Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig: “Every competition this season we saw improvement in our performances”
Interview by World Figure Skating
Amanda and Mark are the silver medalists of the US National figure skating championships 2010. Before that, their best result at U.S. Championships was fourth in 2007 and 2009. They came in 10th at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and 9th at the World figure skating championships in Torino. Also they have achieved their Personal Best at the Olympics and at Worlds this year.
VLAD: First of all thank you, Amanda and thank you, Mark for taking out the time to answer my questions!
AMANDA/MARK: Thank you too, Vladislav!
VLAD: What are your thoughts about your Olympic season?
AMANDA: I couldn't have asked for a better Olympic season! This was our first Olympics and was far beyond anything I could have imagine it to be like. Skating our personal best at the Games was definitely extra frosting on the cake! How quickly it goes by, but I definitely felt and shared the Olympic spirit with all those around me. I loved everything that comes with the package of the Olympics The large scale of media at the event where we had the chance on going on all different TV stations, the opportunity meet athletes from all different countries and sports who now we will forever have a special bond with, and to experience warmth from the city of Vancouver and its such welcoming volunteers!
MARK: Having twice experienced the Olympics, once as a Volunteer in 2002 and now as a competitor, I have to say that being in the arena in Vancouver and getting to show what we are capable of was the best experience in my 'on-ice' life.
VLAD: Are you satisfied with your results this year?
AMANDA: Yes, this season was definitely more than satisfying! Our goal this year was to make the Olympic and World team, and it is such a satisfying feeling to have accomplish the goals that you have set upon yourself. I feel as though in the past we were so close to our goals, but just missed in making them reality by a few obstacles. We could have given up on them many times on the road of the journey, but always had a stronger faith in what we were doing. We couldn't have asked for a better season to see the rewards of our hard work.
MARK: Every competition this season we saw improvement in our performances. Satisfied is too mild a word, for the huge success we had topping our Personal Best on the Worlds biggest stage: at the Olympics.
VLAD: What was the most difficult at the Olympic Games?
AMANDA: For me, the most difficult part of the Olympics was the wait. For most international competitions, you get there, and the competition typically starts within the next couple of days. At the Olympic Games, we had arrived to the Village and practice for a week before the competition even started!
MARK: I had the hardest time keeping my focus narrow at the Olympics. There is so much media attention, new friends to be make, and all the uniqueness of being at the Olympics--from the dorms to the food.
VLAD: Tell us, please, about your decision to become a pair skater?
AMANDA: I started skating when I was 6 years old. I grew up watching Kristi Yamaguchi, and actually skated competitively in ladies until I was 18. It wasn't until I was 15, when I decided to try some pair skating lessons, and started having pair tryouts. I could have moved away from home to start pair skating that year, however at the time, I was unsure of my commitment to it. A year later, after a few more tryouts, I realized that I wanted to commit to pair skating, and moved at the age of 16 away from my home in Texas to training in Florida. This is where my pair skating career started and took off, and where I am still today!
MARK: I always wanted to be a pair skater. I am happiest sharing the spotlight. I postponed college to try my hand at pairs skating back in 2000. Since that first US National Championship at the Novice level, I have been hooked.
VLAD: In my opinion this kind of figure skating is very beautiful but very dangerous too. Isn’t it?
AMANDA: Yes, the great thing about pair skating is the connection and creativeness of having two people of the ice. And with that, also come risk. I think a person judges how much risk they are willing to take. I think if you have trust in your partner, then there isn't much risk. Taking hard falls, and the possibility of injuries comes with the territory, however any injury you could acquire from pair skating, you could acquire the same injury in doing any sport or even basic everyday activities.
MARK: I have taken a few bumps, cuts, and stitches. But if you plan and prepare your body you can learn any trick with only the slightest chance of an accident. When Amanda and I paired up in 2002 we did basic lifts repeatedly to improve my footwork under her and make her comfortable nine feet above the ice.
VLAD: What is your vision of the perfect professional relations between partners in a pair skating?
AMANDA: Rather than saying my vision for the perfect professional partnership, I would say my vision for a successful professional partnership is longevity. A former coach once told me that "it takes about five years to learn how to skate pairs with one another; it takes another five years to skate pairs." Mark and I have skated with each from eight years now. I am only in the middle of totally understanding that concept!
MARK: The best pairs can communicate. That will help them train, innovate, and become champions.
VLAD: Do you have your favorite element?
AMANDA: I have many favorite elements in pair skating! All of them so different, that it's truly hard to compare them from each other. I thoroughly enjoy landing throws. There isn't any feeling like it, coming down from the air at that height to land with flow and speed on one foot. I also enjoy performing a back outside death spiral. I find it has a pretty line from head to toe, where your head is so close to the ice, and Mark in a low pivot. My last favorite element is the same favorite element as Mark. It's our reverse overhead lift. It's quite unique where Mark holds me with one hand under my thigh, my legs in a split position, and my hands are free to welcome the crowd! It's one of our signature elements!
MARK: I love our lift elements. I was very happy with the large amount of points we accumulated doing our 5RLi in the long at US Nationals, Olympics and Worlds!
VLAD: Your silver medal at the US National Championships this year and being at the top ten in Vancouver. What does it mean for you?
AMANDA: I could have not asked for anything better than to be the Silver Medalists at the US Nationals, and be in the top ten at the Olympics and Worlds! Heading into this year, Mark and I had never got a higher placement than fourth at the US National Championships. We had an outside chance in making the top two and receiving a spot on the Olympic team. I think we were truly able to show that dreams do come true! =)
MARK: Also top ten at Worlds! I feel like we won the Triple crown of skating! Personal bests, to me, are as important as any medal. Next season I aim to again beat our Personal bests both international and in the US.
VLAD: Could you tell about your new programs?
AMANDA: Mark and I have decided to skate another year with each other as we feel that there are still things in our skating career that we can accomplish! We are only in the process of picking out music for next year as well as ideas and goals of what we plan to do in our new programs.
VLAD: What is next for your pair?
AMANDA: After Worlds, both of us took some time to visit Italy. I went to Rome. Mark went to Florence! What a beautiful country Italy is! Then we did a few ice shows including one in Dallas, a benefit show for the Jimmy Fund in Boston, and a couple ice shows with the Stars on Ice Tour! The Olympics has given us more opportunities than we could have imagined. For example, we went to see the US President at the White House, we have gotten to speak at a few events to many groups from the USFS Governing Council to local school kids, and even got to be the Grand Marshals for a local Parade. Right now, we are in the middle of our break before we start back to full training for the next season!
MARK: We plan a year at a time and we are competing 2010-2011. If we focus too far ahead we would miss the target in front of us.
VLAD: Thank you so much for so wonderful interview! I wish you all the best in any of your competitions!
AMANDA/MARK: Thank you!