Golden Skate

Vise and Kole Continue to Rise

Brittany Vise and Nicholas Kole have been skating together longer than most American pairs teams.

Brittany Vise and Nicholas Kole have been together longer than most American pairs teams, over five years. Since their start they have risen from third in intermediate pairs in 2000 to third in novice in 2002, second in juniors in 2003, and eighth in seniors in 2004. The couple also won bronze at the Junior Grand Prix in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2002, and the JGP Sofia Cup in 2003 as well as a silver at the JGP Mexico Cup last season. They were sixth at the Junior Grand Prix Final and the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in 2004.

This season, the couple will compete on both the junior and senior circuits, doing Junior Grand Prix events in Long Beach, Calif. and Germany as well as Skate Canada.

Kole began skating when he was eleven by attending a public session with his mother and his brother. He landed his first triples, the salchow and the toe loop, when he was sixteen. He still competes in singles, finishing 11th in junior men last season at Midwesterns. Vise started in the same way, trying the sport at a public session with her mother and sister. Within two years, she had landed her first triple salchow and toe loop. Vise is also still doing singles, finishing ninth in novice ladies at U. S. Nationals in 2004. Next season, she’ll be competing in juniors. She began doing pairs when she was 13.

The two got together in the spring of 1999. “We were at the Junior Olympics with different partners and people said we looked like brother and sister,” Kole said. “Our former partners both left about a month after that so we got together and we’ve been together ever since. We’re both left-handed so that makes us a good match. We really get along well and communicate well with each other.” “I know that Nick always there when I need him,” Vise added. “They balance each other out,” added coach Tom Zakrajsek. “She’s more serious and he’s more easygoing, but they compete with a similar mentality.” Coach and choreographer Dalilah Sappenfield noted that “they are both very goal oriented.”

They train with Zakrajsek and Sappenfield in Colorado Springs, practicing pairs for one and a half to two hours a day, six days a week. In addition, Vise does another hour and a half of singles practice and Kole does another 45 minutes for singles each day. They are already working towards next season. “We want to make our lifts more intricate and improve our triple twist,” Kole stated. “We just added it this season,” Zakrajsek said, “We’re working on getting another side-by-side triple jump, either the lutz, the salchow or the flip, whichever is more consistent. We are also creating new death spirals, pair spins and carry lifts, besides trying to add another triple jump to the long. Brittany also has already learned the throw triple toe loop.”

Up until now, Sappenfield has choreographed all of their programs, although she gets suggestions from the skaters. “The whole group of us with our coaches plus my mom choose the music each year,” Kole said. “For the most part, we change one program each year. Last season we changed the long, so this year we changed the short.” Rostyslav Sinitsyn and Sappenfield choreographed their new short program using music from The Haunted Mansion. They used Six Days and Seven Nights for the short last year and Pirates of the Caribbean for the long. “When we heard it at the movies, we thought it would be good for the long,” Kole noted. “We’ve been doing a lot of movie themes lately. Last year, we did Titanic and our exhibition program is to Armageddon. It’s powerful music.” “We try to act out a character in the program,” Vise said. Off ice, she listens to pop and country, while he prefers alternative music.

Both skaters enjoy a lot of other sports. Vise likes basketball, swimming, golf, snow skiing, and karting, while Kole enjoys golf, tennis, soccer, racquetball, and karting. Both skaters enjoy going out with friends and watching movies. She also likes to shop, sing karaoke, and play Dance Revolution, while he enjoys playing video games and fantasy sports online. She collects key chains and all kinds of monkeys as well as all the stuffed toys they receive. Both have pets. He has a dog, while she has three dogs, a ferret and a rabbit.

This season, they hope to move up to the top six at at U.S. Nationals and medal at the Junior Grand Prix Final as well as Junior Worlds. But there’s a chance they’ll get some senior Grand Prix assignments, in which case they will skip the Junior Grand Prixs but still do Junior Worlds. “We want to skate as long as we can,” Kole said. “We both really love to do it and we’ll be ready by the 2010 Olympics.” After that, Kole would like to go into sports broadcasting. “I’ve finished high school and I’m taking a year off before starting courses at Arapahoe Community College next fall,” he noted. Vise is a sophomore in high school, but isn’t sure whether she’ll go to college. She’s thinking of a career in coaching.

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