Zukowski Fares Well in Juniors and Seniors

Articles, Articles by Barry Mittan

Christine Zukowski

Christine Zukowski, the 2005 U. S. junior ladies silver medalist, had a very successful 2005-06 season in both juniors and seniors. During the Junior Grand Prix season, she won a silver medal at the Andorra Cup and a bronze at the Croatia Cup. She finished off the JGP season by placing sixth at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in the Czech Republic. Making the JGP Final was her first goal for the season, then she hoped to make the top five or six at U. S. Nationals after finishing first in Regionals. She also accomplished this goal, finishing sixth at U. S. Nationals in senior ladies.

She started skating when she was five. “I saw Nancy Kerrigan on TV at the 1994 Olympics and told my mom I could do that,” she said, “so she took me to classes the next week.” Zukowski was 12 when she landed her first triple jump, a triple salchow. Although she has only triple flip/triple toe and triple toe/triple toe in her programs, she has also landed triple loop/triple toe, triple salchow/triple toe and triple lutz/triple toe in practice. She also does a triple salchow/double toe loop/double loop in her free skate. Zukowski has also tried a triple axel in harness and a quadruple toe loop out of harness.

The 16-year-old from Philadelphia trains at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE with Jeff Digregorio, with whom she has worked since she was eight or nine. She works on ice for four or five 45-minute sessions, five days a week and does another hour of off ice training daily. Digregorio is also known for coaching pairs, so Zukowski gave it a try for a little while, but preferred skating singles. Last summer, she also went to the Mariposa school of Skating in Barrie, Ontario to work with Doug and Michelle Leigh for three weeks. She plans to return next summer.

Lisa Cappella choreographed her short program to Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird”. “My coach wanted me to skate to it,” Zukowski said. “He thought it would suit me because it’s fast and powerful. I like to skate to powerful music. I’m not a ballerina.” Lea Ann Miller choreographed her long program using “The Three Preludes” by George Gershwin. “She gave me two choices for the long and I picked the one I liked better,” Zukowski said. “It’s something different. The other one sounded like everyone else.” Both programs are new for the 2005-06 season, as Zukowski likes to use new programs every year. For her exhibition program, Zukowski is skating to Christina Aguilera’s “Soar”. “I found that myself,” she said.

Zukowski is currently in tenth grade, studying primarily over the Internet at the Philadelphia Cyber Charter School. By next year, she hopes to begin taking community college courses online to get a head start on her university education. She plans to go to the University of Delaware with the idea of eventually becoming a veterinarian. Naturally, her favorite high school subject is biology and she has several pets including three dogs and a cat.

Off ice, she said, “I like to hang out with my friends and go bowling or go to the movies. There’s not a whole lot to do in Newark. In the summer, I go to the beach and go swimming a lot because it’s close by. I’m also on the computer a lot, probably too much. I IM (instant message) all the time.” At the theatre, horror movies are her favorites. She used to collect key chains but they kept falling off her skate bag, so she quit collecting them.

For the future, Zukowski hopes to win Worlds and wants to skate in Champions on Ice. Beacuse of her top six placement at U. S. Nationals in 2006, she’ll try to skate in seniors internationally next season; otherwise she’ll probably compete in juniors for another year.

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