Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Balance versus Balancing...

The key is to be balanced or in balance. We often confuse balancing for that.
In skating I use the expression “be balanced to move not move to balance”
I can use my appendages for two things either balance OR acceleration. It is either or…
True balance has no tension. It is natural weight distribution with your center of gravity over your point of contact.
What we are looking for is dynamic balance.
In skating rotation is a main ingredient. The most important thing is to have balanced weight distribution around the rotational axes. This is to insure smooth rotation when in motion.
As rotational speed increases the effects of unbalance become more and more detrimental. The fact is, the force caused by unbalance increases by the square of the speed.
If the speed is doubled the force quadruples, if it is tripled it increases by the factor of 9 and if the speed quadruples it increases by a factor 16!!!!
Now apply that to single, double, triple and quad jumps and you can imagine the wear and tear on the joints…
Our biggest problem in skating are abuse injuries caused by poor body alignment (see blog” alignment in skating to prevent injury”)
We need to go back to teaching the language of skating with its proper grammar and technique based on the laws of physics, not personal opinion…

Monday, April 20, 2009

On being kept accountable

I have the foundation “Pennies in action” which currently raises funds for breast cancer vaccine research. ( we raised $ 104 000.00 + to date and counting...)
We have containers up in our rink “Iceworks” to raise funds all year long.
Being an athlete all my life, it is all about space and time for me. So money gets translated into distance. 1 penny is ¾ of an inch, 16 pennies is a foot, 48 pennies is a yard, 84480 pennies gives us a mile. If 15 million people would donate 1 penny a month we would have 1.5 million dollars at the end of the year and with that the funding for a multi city trial…
Well my grandchildren know how committed I am to this.
The other day my grandson Justin gave me a penny as a donation. 2 days later at the rink he saw me put some money in the jar and he said: “Omi , remember the penny I gave you a couple of days ago, did you put that in the jar too?” Naturally I had done that, but he wanted to make sure I did not forget…
We could learn a lot from the children on expecting accountability for where their money is going !!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Never judge a book by its cover

It has been so exciting to see, that right now the biggest star on the radar screen is Susan Boyle check her out at www.youtube.com/watch/boyle
How many times have we dismissed people because of the first impression and our shallow way of judging people.
There is a 47 year old woman who by her own admission has never even been kissed. She has harboured this amazing talent that till 5 days ago has never been given a chance.
As one of the judges commented:” This has been a wake up call.”
I have been coaching figure skating on the elite level for 30 years. I remember when I had the pleasure to coach Elvis Stojko (3 time World Champion),
When people in the know, told me “He will never make it” He did not fit the mold of a figure skater. I guess , he showed them, by becoming the biggest star in figure skating in his time. The emotional pain he had gone thru by the time he got there was immeasurable.
Every time I watch the tape of Miss Boyle’s appearance (I have been watching it often since yesterday) I relive the pain Elvis went thru to be determined to get to the top.
I hope she will become the biggest star ever and serve as a reminder that our statements” she has it” or “they will never get it” should never discourage anybody from following their dream…

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The basic human rights

• Right to your own perception
• Right to clear information
• Freedom of choice

This seems to be very self explanatory, but to use it in everyday life is very difficult. Sure we try to fight for our own rights . But do we at the same time allow others to preserve their rights…?
This is where it becomes tricky. The one that seems to get violated the most is the “right to your own perception”. We often like to control the way others see things and when they do not agree we tell them they are wrong.
As you can tell this is not a black and white situation . We come from different vantage points to a situation and see things from a different angle. Once we communicate and listen to each other we would recognize that we are often talking about the same thing ,we are just perceiving it differently. Since we are using our senses selectively, we could gain so much by listening and respecting someone else’s point of view. Often it is not a matter of being right or wrong, but rather gaining a wider and additional perspective to the same situation.

“Clear information”: We should be allowed to ask questions until the information is clear to us.

“Freedom of choice”: As we collect clear information we now have the freedom of choosing what to do with it. But so often we are supposed to accept the information or answer we are getting as the only choice. We are often expected to give up our freedom of choice after asking a question…
We do not like when this happens to us, but always ask yourself. “ Am I doing the same thing onto others???

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Endless Flow

I was always intrigued by this concept and it has guided me thru all my life. On and Off the ice. That is why I love watching the ocean , besides the view being spectacular(especially when you add a sunset to it)…

That is what I always tried and still try to create on the ice. The blade allows us to create endless flow thru the gliding. BY itself it does not create endless flow. Every part of you has to be fluid (mentally and physicially)

There are many levels to this. Right now I want to stay with the physical. All the small muscle groups have to be educated . You need the awareness to feel what you are doing during movement and motion. (kinesthetic awareness) then you need

Balance – agility – flexibility – strength and endurance in all the muscles (large and small groups)

After you understand body alignment it takes lots of work and persistence. You must educate your body so it becomes a precision instrument of movement and motion .

Then you can add your creative side and become the artist that you could be with the right mental understanding ,toughness and willingness to work at it.

Everybody that has been willing to do this and has reached the level of being “in flow”, will tell you that it was all worth it!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

meeting up with friends at Worlds in LA

appreciation and the power of a smile

To be appreciated is the greatest need of all human beings.
Nobody wants to be taken for granted and we want to be appreciated for what we do , accomplish and who we are.
It seems so strange to me, we want to get the appreciation, but have a difficult time to give it.
It is really true, whatever you want , give it away and it will come back to you 100 fold over. But this is not a ping pong match. It is giving with no strings attached.
The getting back does not usually come from the same source. So the main thing we should be getting back for giving is appreciation.
I remember one morning going to the rink, I felt depressed. I had to get gas and the attendant at the station had the greatest smile ,some kind words and really cheered me up. When I got to the rink I was in a cheery mood and tried to have the same effect on people I saw . I have been trying to do this now for many years, to try to brighten up some ones day. I do remember telling the man how much I appreciated his smile at that very moment. What he got was my appreciation, but he has influenced many situations in my life that brought a little sunshine into situations, that might have been otherwise pretty gray.
Try to notice these small gifts in your life, appreciate them and then share them with others. My Motto has always been, when in doubt smile….
Please tell me about situations in your life, where a little kindness went a long way.

Friday, April 10, 2009

New clinical trial for breast cancer vaccine

Based on the impressive success of his previous clinical trial, Dr. Czerniecki and his staff at the University of Pennsylvania are excited to announce the 2nd clinical trial for a breast cancer vaccine. and
This study involves using your own cells to develop a vaccine that will attack cancer and prevent it from growing. Upon entering the study, your blood will be drawn in a way that allows us to collect only your white blood cells. These cells will be used to create a vaccine, which you will receive weekly over a six-week period. After you receive the vaccine, you will undergo the standard surgical procedure to remove any remaining DCIS in the breast.

The trial has opened, and we are actively looking for eligible participants.

For information please contact:
Jeanne Schueller
Research Project Manager
Department of Surgery
(desk) 215-349-8399
(cell) 215-882-4676
(fax) 215-662-4322

Jeanne Schueller can also put you in touch with lay volunteers who have knowledge of the vaccines.
Please tell all your contacts about this, so that anyone diagnosed with breast cancer can find out if they are eligible for this trial prior to surgery!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

ISU banquets

No more banquets at ISU competitions…
I returned a week ago from LA. I had a wonderful time…
It was great to see so many friends. This is the wonderful thing about skating, to be able to stay in contact with your friends that you made in your life-time.
After the events, when we had the awards banquet ,we could get together with the athletes from other nations and start friendships that last a life-time.
I was sorry to see that at Europeans in Helsinki and Worlds in LA they did away with that great tradition. I know they want to save money, but I hope they will reconsider in the future. It leaves the events so unfinished.
I hope the IOC will not follow suit and have no more opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympic Games. What a great loss that would be…!