Jeremy Ten is on a mission. The 2007 Canadian Men’s Junior Champion wants to skate in the Olympics in his hometown of Vancouver, British Colombia, in 2010. Should Ten make the olympic team, he will be twenty years old when marching in the opening ceremonies. If ever there was an athlete destined for something special, it could be argued that Ten has irony going his way.
“A lot of people have brought this up to me,” laughed Ten. “I think that it’s pretty funny.”
The Canadian-born Ten, son of immigrants from the Southeast Asian country of Brunei, began skating when he tagged along to his older brother Nick’s hockey lessons. Originally, Ten planned to follow in his brother’s footsteps into the world of hockey. However, upon realizing that he was too small to hit a puck let alone hold a hockey stick, Ten turned to figure skating instead. By age nine, Ten was taking private lessons from his first coach, George Yuhas.
Last year, Ten began the season by winning the bronze at a Junior Grand Prix (JGP) event in France. He just missed the podium in his second JGP assignment in The Netherlands. As a result, Ten was listed as the third alternate to the JGP Final, and did not receive the call to participate.
“I skated very well on the junior circuit,” Ten happily recalled . “Coming so close gives me a lot of confidence as I look forward to the new season.”
As the 2006 Canadian Junior silver medalist, Ten was the favorite in the men’s junior division heading into the 2007 Canadian Championships in Halifax. After the short program, Ten stood in second place after making an error on his triple lutz combination. But Ten was able to recover to convincingly win the gold medal outscoring the silver medalist by more than 19 points.
“Going into the championships, I was skating clean performances three times a week including the triple-triple,” Ten shared. “Because of this, I was able to focus on not putting a lot of pressure on myself, and win the title.”
Ten describes himself as a balanced skater who strives to have the label of “all-around skater”. Though Ten admits that the jumps have always come easy for him (he learned the triple lutz in just two weeks), he is most proud of his ever-improving spins.
“As a juvenile (level) skater, I had terrible positions, and the judges picked on me about them,” explained Ten. “So I decided to devote one full hour every day to improving my spins for one full season. Once I mastered the basic positions, I started to experiment with speed and difficult variations.”
Though Ten still does not consider spins to be one of his stronger elements, he is nevertheless excited about the progress he has made in that area of his skating.
To prepare for the upcoming season, Ten has continued his longtime partnership with coach and mentor Joanne McLeod.
“Joanne makes all of the decisions for me, and I like it that way,” said Ten. “I don’t like to make the decisions, and she knows me well enough to know what is best for me.”
Ten has also decided to retain the services of celebrated choreographer David Wilson to round out his support team.
“We have recently decided to keep my short program to Concerto De Berlin from La 7ieme Cible from last season,” Ten shared. “I had David choreograph a new long for me to the Little Buddha soundtrack. It’s very passionate, spiritual and very deep. The choreography really challenges me to emote as well as fully maximize the use of my body.”
Ten will continue to skate on the junior level internationally in the fall, but will move up to the senior ranks for the Canadian Championships in January. Ten’s first goal is to skate as well as he can in the Junior Grand Prix so that he can earn a trip to this year’s final, and to also get a ticket to the World Junior Championships to be held in Sophia, Bulgaria. In order to make himself more competitive, Ten is committed to adding the triple Axel, a jump that he has yet to complete in competition to his arsenal this season.
“I know that if I want to do well this season and really separate myself from the rest of the juniors on the international scene, I’ll need it in my programs,” Ten declared. “For Nationals in Vancouver, I will definitely be adding the jump to my programs.”
At his first senior nationals, Ten hopes to place in the top eight, but believes that top five is not an unrealistic goal.
“Canadians for me will be extra special for me because it will be my debut at the senior level and it will be in my hometown,” declared Ten. “I want people to remember me and to think of me as a potential challenger one day … one day soon.”
A recent graduate of the Magee Secondary School, Ten plans to attend Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Colombia in the fall, but is unsure as to what his major will be.
“I know that it will be something artistic,” explained Ten. “I am undecided about the career path I want to pursue. I just know that I want to pursue a career I’m confident about and that makes me happy.”
Outside of school and skating, Ten likes to listen to music, and is fast growing interested in dance. In fact Ten is planning to enroll into a dance academy later this summer to begin studying ballet and hip hop.
“I have always loved dancing,” Ten shared. “I am almost 99% certain that if I hadn’t been a skater that I would have gone into dance.”
For now, Ten will work to meet his lofty goals for the season by paying careful attention to improving the levels and grades of execution on his spins, mastering his difficult Wilsonian choreography, and calculatedly throwing his body in the air in hopes of perfecting that triple Axel. But the irony is seeded somewhere in the back of his head. Could twenty-year old Ten be the hometown hero in 2010?