Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Consistency and emotion are Vinci's keys for success in Omaha

Madison Vinci is a 16 year old who trains at the Ashburn Ice House in Virginia.  She has won a medal at both Junior Nationals and Nationals and is making the jump to juniors this season (read her pre-San Jose interview here).  She talked to me about handling pressure at competitions, increasing consistency in her programs and the success of the Washington Figure Skating Club.

Last year was your first time competing at nationals.  What did you take away from that experience and how has it prepared you to make the jump to the junior level?
My experience at Nationals last year was very different from any competition I've ever been to. Seeing the arena for the first time and realizing that I would be skating on that ice was both exciting and intimidating. This year, I feel like I now know what to expect and how to handle myself at such a prestigious event. I can't wait to go back and be able to better appreciate the whole experience.

You've won a medal at nationals the last two seasons (Intermediate Bronze in 2011 and Novice Pewter in 2012).  Do you think there is additional pressure on you to medal this season because of your previous success?
I try very hard to not put too much pressure on myself at competitions. The only thing I can worry about is just performing to the best of my abilities, and as long as I do that I will be extremely happy. If a great skate also earns me a medal, that would be icing on the cake.

You won gold at South Atlantic Regionals and silver at Eastern Sectionals.  What kind of momentum does that give you going into nationals?
I definitely have more confidence in myself coming out of Regionals and Sectionals because I feel like I'm becoming more and more consistent when I compete. I've realized what does and doesn't work for me when preparing to skate in important competitions, and I'm proud of how I have learned to deal with my nerves. I've begun to feel much more comfortable with pressure which I know will come in handy when it comes time to compete at Nationals.

The Washington Figure Skating Club qualified four junior ladies to sectionals and three junior ladies to nationals.  What do you think makes your Club so successful?
My club is very accommodating to its members and we have a dedicated group of skaters and coaches. Skating with so many other talented kids from WFSC definitely pushes us all to be the best we can be, and our club makes sure we have the necessary opportunities to do just that.

Are there any new technical elements that you've added for this season or anything in particular you've been focusing on for nationals?

I've been working on adding an extra triple to both my short and free skate, but my main focus has been the consistency of my run throughs. It's extremely important to me that I'm able to deliver a program that people will enjoy watching and not just fixate on the technical part.

You had a triple salchow + double loop + double loop combination in your free skate at sectionals.  Do you think that combination gives you an advantage on the technical side?
We actually changed my three jump combination to a double axel+ double loop + double loop, which I do in the second half of my program. I do feel that doing a three jump combination late in the program will be a big factor in my technical score.

What would you consider your biggest strength as a skater?  Your biggest weakness and how have you been working to overcome it?
I think that one of my biggest strengths as a skater is that I'm pretty good at using emotion in my programs even when I'm under pressure. To me, my biggest weakness is that I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be. I've been working hard to change that this year by doing tons of run throughs of both my programs in practice, which has been great for both my mental and physical strength.

The Junior ladies event is looking to be extremely tough with several of last season's competitors returning along with the entire novice ladies podium from last year.  What do you think makes you stand out from the rest of the skaters?
You are right...this year's group of junior ladies are all very talented skaters. It's amazing to be included in this group of 12 ladies. I think one thing that makes me stand out when I skate is my ability to show feeling and emotion in my programs.

What are your goals for nationals?
My goals for Nationals are to just not hold anything back, not let my nerves affect my skating, and to deliver the best performance possible.

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