Kerry cements Australian presence in PyeongChangSkater credits Gambill, competitive training environment for improvement
With his 15th-place finish at the 2017 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, Brendan Kerry secured a men's spot for Australia at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Moreover, his performances at worlds, where he also posted personal-best scores for the short program and free skate, were well-received by fans and media alike.
Icenetwork talked with the 22-year-old about his recent achievements, his overall impressions of this past season, earning a spot for his country at the PyeongChang Games and his family's Olympic roots.
Icenetwork: This past season was your best one so far. What were some of the most important moments in it for you?
Brendan Kerry: One of the highlights for me would be the 2017 Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, where for the first time I successfully completed both a quad salchow and a quad toe in the same program. However, the biggest highlight for me, hands down, was the world championships, where I scored personal bests, got my highest worlds finish and also qualified a spot for Australia at the 2018 Olympics.
Icenetwork: You gave impressive performances at worlds, especially in the short program. Tell us about the improvements you made in your skating this year.
Kerry: I've been able to hit quads and whatnot for a number of years now; however, I haven't been the most consistent skater with those jumps up until this season. The biggest difference was the approach my coach (Tammy Gambill) and I took going into this season. We knew I could do quads when I felt fresh, so we started upping the number of programs and sections with the quads so that I knew I could hit them in competitions when dealing with the added stress of nerves and while feeling fatigued.
Icenetwork: What does qualifying a men's spot at the 2018 Winter Olympics mean to you?
Kerry: It was probably the biggest highlight of my career so far. The level of skating in all disciplines right now is unbelievable. For me to be able to represent my country and solidify our presence in figure skating at the next Olympics is of huge significance. Australia is beginning to have a lot more success in winter sports, and to be an athlete who is helping with that success makes me very proud.
Icenetwork: What is your opinion on the development of skating in your country?
Kerry: Australia is doing very well throughout all disciplines at the moment. We had skaters in three different disciplines compete at worlds, all of whom did very well. We earned international medals throughout the season, and all of Australia's skaters are improving at a remarkable rate.
Icenetwork: How did figure skating come into your life?
Kerry: Figure skating has always been in my life, as my mother competed in ice dance at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. It wasn't until I was around 9 or so that I took an interest. Nothing special happened around that time; it's just kind of like a switch went off inside of me and I had a desire to give it a go.
Icenetwork: Did having a mother involved in competitive skating influence your sports choice somehow?
Kerry: There was never any expectation or pressure put on me or my sisters to become skaters. We just kind of wandered our way into the sport by ourselves.
Icenetwork: You competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics but did not reach the free skate. I assume your goals are much higher for PyeongChang?
Kerry: 2014 had many up and downs with regard to the Games. I don't feel like I'm merely a participant on the big stages anymore. I think I am in a position with my skating where people are beginning to take notice. With that in mind, my goals for the upcoming season and at the 2018 Olympic Games are far higher than the less-than-satisfying result I put out last time around.
Icenetwork: Tell us about your collaboration with your coach, Tammy Gambill.
Kerry: Tammy is amazing. She knows how to physically prepare each of her skaters based on their strengths, personalities and skating styles. I owe my huge turnaround since 2014 to her and her desire to help me achieve my best. It also helps being around so many other amazing skaters that also learn from her. The positive competitive training environment is priceless to me.
Icenetwork: What are your plans for the offseason?
Kerry: My main focus is to become a lot stronger off the ice so I can avoid injuries once the season starts up. Another is to increase the number of quads I can compete as well as improve the consistency of the ones I can already do.
Icenetwork: Do you have any ideas about themes or music for your new programs?
Kerry: My choreographer and I have a couple of ideas in mind for programs this season. However, we don't have anything concrete yet, as we would prefer to meet up and discuss, and play around with different ideas once we're on the ice together.
Icenetwork: Next season is an especially important one for everyone. I'm sure you have big plans for it. Tell us about them.
Kerry: My main goals are to consistently compete well and to up my technical difficulty while trying to become a more exciting performer for the judges and audiences. I want to put myself in the best position possible for the 2018 Olympics.