Golden Skate

Top U.S. Junior Pair Team Can Never Make Junior Worlds

America’s top junior pairs team, Shantel Jordan and Jeremy Barrett, will never be seen at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Jordan is only eleven years old, too young to compete in ISU internationals. Her partner is 19, so by the time she’s eligible to compete in the ISU junior events, he’ll be too old. Although they may be eligible to enter smaller international competitions, their first major foray into international competition may not come until 2008, when they’ll be eligible for senior internationals.

By that time, the couple should be very competitive. They are already practicing a throw triple Axel and a throw quadruple salchow and have landed the jumps in harness. They did both a throw triple salchow and a throw triple loop at Nationals. “I like the throws best,” said Jordan. “It’s like my own jumps but bigger. Twists are fun too but I like to land the throws myself.” “I like to do the hard elements,” Barrett said, “especially lifts and throws.” They have been doing a double Axel-triple toe loop combination and have been working on side-by-side triple salchow, triple toe loop, and triple loop jumps.

Jordan began skating when she was only four. “I saw skating on television and told my parents that I wanted to do that,” she recalled. “I went skating with my family and then started lessons in Michigan. I also tried tennis and gymnastics and ballet. I was in gymnastics about seven years; from the time I was about 18 months old. I did it just for fun, not to compete, but I liked the beam, the rings and the parallel bars. I liked doing back somersaults. Between six and nine, I did ballet when I had nothing else to do. It was just for fun. But I did dance in The Prince of Egypt.”

She is still competing in singles as well as pairs. Jordan landed her first triple jump, a triple salchow, when she was ten and has been landing more triples ever since. This season, she was first in the qualifying round at regionals in novice and eighth overall. Jordan began skating pairs when she was eight. “I’ve really admired pairs since I was really little,” she said. “It looked like so much fun. Sometimes I’d play around with some of the boys and let them do lifts with me. Then I had a tryout with Jeremy and we went from there.”

Barrett has been skating since he was eight. “My family went to the rink on weekends,” he remembered, “then I started lessons and got better at it.” He landed his first triple, a triple toe loop, when he was 13 or 14 and continued competing in freestyle until three years ago, reaching regionals in novice men. But he was already skating pairs with his sister, Shawn-Marie, before that. They skated together from 1998 through 2001, reaching sectionals and competing at the Junior Olympics before she retired from skating. “My sister was doing pairs just for fun, but I really enjoyed skating with a partner and wanted to continue,” he said.

The couple has been skating together since April 2001. They train at The Igloo in Ellenton, Florida with coach Kerry Leitch and his team, with whom Jordan has worked for almost five years. They do three 40-minute pairs sessions every day, five days a week; while Jordan does an additional four singles sessions. They also do about two hours a day of off ice work, mainly off ice lifts and jump training, plus fitness classes. In the summer, they add hip hop and other dance classes to their schedule. Jordan also likes to play basketball, while Barrett enjoys swimming.

Jim Petersen choreographs their programs. For the 2003-2004 season, they used Independence Day for the short and The Nutcracker for the long. For an exhibition program, they are using Ricky Martin’s Cup of Life. “Each year, all of the coaches have a big meeting and pick all the music for al the skaters at the rink,” Barrett said. “We can bring suggestions but they usually know what’s best for each skater. This year, we used the Nutcracker to help us grow our artistic side and learn to tell a story on the ice using strong powerful music.” Jordan added, “It’s easier to skate when you are trying to become the character and not thinking about do this, then do that.” Both skaters listen to a variety of music off ice.

Off ice, Jordan enjoys visiting friends and going on sleepovers. She likes to watch movies with the Olson twins and collects skating pins and stuffed animals. He likes to go to the beach, watch action movies and chat with friends on the computer. He also has two dogs, three cats and two horses at his family’s home. Both of the skaters like to travel with Jordan most enjoying the Bahamas and Paris, while Barrett liked Hawaii. “I like to go to the mountains on holidays,” he added. “The mountains are good for relaxing.”

Barrett has graduated from high school. “One of my favorite classes was mythology,” he said. “I liked to write stories.” Jordan is home schooled and is in the seventh grade. She enjoys language arts, writing and science and plans to be a pediatrician. “I always liked medical stuff and I’d like to work with kids, she said. Barrett hasn’t planned a post-skating career yet. For now, he works at The Igloo for about 35 hours a week to help cover expenses. “I work in the fitness center and the snack bar and even drive the zamboni,” he noted.

The team won’t be eligible for the 2006 Olympics, but 2010 remains a possibility. “We want to keep going as long as we’re doing good performances,” Barrett said. “We don’t have a set timetable for how long.” “I want to skate forever,” Jordan chimed in.

Jordan and Barrett recently competed in the 2004 Indy Challenge Dance & Pairs Competition where they placed second behind Marcy Hinzmann (Winterhurst FSC) and Aaron Parchem (Detroit SC) in both the Senior short and long programs. They are currently scheduled to compete in the Junior pairs event at the North American Challenge Skate in Waterloo, Canada, which will be held Aug 26-29, 2004.