club, at an event hosted by the Singapore Ice Skating Association (SISA). We started with a welcome address by SISA president Sonja Chong, after which SISA vice president Kaori Zage gave an overview of the SkateStar program. She also unveiled the new SISA logo, which was selected from entries submitted during the logo contest last year. The winning logo was designed by figure skater Genevieve Har!

The draw for the upcoming Singapore National Figure Skating Competition was held next, where skaters from the various event categories came up to draw their skating order.

After the draw, Mr Kevin Cottam gave an inspirational talk on the 5 ingredients for success. Kevin is

  • Vision
  • Drive
  • Passion
  • Practice
  • Talent

During the luncheon that followed, SISA exco had a question-and-answer session with the skaters and parents. There was interest in the new Olympic ice rink in JCube, as well as in the new SkateStar program. The rink will begin operation in April and SISA is working on obtaining freestyle ice time, though schedules are not fixed yet. The skating community is looking forward to having a safe and friendly environment to train in!

Friday, March 09, 2012

RInk in Progress ~ Nice

The rink in Nice is being made for the World Figure Skating Championships later this month!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

JCube's Olympic Ice Skating Rink

As announced on JCube's Facebook page this evening, Singapore will finally have an Olympic rink in April! Can't wait :-)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Junior Worlds 2012 - Mens

Han Yan from China, in a magnificent free skate program at the Junior World Championships. He start off with an easy triple Axel, followed by a quad toe loop, and later two triple Lutzes and two triple Lutzes.

In close second was United States' Joshua Farris, who opened with a triple Axel-double toe followed by another triple Axel.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Junior World Championships 2012 Ladies

Julia Lipnitskaia came in first in the Ladies event.

Beautiful long program


Here's her short program.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Tai Babilonia Skates on eBay!

Seen on eBay ~ "Custom Ice Skates from World Champion Tai Babilonia"

The description says

The skates are in pristine condition with little signs of use, these skates were made custom for Tai Babilonia. Tai Reina Babilonia (born September 22, 1959 in Los Angeles, California) is a retired American pair skater. With partner Randy Gardner, she was the 1979 World Champion and the 1976-1980 U.S. national champion. Tai Babilonia will personally autograph any personalized message for the winner of the auction on both the skates and the book, don't miss this one in a lifetime opportunity to own an amazing piece of memorabilia from one of the most graceful ice skaters ever to compete on the world stage.

They are auctioning for US$14,500 ... really? who would pay so much for a pair of skates? Plus she hardly used them? If you want custom SP Teri skates, you can get them made for less than one-tenth that price - and to fit your feet too!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

World Junior Championships 2012 Preliminary Rounds

The World Junior Championships 2012 is happening at Minsk, Belarus. Over the last two days, the preliminary rounds were held in which the top skaters proceed to compete in the championships.

Kaetlyn Osmond won the Ladies Preliminary round with a fantastic skate:

In the Men's preliminary round, Nam Nguyen from Canada came in first, while Shari Koch/Christian Nüchtern from Germany took first in the Ice Dance Preliminary Round and Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin won the Pairs Preliminary Round.

Full report on the ISU page.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Skating at Sea Seminar ~ for Adult Skaters

Calling all Adult Skaters - The first ever Skating at Sea Seminar is set to sail on Oct 27th on the Oasis of the Seas. This 7 day experience is sure to create great memories. Your coaching staff on board will be Audrey Weisiger and Sheila Thelen.

Planned by ex-figure skater, volunteer and skating mom Nancy Raymond, this first Skating at Sea seminar will be on the ship "Oasis of the Seas", sailing on 27 Oct 2012 from Port Canaveral, FL.

The rink on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

Visit their Facebook page

For further information and to reserve your spot please contact:
Nancy Raymond/Cruise Planners
508.865.4939 or 508.769.1158
*This exclusive clinic can only be booked through Nancy Raymond/Cruise Planners

Thursday, February 23, 2012

JCube Mall to open 2 April 2012

As reported in Chinese language paper 联合早报 (LianHe ZaoBao) on Wednesday (22 Feb), the new JCube Mall will open on 2 April 2012. It will have our first Olympic ice skating rink.

The JCube mall opening is also reported in My Paper on the same day. Here's the snippet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The 7th Malaysian Figure Skating Championships

** This is a guest post written by coach Cheryl Khoo **

A total of 11 skaters from Singapore competed at the 7th Malaysian Figure Skating Championship held at Sunway Pyramid Ice on the 17th and 18th February 2012. They were accompanied by two coaches. This is my 2nd time bringing a team out as a coach for an ISU competition.

Skaters :

  • Lena Helou (Represented ISAM)
  • Tala Helou (Represented ISAM)
  • Akari Kinoshita (Represented Japan Skating Federation)
  • Ayako Nonaka (Represented Japan Skating Federation)
  • Melinda Ang (Singapore)
  • Rachel Chong (Singapore)
  • Alexandra Iona Skillen (Singapore)
  • Alexandra Crombie (Singapore)
  • Rong Joe (Singapore)
  • Johanna Ekman (Sweden)
  • Filippa Ekman (Sweden)

Coaches :

  • Sunny Man
  • Cheryl Khoo

We arrived at Sunway and checked into our hotel at about 5pm in the afternoon on Wednesday, 15th February 2012. Melinda, Rachel, Ayako, Alexandra and myself stayed in 2 rooms that were interconnected.

The skaters had their first public session in a very crowded rink at 5.30pm. They needed to get used to the ice and familiarize themselves with their programs in the rink before their Thursday morning ice time. This was where the tension for competition built up among the skaters. Despite my advice to take it easy to just feel the ice and fitting their program into the rink, the skaters were hammering jumps and spins and constantly coming to me for advice. This was when I knew, the skaters felt the pressure of competition. The girls had an early night to prepare for a 7am ice time.

The best part of having interconnecting rooms is that the coach jumps on the students to wake up in time for their ice time especially when it is early in the morning. We had two 45-minute sessions, in which I split the high level and lower level up to ensure that we have optimal training time on the ice. During these 2 sessions, skaters were starting to find momentum building up to the competition. Some had clean practices but some were still struggling with their jumps and spins. You could see the worried looks on their faces after the practices.

As a young coach, I felt the need to be there for my skaters, on and off the ice. I would relate my previous competitive experience with them to give them confidence going into competition. Telling them there was no time to doubt themselves at that moment, it was the “do or die” attitude that they must have. Mentioning to them that as parents and coaches, this is so much we can do, we have worked so hard for them. The rest is all up to them to showcase and perform. That was their moment.

The girls would go for their breakfast together after every morning practice ice time to wind down and relax before heading for their second practice of the day for another one and a half hours. During this practice, the skaters made friends with the other competitors and I met many other coaches from other countries, including Craig Heath whom I once went to Hong Kong to train with. It was not only a good experience for me to see the various level of competition, but also the different style and techniques coaches use to help skaters with technique and even mentally.

Having Alexandra Crombie, who turns 9 this year, traveling alone with us was a little bit of a challenge. She is a very active kid who is constantly moving around and being very picky with food. The best moment was watching Lena Helou telling her to finish eating her breakfast during Friday morning breakfast table. Usually I would take on that role. But nevertheless, she was the happy kid in our team who is always smiling and making us laugh.

Tala Helou, 5, the youngest competitor in the competition, is another energizer bunny who always runs around with Alexandra Crombie. Both of them brought laughter and joy to the team. This bonded the team together.

As the start of the event approached on Friday, I decided to skate with the skaters on their last public practice before the start of the event. I wanted to take their mind off the competition and just relax. Competition is not only about competing, but it is also the fun they have on and off the ice as a team. I challenged all of them to different jumps and told them if I land the jump that they are doing, they got to land it to. It was not only a challenge to them, but also for me who had stop practicing 7 months ago. I think this session really did the trick.

When events came, the skaters handled the pressure better. They were calm going into warm up. When they stepped on the ice to perform, I emphasized that this is their moment and they should skate the best they could and finish the program with no regrets. Yes, there were tears, but I told them all we could do is working on consistency and doing it at that one chance.

Overall, everyone did great in their performance with good feedback reflected in their scores. It gave me confidence as a coach to keep pushing myself and my skaters to not only improve in the jumps and the spins, but also overall as a skater. To persevere, take on challenges and to live and enjoy the moment. In sport, it is not about winning, but about doing your best and performing at your best at the moment. As a coach, all I can ask for is my student to take back each experience and work on them. Work on the process rather than worry about the outcome.

The highlight of the event was watching the juniors and senior skaters competing. Landing triple jumps and double axel in the rink that is about the same size as kallang ice world. It was simply inspirational and breathtaking. Especially for the skaters who have yet to see triple jumps before them, and not on youtube.

At the end of the competition, some of the girls had a sleepover at my room to enjoy the last night before the start of a new week. Some of them had to fly back to Singapore for their regular Sunday plans. Overall, I think it was a productive and good trip for the skaters and a good(?) preparation for the Singapore Nationals 2012.

Over here in Singapore, I would like to thank all parents for their support and hard work in sending the skaters to the rink and preparing their costume, make up and being mentally there for the skaters. Without them, this trip would not be as successful.

Results of the Malaysian Nationals are at:

** Cheryl Khoo is a full time undergraduate student at Nanyang Technological University pursuing a degree in Sports Science and Management. She coaches part time at Kallang Ice World and is training to compete at the ISU International Adult Figure Skating Competition in Germany as soon as she is eligible. Cheryl has her sights aimed on being a competitive skater as well as a high-performance coach.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rink roof collapses during hockey training

A youth ice hockey team was training on a newly-opened rink in Slovakia when the roof collapsed under heavy snow.

Report on The Telegraph Roof Collapses on Ice Hockey Rink as Players Train

Sunday, February 19, 2012

ISU Adult Skating Working Group

The ISU Adult Skating Working Group has launched its website (still "unofficial") at

ISU Adult Figure Skating

With Rhea Schwartz as the coordinator, this working group has been hard at work to bring recognition to adult skating in the ISU and around the world.

Recently, I had the chance to chat with a few "skating mothers" - currently defined as mothers who have a child skating. It is not unheard of for such mothers to take up skating themselves, and eventually outlast the skating child in the sport. Perhaps future "skating mothers" might be actually mothers who are skating themselves!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

10 Lessons Lin can Teach Us...

From, "Just Lin, Baby! 10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning". The points are
  1. Believe in yourself when no one else does
  2. Seize the opportunity when it comes up
  3. Your family will always be there for you, so be there for them
  4. Find the system that works for your style
  5. Don’t overlook talent that might exist around you today on your team
  6. People will love you for being an original, not trying to be someone else
  7. Stay humble
  8. When you make others around you look good, they will love you forever
  9. Never forget about the importance of luck or fate in life
  10. Work your butt off

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Athletes & Science

Science and technology has changed our world. Its impact is also evident in sports where research enhances understanding of how our body works and how best to harness its potential. New technology has led to improved equipment for better performance as well as novel training aids to assist in training.
* this is a part of a series of virtual exhibitions by the Olympic Museum

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Champion in the Mind

Champion in the Mind brings us through the building of a champion in three stages

  Motivation ~ the flame and desire in a young athlete

  Preparation ~ the training, building up an athlete

  Creation ~ the pressure in the game

* this is a part of a series of virtual exhibitions by the Olympic Museum

A champion athlete has a strong mind to see him through these stages. Even from the early stage, there will always be times when the athlete is down. This virtual exhibition reminds athletes of the importance of mental training and being strong mentally.