Razzano retires from sport, reflects fondly on careerLongtime U.S. competitor looking forward to moving on to next phase in life
Douglas Razzano has been a competitive figure skater for the last 17 years. His career highlights include qualifying for the Junior Grand Prix Final in 2007, winning five senior international medals and placing a career-best fifth at the 2012 U.S. Championships. He is announcing his retirement from the sport.
Never in my life could I have imagined that I would feel so at peace with the decision to give up skating competitively. After all, it's all I have known for 17 years.
But it is because I am so at peace that I feel my decision is "right." Candidly, the most difficult part of this process was pressing "send" on the email to the chair of U.S. Figure Skating's International Committee, Wendy Enzmann, and, thus, making the decision final. Now, several days after that email was fired off into cyberspace, I am happy to report that I'm still good!
While skating has opened so many doors in my life, there are many other avenues I have wanted to explore but couldn't because I was training full time. I didn't win any major titles in my skating career, but that isn't how I define my success on the ice. I would have loved to have been a U.S. champion, but I can move away from competing knowing that I have followed my heart. I am listening to it now that it has told me: "No more."
My fondest skating memory is, and always will be, my 2014 U.S. Championships free skate, which I performed to Turandot, in Boston. Not only was it so monumental to me in the moment, but it was even more special because I felt as if I brought myself out of the trenches from the season before (he finished 12th at the 2013 U.S. Championships) and redeemed myself. It was a culmination of those feelings, the pressure of the Olympic season, an amazingly emotional performance and a standing ovation that still, to this day, sends shivers through me and, thus, makes it the most special moment of my career.
I will certainly miss the opportunity to create those moments that bring people to their feet, when you do something magical when the stakes are at their highest. There is really no better feeling in the world.
I will also miss the structure that competing and training brought to my daily life. I am an extremely regimented person, so it has been strange not to be obligated to go into the rink every day. Despite that, I still feel the guilt when I don't go in for my session in the morning!
On the other hand, I, hands down, won't miss the moments after my name is announced and I know I'm on live television about to start my free skate, standing in the starting position at center ice, hearing the clicks of the cameras in a silent arena, praying that my music doesn't start yet. People who have not gone through this have no idea how stressful those moments are.
Just because I won't be out on the ice at the U.S. championships, where I have competed since my days as a novice back in 2004, doesn't mean I am leaving the sport.
I have lots plans for my post-competition life. First, I will start teaching more now that I have the time and don't have to work around my training schedule. I have been doing a lot of choreography for skaters at my rink. Already this year, I've done five programs for skaters ranging from pre-preliminary to senior, and will be starting three more in the next few weeks. It is definitely something I enjoy doing and want to pursue for a long time. I also will teach at a few seminars throughout the summer and fall.
I have several shows lined up this summer, including the Saturday night show in Lake Placid on the Fourth of July! Two weeks later, I will perform in the US Athletic Foundation's fifth annual "An Evening on Ice," which includes a cast that is just simply ridiculous...in a good way, of course! Joining me on the ice will be Olympian Gracie Gold, world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, world silver medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates, two-time U.S. champion Alissa Czisny and so many more. I've also been offered some opportunities to perform in other shows later this year, so you definitely haven't seen the last of me on the ice!
I am going to start working toward earning technical panel appointments, which is something I can do and still retain my status as a coach and choreographer. I plan to remain actively involved in the Athletes Advisory Committee and the Athlete Development Committee. Being able to interact with younger athletes is something I love to do.
Away from the rink, I would like to pursue modeling. Print modeling, of course, as you won't see this 5-foot-7 guy strutting down a runway any time soon...nor do I have the desire to go that route.
Looking back on my career, I've been so lucky to have the most amazing support system I could have ever asked for. My coaches, Doug and Lara Ladret, Grant Rorvick, Ben Agosto and Lynne Petta -- I am forever grateful for the guidance, support and love they've shown me during my 17-year career. My friends, new and old, have been so invaluable during my entire career. It was always the best feeling to know that my peers have been through, or were going through, the exact same trials and tribulations as I was. My rink, the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Arizona, has been instrumental in allowing me to continue to train for so many years. My family has sacrificed so much so that I could pursue this crazy dream of mine. Finally, the person who has supported me unwaveringly during my entire skating journey, which, at times, seemed like a wild roller-coaster ride -- my mother, Arlene. She is my biggest fan and the person I go to for advice at a moment's notice. I love her so much, and I am fortunate beyond words to have her in my corner.
If there's anything I've learned over these years, it's this: That despite all the doubters, the haters and any negative influences you encounter, if you love to do something, don't let anything stop you or get in your way of doing it. I haven't had the most consistent career and have dealt with all of those things I just mentioned. Still, I have had the opportunity to compete all over the world, with the best in the world, which is something so few people have a chance to do, and I will never, ever take those times for granted. They are experiences that I will keep with me forever and always remember and was able to have because I refused to give up or give in to negativity. Don't skate to get things; skate because you love to skate and strive to be the absolute best you can be, in and out of the rink.
Thank you to U.S. Figure Skating, my mom, my family, my friends, my coaches and choreographers, my sponsors, my costume makers, my sports psychologists, my doctors, the Ice Den, the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona, IMG, my fans and everyone else who helped me on my long journey.
I am grateful to the moon and back for all of you.