The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Oct. 1

Adam Rippon, Pike's Peak pairs and Daisuke Murakami

Adam Rippon, Yu-Na Kim and their training mates in Toronto.
Adam Rippon, Yu-Na Kim and their training mates in Toronto. (courtesy of Adam Rippon)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(10/01/2009) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins cover all the bases in the latest version of The Inside Edge, from how Adam Rippon is faring in Toronto, to Daisuke Murakami's encounter wit the cast of Rescue Me.

All About Adam
We both called Adam Rippon the other night to see what was up in Toronto. We asked him if he minded talking to us at the same time, and he said, "I'm from a big, big family, I'm used to talking to a lot of people at once!"

Adam said he was getting ready for the Grand Prix events to get started.

"It's kind of like the final stretch. I can't believe the summer is over and the competition season is here already."

It has been about nine months since Adam left New Jersey, where he trained with Nikolai Morozov, and moved to Toronto to train with Brian Orser.

"I like it a lot," he said. "I can't say that I didn't like skating in New Jersey, but I really like training with Brian and David Wilson. The atmosphere is so positive. It's really competitive, but it's a good competitiveness. I'm really lucky to be skating with Yu-Na Kim and Christina Gao."

Adam lives in an apartment very close to the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club where he trains. It was a big adjustment, after growing up with five brothers and sisters and then living in New Jersey with three or four roommates.

"When I came to my apartment it was so quiet -- it's nice, but sometimes I miss having people around. For the most part it's nice to be home and do whatever you want."

He says he hasn't had a chance to explore Toronto yet, though!

"I haven't gone out and actually done anything yet. It's so embarrassing. But my goal since coming here was to go to Niagra Falls and the CN tower. Those are the two main Canadian things to do and so I did that this summer."

Talking about the CN Tower brought on flashbacks of our visit; suffice it to say we are not big fans of heights in general. Adam doesn't seem to suffer from acrophobia; he started telling us all about the glass floor on the observation deck.

"People stand one inch from it and they're all so nervous to go onto the floor," he said. "Kids run right out, but I was one of the ten people on the side. Once I stepped on the glass I was fearless."

Enough with the heights already. Back to skating. Adam has enjoyed working with David Wilson "from scratch" this season.

"He's incredible, an absolutely amazing choreographer. To have the opportunity to work with him is so exciting. I really like the programs and I'm excited to skate them."

Adam has been assigned to the Trophée Bompard and the NHK Trophy this season. He says he's excited about seeing Paris; so far, he has only been to the Charles de Gaulle airport.

We got quite distracted by the thought of Paris, and it took an effort to get back to skating talk. However, we were curious about the jump content in the long program this season. We know Adam has been working on quads -- will we see one in the program?

"I was working on quads this summer and they were ok," he said. "It's still a little bit inconsistent, like three days I'll land it and two days I'll be tired of it and have trouble with it. The biggest thing was I sprained my ankle in the beginning of August, so I've been careful with what I've been doing. It took a while to do flip and Lutz again. I still don't feel comfortable enough to attempt something I could have a wonky landing on. I'm positive that when I come back to the quad it will be in the same spot but I don't think I'll be adding it this season unless it's super-consistent by nationals. If you fall on it and they downgrade it it's one point and then they deduct for the fall so it's like it never happened. Its so upsetting to have a nice attempt, and it's worth the same as if you had a nice dramatic stop."

At the Cricket Club, Adam trains every day with the superstar world champion Kim.

"We skate both our sessions together in the morning and the afternoon," he said. "I love to skate with her, and she's incredible. She's so beautiful. It's nice to be able to share your highs and lows with someone else who's going through the same thing. Of course, what she's going through is different from me, since she's already 'been there.'"

We wondered if the media was ever a distraction. Yu-Na is such a huge celebrity in Korea, of course.

"I think Brian and her agent have done a good job trying to keep her season as normal as possible," said Adam. "I can only imagine what she's hearing from outside the Cricket Club. I think it's helpful that she's in a private club, so no one can come in and start taping practice. It's pretty normal for her there, she comes in, skates, goes home."

Adam has been sending us reports from the Canadian So You Think You Can Dance, where Emanuel Sandhu is competing for the top prize.

"Emanuel is doing so well, and he seems to be one of the strongest ones. It's been so weird to see him dancing and not skating. I feel like he could go skating right after that. He's incredible."

We wondered if Adam likes to dance.

"When I lived in New Jersey, I went into Manhattan and took dance classes in the summer, mostly hip-hop," he said. "I think it helped my skating a lot because there were no boundaries, and you had to push your limits and be really wild."

We asked Adam if he'd ever consider going on the TV show himself some day, and he laughed his head off.

"I consider myself a good dancer until I watch myself in the mirror and then I'm like, 'You're not a good dancer.'

Rescue Dice
Daisuke Murakami, who is now representing Japan, arrived at the Ice House in Hackensack (Adam's old training ground) a couple of weeks ago and was greeted by film crews and trailers taking up all the parking spots.

"The rink was overwhelmed with cameras going in and out from all angles. We also had TV Japan filming us that day," he told us. "NHK TV and four other TV stations came last week to our rink to document team Japan training and to shoot a promo for NHK trophy."

The other TV crew was from Fox, shooting an episode of Rescue Me.

"First off, I didn't know what this show was about since I don't watch TV or have cable," said Dice. "Elene Gedevanishvili and I went into the skating office to catch up on what this show was really about. After we finished our research we managed to get into the rink, which they had closed off and get a glimpse of what was happening."

They saw thirty or forty actors lying all over the ice, portraying "dead" firemen.

"Apparently one of the scenes was about one of the characters having a flashback of 9/11," said Dice. "I did manage to get a few pictures with the "dead" firefighters."

He said he got to meet the star, Denis Leary, although he didn't know who he was.

As for his skating, Dice told us that he and Nikolai have decided that he'll move up to senior this season. He'll be skating to West Side Story for his short program, in a version arranged by the same DJ that made Daisuke Takahashi's brilliant "Swan Lake" program. His long program will be to the soundtrack from The Rock, arranged by the same DJ.

Naturally, we wondered what he could tell us about his costumes. He told us he had to find some stretchable jeans for the short program costume, but he discovered that they were only made for women.

"We took these jeans and shredded them up and put patch work and holes all over. It actually turned out pretty funky. My long is the usual one-piece suit and bedazzled."

Dice said he'll spend at least two months training in Japan at the National Figure Skating Arena in Nagoya before the national championships.

"It is usually a media frenzy at any competition in Japan," he said. We can believe that!

Pikes Peak
We dropped in on the Pikes Peak pair competition last weekend; we haven't seen any coverage, so here's a quick rundown.

Senior pairs short program: Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin won with a nice skate including a good triple twist and throw triple Salchow. Caitlin popped the triple toe into a double, and John lost his pivot on the death spiral, which meant they got no points for the element. 47.11.

Molly Aaron and Dani Cohen were second with 46.41 points; they popped the side-by-side double Axel into a waltz jump, but hit a good throw triple toe.

Lisa Moore and Justin Gaumond were third with 43.17; they were the only team which skated a long program (72.22).

Junior pairs short program: Chris Knierim and Carolyn-Ann Alba won with a clean program including side-by-side double Axels and a throw double Salchow. Brittney Chase and Grant Marron did a throw triple Salchow but fell on the side-by-side double Axel.

We missed the junior free skates, but Brittney and Grant won with 77.23 points.

We have interviews with a couple of senior ladies set for our next blog, so stay tuned!
Sarah and Drew
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