Alissa Czisny: A Skater Renewed
In Paris Alissa¬ís performance was not as good as in Canada. She was fourth after the short, six points away from first place. Her long wasn¬ít perfect either; only her first three jumps (the first two in combination with double toe loops) were clean, while the second part of the program had many errors in jumps, a fall, and the wrong edge was called on both of her flips. She was fourth after the long too, but overall she succeeded in medaling which qualified her for the Grand Prix Final in China. She told the press that she was really excited reach the Final again and she hopes to skate better programs there.
Picking up the baton from Suzie, I decided to ask Alissa more questions about her life on and off the ice: how she became the Queen of Spins, why she chose to study Russian and if she prefers to skate in ¬ďsimple¬Ē competitions like the Sectionals or if she likes it better when the level of her rivals is higher.
Lately a lot of changes have taken place in your life: you changed coaches and you changed two of your programs, which you don¬ít usually do. You also changed your life off the ice: you moved and live alone now. How is it going for you?
It¬ís going well. I feel like it has given me a new beginning to my skating. In a way it has helped me to be a little more independent. Skating is my career ¬Ė this is what I want to do for a living and what I want to do in my future because I enjoy it. It has helped find a new perspective as well.
When you say it¬ís what you want to do for living does this mean that when you quit competitive skating, you want to stay in skating and maybe coach or choreograph?
I enjoy skating and I would love to skate in shows after I¬ím done with competing and then who knows what happens after that ¬Ė I don¬ít know!
What to you is different about skating in shows and skating in competitions?
I enjoy both. Obviously there¬ís less pressure for placement in shows. I think the audience comes to shows for a performance and that¬ís what I really try to give them, but I try to bring that to my competitions as well.
One of your most impressive elements is spinning. I would say that you are definitely the Queen of Spins. What is your secret?
Lots of hard work. I couldn¬ít tell you why, but when I was young my sister and I spent a lot of time working on all of the elements of our skating; we didn¬ít just focus on the jumps. We enjoyed spinning, so we put a lot of emphasis on our spins and I think that gave me a really good base for my spins now.
Do you have any ¬ďtrademark¬Ē spins? Did you invent a new spin?
My sister and I came up with many unique spins. A lot of them are not possible under the new judging system. You can only do so much because of the rules and this restrains new spins, but I just try to make the ones that I have good so I can go and skate +3 on all of them.
I checked your official site and I noticed that the last journal entry was made way back in June 2009. What happened?
I don¬ít know. It¬ís hard for me to update because I have a private life and I¬ím not a very public person, so I don¬ít update it as much as I should.
But you can share the experience of competitions. Nobody expects to find secrets there.
Yes, it¬ís true. I should do that. Maybe I¬íll do that after the season is finished.
In general, how are you with the Internet?
I use it. I live on my own and I also don¬ít own a TV. I can¬ít watch TV, so I¬ím on the Internet for different things, but still I prefer face to face interaction. I use [the Internet] more for information.
I read that you majored in International Studies, specifically in French and Russian.
I started out at Bowling Green State University and that was my major. Then I moved out to Detroit in the meantime, but I had a full scholarship at that college so they offered an online Bachelor course on Liberal Studies, which is just a general degree, and that¬ís what I ended up getting my Bachelor¬ís degree in.
But why Russian?
I enjoy learning languages. I enjoy travelling and getting to know different cultures. I¬íve been able to do that thanks to skating and I want to be able to continue doing that. I chose these languages because I took French in high school, so I already had a base in French, and there are so many Russian speaking people in skating. Next I want to learn Japanese.
I also read that because of the results at Nationals last year you needed to take part in Sectionals. How was it?
With the Grand Prix Final coming, it will be the fourth competition in seven weeks. It was a little bit difficult to train for this competition when I had to do the Sectionals as well. Each competition can be a learning experience for me, especially with the new changes in technique, having a new perspective, and wanting to relearn how to compete and to learn what my weaknesses are so we can fix them for important competitions like the US Nationals and Worlds.
So was it easy because you were much better than others? Or was it rather hard because you really had no competition?
It was hard because of the process of coming down from Canada and having to train for this competition, so I wasn¬ít as prepared as I wanted to be, but it was also a little easier because I knew that there was no competition; it was really for my own sake. But I still wanted to skate well.
Do competitions usually cause stress?
Sometimes, but I think the level of competition brings up the level of everyone¬ís skating.
Nationals are coming. Is it going to be tough?
That¬ís the big competition for me because we only have two spots for the World Championships, so it will be a tough competition.
Who would you name as your main rivals?
Probably Mirai (Nagasu) and Rachel Flatt.
So if you know they¬íre your main rivals, do you check out their results and performances?
I obviously saw Mirai because she skated after me here, but in general, I don¬ít. I can¬ít control anyone else¬ís skating but I can control my own skating. I can¬ít control the outcome, so I just want to focus on my own skating and to really reach my own potential.
Congratulations to the new Grand Prix Final Champion! We wish Alissa success in continuing to reach her potential and to fulfill her goals this season... Best of Luck to you, Alissa!