Dear All, what a crazy couple of months!
As you would expect our season finished true to form with the unexpected selection for the World Championships in Moscow, which were originally due to take place in Tokyo at the end of March. One week before the Tokyo Championships were due to be held, we received a phone call to tell us we would be competing. We had been back to the UK for a week for a short break and we were driving back to France when we received the call. We had mixed feelings about the prospect, as of course it was something we had worked our whole lives for, but at the same time we thought our season was finished at the end of January after competing at the Universiade. We had already begun preparing for the 2011/12 season and though we had remained physically fit, mentally we were very tired.
Within 24 hours of being told we were on the team, the event in Tokyo was cancelled due to the devastation which had occurred with the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. Potentially we were now off the team, however this seemed somewhat insignificant and selfish to consider in comparison to the number of lives that had been lost and unsettled. We waited along with the rest of the skating world to find out not only if we would make the Team Skate GB again but in fact would the World Championships be rescheduled at all? To our delight a date and location was named 25th April – 1st May 2011 in Moscow, Russia and yes, finally we did make the team!
Many people would ask us were we nervous or excited and how we would do but the answer to all those questions was genuinely, we didn’t know. Everything seemed to happen so quickly that we just had to throw ourselves in to our job. It wasn’t until they called our names as we took to the ice at the qualification round in Moscow that I said to Owen “We are actually at the World Championships – thank you”.
Our objective was always to make it through to the final free dance but we knew that it would be tight to make the cut as the World Rankings had suggested. As we had not competed at Europeans or any grand prix events, we only had two sets of world ranking points in comparison to other couples with potentially five sets of points. We decided that we would just deal with each section at a time and providing we skated as well as we could, given the time that we had to prepare, we would feel we had done ourselves and our supporters proud. We passed through each round successfully and achieved our goal of reaching the top 20 in our first World Championships. We were absolutely delighted and we were not at all disappointed, how could we be! We did our job, we skated well and we had a wonderful time in the process. We even had chance to visit the city of Moscow which was fabulous and attend the banquet with the other athletes to let our hair down. We will never forget the experiences we had or the new acquaintances we have made. We felt very welcomed by the Team Skate GB team members and officials; of course we genuinely loved the whole experience and we hope it is the first of many championships for us.
As usual we brought our own comedy to the experience with our costumes being shrunk the day before we travelled! Let’s just say we lost about 6 inches in body length of the costumes and had to then work frantically to alter and stretch them. Of course it didn’t finish there as my dress was still not comfortable so we went to visit the ‘costume repairs’ team in Moscow, who innocently reduced the width of my dress also. So then, not only was it too short in the body, it was too narrow! Typical! Luckily the Russian ladies were lovely and they worked with me to get my Short Dance dress just the way I wanted it.
In true Louise style I also suffered a fall at the event! Yes, very hard, very dramatic and I needed my injuries treating with ice, rest and TLC. However, no one saw me and I would not admit how or when I fell until after Worlds had finished – we all know how stubborn I am but…I was just too embarrassed to say! On the first day of practices after the free dance I had borrowed some scissors from a team mate. The day later, the day before the short dance, I was on my way to return the scissors, I was running through the hotel, I took a corner and fell full length in the hall way. First instinct – did anyone see me? Potentially one cleaner but I didn’t look twice to confirm my suspicions. Second instinct – are the scissors still in my hand or am I impaled on them? No scissors are fine and there is no blood phew! Third instinct – can I get up and pretend that it didn’t happen? Yes of course I can…well sort of. I limped my way down the corridor nursing my carpet burns, bruised hip, knee, fingers and ego. How totally embarrassing and hilarious I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!
On a more serious note I would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support both during our World Championship experience and throughout this amazing season that we have had. I can say on behalf of Owen and I, that we have had our ups and downs but to know that we have had so many people wishing us well has really helped us along the way. We genuinely couldn’t have achieved what we have and it would not have been the same without you. Everyone that took part in this fabulous video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7h5izlRmRw thank you very much. Sorry that we haven’t managed to thank everyone personally but this really helped to make our trip in Moscow very special.
I have lots more to tell as preparations for the new season begin but I will not bore you with anymore in one blog and leave it for another occasion. Owen’s blog will follow along with his stories from Worlds very soon also.
Best Wishes and lots of love to all.