USA’s Jordan Brauninger was the surprise medallist at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, taking the bronze medal in his debut at the event. “It was a dream come true,” he said. “Next year, I’ll try to come back and win it.” Brauninger also skated well in the Junior Grand Prix series, winning the Mexico Cup and and finishing fourth at the Junior Grand Prix Final. Last year, he was sixth at the JGP Final. Brauninger was second in junior men at the 2003 U.S. Nationals and tenth in seniors in 2004. “I really want to go to Nationals and win,” he added.
Brauninger started skating when he was five. “I played right wing in hockey for three years up through Mite AA. We were nearly undefeated for a couple of years. Then Skates of Gold came to practice at our rink and I even had lunch with Sergei Grinkov one day. So I got an old pair of figure skates and started doing it. I used to do pairs, up through intermediate. I was second at Junior Nationals with Samantha Skavdahl in 1999.”
He landed his first triple toe loop when he was eleven and had a triple Axel by 16. This year he’s been working on a quadruple salchow. “I’ve been close to landing it here and there,” he said. “It’s definitely one of my goals for the season. I’m also hoping to make my triple Axel-triple toe more consistent and get a quad salchow-triple toe. And I need to work on my second mark. I found it’s one of the most important things when you jump from junior to senior. Everyone in seniors has all the hard jumps so the second mark makes all the difference.”
The 17-year-old trains in Crescent Springs, Kentucky with Ted Masdea and Stephanie Miller. He skates for four hours a day, five days a week, and sometimes another two hours on Saturday. Brauninger also works out off ice three or four times a week for about an hour, including a couple of sessions of modified Pilates. He runs through both of his programs at least twice each day.
Tom Dickson choreographs his programs. “Tom and my dad chose my music, but the coaches have a major say in it,” he noted. “I usually change both programs each year. It’s better to have something new and fresh. I liked last year’s short program music because it’s the first time I’ve done something slow and sexy and jazzy.” He used George Gershwin’s Summertime for the short, Patton for the long, and Shout for the exhibition in 2003-2004. For 2004-05, Brauninger is using a techno mix for the short and Pirates of the Caribbean for the long.
“I’m a big fan of all kinds of music,” Brauninger said. “I like everything that no one has ever heard of – things that you don’t hear on the radio. All the little girls at the rink listen to the radio and then buy the CDs so that’s all I hear there. I want something different.” He also plays the guitar. “I was even in a band for a bit,” he added.
“I’m a ‘seize the moment’ kind of person,” he explained. “I’m always first in line to do something, er stupid. If there’s something new to try, I’ll do it. I’ll do anything, almost. I love to go to parties and I like rollerblading and skateboarding. I have more movies than I can count. I love Patton. My favorite part is the opening speech in the movie.” He has some skating pins and used to collect baseball cards. For pets, he has a dog and a cat.
“I hate to be at home,” he continued. “I have to be constantly doing something. I love traveling. The Netherlands was one of my favorite places but the best was Japan. All the people were incredibly nice and I felt really tall. The town was so busy with so much going on that you couldn’t help but be entertained.”
Brauninger is home schooled and is just finishing his junior year. “I don’t have any feelings towards school,” he said. “And I refuse to make plans for the future. I just want to be a skater. I plan to skate as long as I can. I’ll only quit if arthritis or rigor mortis sets in. I’ll probably do shows or coach. In the end, I want to give something back to skating.”