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Ten in 2010 has a nice ring to it

Canadian tweets to engage fans in run-up to Olympics

Jeremy Ten is excited to skate to The Beatles and Queen this season.
Jeremy Ten is excited to skate to The Beatles and Queen this season. (courtesy U.S. Figure Skating)

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By Laurie Nealin, special to icenetwork.com
(06/29/2009) - Ever wonder what life is like for an Olympic hopeful who actually lives in the city where the Games will be held?

Well, now that Vancouver's Jeremy Ten is tweeting on Twitter (twitter.com/j3r3bear), everyone can get an up-close-and-personal glimpse into the life of an athlete focussed on earning the designation of "Olympian" in his home town in February, 2010.

In mini info-bites, Ten shares the excitement of heading to Toronto to have his new programs choreographed by David Wilson, for instance, while also posting some interesting tidbits about the skating world.

Chinese pair Qing Pang and Jian Tong, for example, were also in Toronto working on new programs when Ten arrived.

"I'm like a kid in a candy store right now," he tweeted about the experience of watching the veterans in action.

"It's random thoughts that I feel like sharing, something for the fans to get to know me as a person. I believe that is so important because the fans are what keep our sport going, as well as the volunteers. I just am doing it as a way to give them a way to contact me -- if they'd like to -- and to know who I am," Ten said.

Ten, whose breakthrough season saw him land on the nationals podium and earn his first shot at Four Continents and the world championships, lets fans in on the quirky minutia of his life. For anyone who cares to know, his phone bill for May tallied $0.24, and he suffered a burnt tongue drinking tea at Starbucks. Molson's dropped off a case of 24 of its iconic beer -- Canadian -- as compensation for Ten not being selected for their fund-a-champion program. And on it goes.

Living in the city where the Olympics is a work-in-progress means reminders of the Games are everywhere. Ten does not have to imagine what it will be like at the Olympics; he can already see it and feel it.

"I was coming home from Toronto the other day, and at the airport you see these huge, lit-up Olympic rings as you drive away from the terminal. Downtown there is the countdown clock, posters everywhere, and there is the Olympics heading on the newspaper. You are just constantly being reminded. It makes it all that much more exciting, more powerful," said Ten, who won the national junior title in 2007.

For Ten's Olympic-season routines, he and Wilson settled on two pieces of music which are sure to be crowd pleasers -- The Beatles' "Come Together" for the short and, for the long, an orchestral version of three of Queen's hit songs.

"They are both the rock and roll genre, but each is interpreted in completely different ways," Ten advised, noting the long took a week to set out and the short three days.

Ten opened last season with a sixth place at Nebelhorn Trophy and was promptly handed his first two senior Grand Prix assignments. A bronze medal at Canadians led to a dazzling seventh at Four Continents at home in the Olympic venue in Vancouver. A "dismal short" program at worlds forced him to settle for 17th in L.A., but he is quick to point out he was ranked 11th in the long. All in all, not bad for the 20-year-old who had competed as a junior on the international stage the previous season and finished 11th nationally in senior company.

At Four Continents, Ten scored a personal best of 207.27 and had the fans roaring their approval at the completion of his long program.

"Last season was an opportunity and all about experience for me. Skating like I did at Four Continents and going to worlds was like a dream come true," a now more confident and knowledgeable Ten recalled.

Ten believes he can break into the top 10 in the world this season.

"The programs show a growth in my maturity as a skater and in my range, as well. There's so much more in the transitions, and I'm working on that to have everything weave together nicely to up my program component marks."

On the technical side, Ten is working on a quad toe loop now and intends to have a second triple Axel in his long program. His Olympic season debut will come in Nagano at the NHK Trophy followed by HomeSense Skate Canada in Kitchener, Ontario.

Canada has just two berths for men to the 2010 Games and world silver medalist Patrick Chan should have one of those sewn up. Ten will be among a handful of men -- Shawn Sawyer, Vaughn Chipeur and Kevin Reynolds -- who are expected to battle it out for the second spot.

"I think it's going to push all of us harder. Whoever gets that spot is going to be that much more deserving of it. It'll be exciting for the audience, too. I'm working hard, staying focused on myself, just taking one thing at a time and believing that anything is possible.

"The great thing about the Olympics being in my home town, whether I make the Olympic team or not, it's still going to be part of my life. The great part of it is, with me being only 20, there's still 2014."

Should Ten succeed in turning the possible into reality in 2010, he would practice during the Olympics at the rink -- albeit a rebuilt version -- where he first started taking lessons.

"It would be so cool because it would be like I had come full circle," he explained.