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Ask Nancy - Nov. 12

Nancy Kerrigan answers your questions!

Nancy Kerrigan at the "Blades of Glory" premiere.
Nancy Kerrigan at the "Blades of Glory" premiere. (Wire Image)

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(11/12/2007) - From the same tired, old music to why Caroline Zhang's triples were downgraded at Skate America, Nancy Kerrigan has got all the answers in this week's Ask Nancy.

Marci: I would really like it if you could let us know who did the choreography for a skater and who their coaches are during your commentary.

I am an adult senior skater at age 62 (started at 51) who has more passion than talent. I love the glide on the ice.

I found your book with the water rehabilitation very helpful while I was off the ice for seven months recovering from micro-fracture surgery on my knee. I had the surgery so I could continue to skate and compete. What we won't do for something we love!

You are doing a good job of commentary. Thanks

NK: One of the great things about skating is that it is truly a sport for a lifetime. I am glad you discovered the joys of being on the ice, and I am glad that I could be of help to you in overcoming your injuries. As for giving you the choreographers and the coaches, thanks for this suggestion! We will try to incorporate it into the commentary whenever we can. We don't always get that information, but we will make a special effort to find this out more often. Keep enjoying your time on the ice. I am now skating with my kids, and it is a great way to spend time with them.

Joy: Hi!

What's a toe wally and whatever happened to it?

NK: The toe wally is still a jump that many skaters perform, however it is so close to a toe-loop that people tend not to differentiate it anymore. In fact, the actual take off into the air is the same for both jumps. I will try to address this issue on an upcoming icenetwork show.

Jim: Just want to say, I enjoyed your commentary while watching Skate America on icenetwork.com. You did a great job on the play-by-play action, describing the elements, and their value to the judging system. Did you enjoy it?

NK: I have really enjoyed doing commentary for the last several years. Whether it was on Lifetime or on Nancy Kerrigan's World of Skating or on icenetwork. It is both fun and interesting for me to remain involved in the competitive side of the sport through television. I find that it is challenging to try to describe to the viewer what is going on out on the ice in a way that they can perhaps better understand the pressures on the skaters, and what is going on for the skater as they go through their program. It isn't easy to present the sport in a new way, but we try to add some elements every time we go live on the air.

Lisa: What do you do when a seemingly consistent program all of a sudden goes haywire? About two weeks ago, it was strong, consistent, and confident, this past week it has been an utter mess! I am consistently falling on my best jumps, I am short on my spin rotations, and in general my program has been shaky. I am really trying to stay positive and regain my confidence, but I am having a competition in a few weeks, so I am getting nervous. Help! Any advice you could provide would be extremely appreciated.

NK: It sounds like you are thinking too much about the competition, and not just focusing on your skating. You know that you can do the various elements of your program, so the fact that you are having trouble sounds more like nerves than anything else. A few things that might help in this situation are: first and foremost remember always to enjoy your skating. If you are enjoying it, you will be thinking about different things other than the upcoming event. Second, I find that smiling tends to relax me, so when I was competing, I often watched or listened to comedy before performing. They say that smiling relaxes your whole body; I think that is true. Finally, when you are skating your program always take it one thing at a time. Don't look ahead in your program. After you finish one element, think about the next one and keep your focus on what is directly in front of you. All of these things will hopefully calm your nerves and allow you to do what you already know that you are trained to do. Good luck.

Rose: We were amazed to hear that for Caroline Zhang's free skate at Skate America, that five of her triple jumps were downgraded to doubles because they were under-rotated. Did we hear that right? How is it possible for a skater to have come so far in competitions without her jumps being fully rotated? Is the standard different for a senior grand prix event that other competition? And in the short program, how did Miki Ando get a higher score than Caroline? Caroline's combination jump was a triple-triple and she had a clean program, but Ando's combination was a triple-double and she fell in the step-sequence. Is this a case of the message being to Caroline, "It's not your turn yet"?

What do you think?

NK: These are all very good questions. Not being in the judges seat, I am not quite sure what was going on in their marking of Caroline, but I must say that I agree that her marks could have and should have been higher. I thought she skated quite well and showed tremendous promise as an elite skater. In fact, it is arguable that she could have won Skate America. Having said that, I hope she doesn't let questions like yours get into her head, which is going to be easier said than done. She is young and has great promise. I am looking forward to watching her progress. She is a real talent.

Connie: What do you think about Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir?

NK: I think we are very fortunate to have two great skaters competing against each other in the United States. These are two very talented, very strong skaters who hopefully will push each other to maximize their talent. What is interesting is that they have such different styles, which both are very appealing. I look for a very close competition at the U.S. Championships in January.

Laticia: Skaters seem to use the same old, tired music all the time in competitions. Is it really so taboo to use rock or pop music? What do you think about musical selection and how did you used to choose your music. Is this something you think will be updated as the sport progresses? I would love to see people skate to more modern music.

NK: This is an interesting question and one which we discuss often. I am a big proponent of using a variety of musical selections. I have spent hours over my career trying to choose the music that I felt was right for me. I also find it curious when someone decides to skate to music that has been used by others, and performed so well. For example, I think "Bolero" belongs to Torville and Dean. Similarly, "Carmen" is Katarina Witt's. So, in some respects, I wish that certain music would be "retired" after someone performs it so spectacularly. Having said that, finding and editing the right music for your performance is time consuming and expensive. It requires a certain ear to hear the nuances in the music and a great editor to cut the piece just right. I was lucky to have Mary Scotvold overseeing all of that for me. She had a great talent in that area. So, given the rules (not allowed to use words), the time and financial constraints, I am not surprised that we tend to see some of the same pieces used over and over again. Certain music has become almost standard in skating circles and I can understand it, and in some ways even see the benefit of it. But even with that in mind, I tend to agree with you that injecting new sounds into the sport would only be a plus.