It has been five seasons since Arizona native Douglas Razzano finished in fourth place at the 2008 Junior Grand Prix Final in Gdansk, Poland. The 23-year-old struggled to make a name for himself on the senior level—failing to crack the top ten at the U.S. Championships in his first tries, but is now making a charge towards the podium, falling just short of earning a medal earlier this year in San Jose at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
The turning point came in Greensboro, N.C., at the 2011 U.S. Championships where Razzano placed 10th overall, but skated in the final flight of men in the free skate after a fifth place finish in the short program.
“I think that’s where I started to embrace all of this confidence that I now have,” he shared. “That was one of the best competitions of my life if not the best. Also, that year I started seeing a hypnotherapist and I attribute so much of mental strength and ability to that. It really has changed how I look at things. It has taught me to really embrace each moment, and how much of a process it is to get there. It’s carried me through to now, and it has worked for me.”
Razzano’s confidence began to grow throughout last season which he kicked off with strong showings in summer competitions. In early October, he won the silver medal at Finlandia Trophy in Vantaa, Finland, before getting a last minute invitation to Skate America in Ontario, Calif.
“It certainly was a confidence boost to know that the international committee was behind me,” said Razzano, who finished in seventh place. “Skating on the Grand Prix was a big goal of mine, and it was great to be invited.”
Razzano headed to the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., full of confidence, and ready to compete. Though he finished eighth in the short program, he was able to move up to fifth place overall with a strong free skate.
Since then, he has been back to the grind placing most of the emphasis of his training on his signature quadruple toe loop and bringing his programs to life.
“My stamina is coming back, and I’ve been working really hard to get the quad consistent,” he explained. “I can do it, but I need to be able to do it almost every single time, so that’s taking some focus. Every day in practice, I’m working to reach out and connect more—even if there is nobody in the stands. I’m pushing the boundaries and limits. I’m treating every run through as a performance, because that’s what it really is.”
Razzano continues to train with two-time Olympian Doug Ladret in Scottsdale, Ariz., with whom he has worked since he was 12 years old.
“My mom made the switch to Doug because she knew that I needed someone who I wouldn’t walk all over,” he said with a laugh. “She knew that he could get me to where I needed to go in my skating career. He is almost like family to me now—I feel like an adopted son.”
Razzano also trains with Ladret’s wife, Lara, and with Grant Rorvick, who toured with Ice Capades for seven years.
“Lara tells me things in a different way than Doug—she’s more analytical,” he explained. “Sometimes what she tells me makes the biggest difference. Grant focuses on the overall look of the programs.”
Razzano will keep last year’s Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 short program, but he has a new free skate to Queen Symphony composed by Tolga Kashif—a symphonic version of music by the band Queen.
“This program is very different for me,” he said. “It’s a bit of a departure, but it’s not a complete departure because it’s a little bit classical, which is my style. The program is very big, and it’s going to require a lot of stamina, a lot of performance, and a lot of over the top things.”
Razzano choreographed the program in collaboration with his coach (Doug) Ladret and choreographer Sandra Bezic.
“Doug and I choreographed it, and made it comfortable for me,” he explained. “Sandra Bezic decorated it. She added an arm here and there. It really was a collaborative effort, and she kind of embellished the things that Doug and I needed to do technically, and she decorated it.”
Team Razzano has taken special care to cater his programs this season to his strengths with the goal of creating a more consistent package from one competition to the next.
“We constructed my programs to my abilities,” he said. “Of course they are (International Judging System) friendly, but you have to be able to do what you can do successfully almost all of the time. The people who do that are the most successful. You build their programs to your strengths, and I attribute a lot of my success to that, and it’s helped with my consistency. Even if I have a difficult practice the morning of a competition, I know that I can still do my programs.”
Like most skaters, Razzano compliments his training with off ice activities.
“I run a lot which I attribute to not only my physical but also my mental strength,” he offered. “I always say that running is like a mini therapy session because it helps me to clear my head. I run about three times a week between one and three miles. I also do a lot of Pilates and core work and a lot of hiking.”
Razzano has once again been invited to compete at Skate America—this time in Kent, Wash., and with a little more time to prepare.
“Last year, I had five days to prepare, and I’m trying to pace myself and not get overwhelmed because last year I didn’t have time for that,” he noted. “I’m really trying to take it easy and go with it. I’m trying to stay as calm as possible because it worked last year.”
His goals for this season are lofty, but Razzano is confident in stating them.
“I would like to skate well and be on the podium at Skate America,” he said. “I want to be on the podium at nationals. I want to be on the Four Continents team, and I would like to be on the world team.”
To accomplish his goals, Razzano believes he knows exactly what he has to do.
“I need a more consistent quad toe, and more consistent performances throughout the season,” he said. “I also need to be constantly pushing the boundaries with the performance aspect of the programs.”
Outside of the rink, Razzano has had an exciting summer—spending time with two of his best friends.
“I went to Hawaii with my friend Bianca Butler and her family,” he shared. “They have a timeshare, and I basically just tag a long. That’s always fun. A month later, I went to California to visit (Butler) and Adam Rippon, and I got together and had a really fun weekend.”
When he isn’t training himself, Razzano spends time in the rink working as a skating coach.
“I teach private lessons and group class,” he offered. “I’m a secondary coach because I don’t want the responsibility of being a head coach while I am still competing. So, if one of the coaches wants me to do this or that, I do it. I work with skaters who have not yet tested (in the US Figure Skating system) up to junior ladies. I also have my real estate license at the request of my mother. Sometimes if she overloaded with work, I do some of the things that she needs me to do.”
Razzano was scheduled to compete this weekend at the Glacier Falls Summer Classic in southern California, but withdrew earlier in the week. It is expected that he will present his programs at Champs Camp in order to receive feedback for his Grand Prix assignment.