Thursday, 19/7/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Olympic Goal Motivates Ferreira

Ben Ferreira

Canada’s Ben Ferreira had an up and down season this fall, finishing eighth at Skate America before taking the silver medal at both Skate Canada and the Bofrost Cup on Ice in Germany. “The first time out with the new programs was a little shaky,” he noted. “Sometimes I have to lose a few times to get back to my own level. I have to go back to what I know how to do, to my own process, to get back on track. I listen to a lot of motivational tapes. I started about three years ago and I believe what these guys say. It really helps me with my focus.”

As for his goals, Ferreira said, “I’m trying to make the 2006 Olympic team. That’s my goal and I’m not wavering from that. I’m putting all I can into it. Success has an entry fee and that is commitment. I’m putting all of my eggs into one basket.” He’s in a good position to do that after winning the silver medal at Canadians in 2004, finishing seventh at the Four Continents Championships and finishing 13th at the World Championships, his highest finish at each event.

He also believes the new judging system will be beneficial. “It’s a great system,” he said. “I’m a big fan of it. Skating is now about a package and a performance, not just the technical elements. Based on what you do, it’s anyone’s game. You just need to do a clean long and a clean short. But you need to plan your program carefully. Risking a quad in the short may not beat the averages. I try to stick to my own plan at each competition and do my job. I never watch anyone else. I have to maintain my own mission and focus and take what comes.”

Ferreira didn’t begin skating until he was 12, after watching his two sisters skate. “I enjoyed skating on a pond when I was younger,” he said, “so I thought I’d give it a try. I liked the jumps and watching Kurt Browning. When I started landing jumps like the axel, I figured I had some talent. It’s a challenging sport for an individual, where you can really push your boundaries. Ferreira landed his first triple axel at 16 and his first quad at 20. “I landed the first ever triple axel in the short in juniors at Canadians in 1996, a triple axel/double toe combination,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of that.”

The 25-year old trains at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ontario with Doug and Michelle Leigh. “I have a really great team on my side,” he stated. Training is scheduled for an hour each morning and afternoon, five days a week. He trains for about three hours a day off ice, including strength and weight training and abdominal work.

Ferreira’s choreographers include David Wilson, Sebastian Britten, and Jadene Fullen. His short is “Rodrigo Grassland Theme” and the long is to a Glenn Miller medley that includes “Sentimental Journey”, “Hit It”, “Moonlight Serenade”, and “In the Mood”. “I’m getting programs that fit my own personality,” he said. “That’s what I’ve tried to do for the last few years and I’m comfortable with where I’m at now. David Wilson found the music for the long and Michelle found the short. We wanted to keep the long program simple. There’s beauty in simplicity. And I’m not a complicated person. What you see is what you get.”

Both of the programs are new this season. “There are so many options to improve yourself that I always change at least one per season,” Ferreira explained. “Since next season will be my last program ever, I’m trying to find something that will let me go out with something truly memorable.” Preferably that will be at the World Championships in Calgary, his hometown.

With the end of his competitive career approaching, Ferreira has already embarked on a career in coaching. He coaches three to five hours a day, four days a week, working with his fiancÈe, Fullen. “I’m going into coaching for sure,” he said. “I’ve done my Level 1 coaching certificate and now I’m studying for the higher levels. We’re working as a team now, primarily through Alicia Keenan in Bradford, Ontario. We have about 20 skaters, both boys and girls up to the novice level. So far, I’m only doing freestyle, the technical end of it. It’s nice that I’ve had a few years of teaching experience while competing so I can build into what’s next. I really enjoy working with kids.”

He’s also teaching some seminars on skating. “I’m getting better at public speaking now,” he said. “It’s a skill I wanted to improve. I’m also interested in real estate investing so I listen to a lot of financial tapes. I have some rental property now.”

“In the summer, I try to get a lot of rest and relaxation,” he said. “It’s as much important as on ice training.” Other than reading, he enjoys going to the beach on weekends, listening to 70s and 80s music, and doing different things with his fiancee. Much of his favorite traveling has been on his parents’ sailboat, sailing around the Caribbean and the Florida Keys, but he also enjoyed Japan. “Japan really impressed me,” he said. “It was a nice society with a lot of good values.”

Since he has asthma and food allergies, Ferreira serves as the Medic Alert spokesperson, encouraging people to wear the Medic Alert bracelets. He also helps the lung association and hopes to work with the asthma society later, perhaps something to benefit asthmatic athletes, who have an extra challenge especially in arenas where smoking is prevalent.

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Skate Today was created in November 2004 to showcase the people of the skating world, skaters and coaches and others, who make figure skating and ice dancing a pleasure to watch for fans from around the world. The goal was to create a site that would give viewers an insight into the personalities of the people involved in this sport and to give you a more personal connection when watching them live at an event or on the television. Our staff knows how much time and dedication is put into this sport and that's why Skate Today was created.

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