First and most importantly Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you had a lovely Christmas.
I thought it was about time I broke the silence as it has been a while since either one of us has written anything. As many people I’m sure are aware, Owen and I were not selected to compete in the 2011 European Championships. This is something that Owen and I were extremely disappointed about. Having achieved some very good results this year, remaining fit, well trained and after winning the British Senior Ice Dance title, we really hoped that there was a realistic chance of us being selected. To our knowledge the selection criteria we had been following, suggested that being the athletes with highest points total we stood a good chance of being selected, however it seems not.
After a great deal of consideration, we decided to appeal against the decision to not select us. We were advised by our legal representative that there was no guarantee that we would win the appeal, but we felt that it was important for our own competitive future and the future of our fellow team members that we brought certain issues to the attention of the appeal panel. The appeal was not made as a personal claim against anyone within NISA and least of all against our fellow competitors or athletes – quite the opposite in fact. We had to be a little bit brave, take a chance and stand up for ourselves.
On the 22nd December 2010, our appeal was heard and unfortunately the appeal was dismissed. This may appear as a very negative outcome and in one way of course, as we have still not been selected for the European Championships, it is. However, some good has come out of the appeal and we are now actively trying to develop a closer working relationship with NISA and we believe them with us. NISA contacted us after the appeal to arrange for us to meet to discuss certain issues, a meeting that took place over the Christmas period. From this meeting it seems that we were correct to bring certain issues to light and that the decision does not reflect badly on Owen or I. Full details of the appeal can be found in the published report at: http://www.iceskating.org.uk/node/4510 or http://louise-owen.ice-dance.com/2010AppealReport.pdf.
It has been a very difficult time without question. We would like to think that we will be allowed to reach our full potential and to be rewarded for our achievements when we deserve to be in the future, however you can never be certain of anything. To our knowledge no selection decision has been made for the World Championships. As the selection criteria still remain unclear, we are unaware as to whether we will be selected or not at present. We have the maximum world ranking points we could achieve for this season to date and with these we hope that we will be able to progress on to the Grand Prix circuit next season, but unfortunately without an ISU championship we fear it may be difficult.
One thing that we are extremely proud of and something we know we are very lucky to have is the support and encouragement that we have received. We have had so many people wish us well, offer us their support in response to recent events – it really has been over whelming. Owen and I can honestly not express how much we have appreciated having people around us and looking out for us. This is something we will always be grateful for – thank you!!!
We have to be positive and Owen and I will actively endeavour to promote our sport and NISA favourably at all times. We are moving forward together with NISA for mutual benefit. Which brings me to some very exciting news and that is the launch our new company Ice Inc!
As we are currently full-time, largely unfunded, competitive skaters over the past twelve months we have been developing a business venture as a means of supplementing our financial/funding situation as competitive athletes. After months of planning, in April 2010 we registered our company Ice Inc Ltd with Companies House. Our company was established with a 100% focus on serving skaters and only reputable, recommended products and features will be promoted. We are creating a ‘one stop’ internet-based business which will satisfy all skaters’ needs. Our aim is for skaters to know that they can find what they need in one place and have confidence in a reliable, professionally managed company, whoever they are and whatever their skating standard.
For now our primary goal is to help fund ourselves throughout our competitive career. Ultimately, in the event that Owen and I as a competitive skating partnership get the exposure and profile we aspire to, we intend to set up a trust fund to assist talented ice skaters of the future.
Ice Inc is currently developing a website and, although it is a long way from where we want it to be, it is heading in the right direction and we would like to invite you to take a look at it using the following link: www.iceinc-store.com The site even as it is at present, will give you an appreciation of progress to date and more product ranges/features are scheduled to be added in the coming weeks. This is just the beginning of our business concept and our plans for the website. Please be patient with us if we have a few teething problems and please let us know of any issues you find, so we can rectify them asap.
We offer a wide range of products at competitive prices and if you can’t find what you are looking for please contact us and we will do our best to find it for you. For those of you who are Facebook members you can also join our group http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ice-Inc/117731958271859?ref=sgm&__a=12#!/pages/Ice-Inc/117731958271859?v=info. We thought this was a good way for people to support us and the future of our sport. We are confident it will work and eventually it will be a way in which we can give something back to our sport and its athletes.
We hope that everyone is fit, well and wish you all happiness and health in 2011.
Best Wishes and much love as always.