Great Britain’s newest senior ladies champion is 16-year-old Jenna McCorkell from Coleraine in Northern Ireland. McCorkell made a rapid jump from second in juniors last season to take the title for 2002-2003. She also took a bronze medal at Pokal der Blauen Schwerter in Germany. Her goals were to make it through the qualifying round at Europeans, which she accomplished, finishing 19th overall, and to make the top ten at Junior Worlds. She just missed finishing 11th, but she skated well enough for the British federation to send her to the World Championships in Washington, DC, where she finished a respectable 21st in her first try.
McCorkell skated in both junior and two senior events this season. That required long programs of different lengths. “We just added a bit in the slow section in the beginning and put in an extra spin at the end,” she explained. “The jumps are all the same. The Junior Grand Prix helped me prepare for the other internationals. You have to compete where everyone does everything.”
McCorkell first took to the ice at seven. “I saw a girl in the newspaper who had won a competition and I wanted to try it,” she said. McCorkell liked jumping best and landed a triple salchow when she was 14. She has successfully completed all the triples, including the triple Axel, in practice and hopes to have a triple Axel in her program next season. “The triple Axel really puts a lot of heavy pressure on the boot so it collapses and gets loose,” she added. “I have to find a boot that can take the pressure.” In her programs last season, McCorkell used a triple flip/double toe loop in the short plus a triple toe/double toe in the long. Her goal was to land five triples and a triple/triple sequence in each competition, then try more next season.
McCorkell trains with Juri Bureiko and Marina Serova in Coventry in England. She trains on ice for three one-hour sessions three days a week and two sessions two days a week, plus once on Sunday. She doesn’t do much off ice training in season but does a lot of running and all sorts of jump training on the floor in the off season. She used to play field hockey on her school’s team but doesn’t participate in any other sports, although she swims occasionally.
Last season, she used Tchaikovski’s Piano Concerto No. 1 performed by Richard Clayderman for her short program and Xotica from Holiday on Ice for the long. “Juri gave me a lot of CDs to listen to and we picked the music together,” she said. “The long program music was from the ice show so it was specifically designed for skating,” Bureiko said. “It has also been used for ISU video clips for seminars. The short program music has been used by quite a few skaters in the past but not the same orchestra and interpretation.” “At the moment, we’re just searching for my style so we’re trying very different programs,” McCorkell continued. “It’s a long road to decide your style.”
She plans to compete for at least ten more years. “Later I’d like to skate in some ice shows, maybe the big shows in the states. Maybe I’ll coach. I’ll probably skate until I need a walking stick,” she said. “I’ll go mad if I don’t skate.” “It’s difficult to find a student who really likes to skate that much,” Bureiko added. McCorkell didn’t even take a holiday for the past season because she missed skating. If she did take one, she’d like to go somewhere sunny, like the Bahamas or Disney world in Florida. She has previously visited Sweden and Moscow, but would like to visit St. Petersburg.