Colombian Native Wins U. S. Junior Men’s Title

Articles, Articles by Barry Mittan

Eliot Halverson

The 2007 U. S. junior men’s champion is Eliot Halverson, a 16-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota who was born in Bogot·, Colombia. Halverson also won the novice men’s title in 2006. He medalled in all three of his internationals before 2007, winning the 2005 Triglav Trophy in novice men and taking the bronze at his two 2006 Junior Grand Prix events in Budapest, Hungary and The Hague, Netherlands. He ended the season with a tenth-place finish at the 2007 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, his first major ISU international event.

“Last season, I just wanted to grow as a skater and gain more confidence at a new level,” said Halverson, who competed in novice the previous season. Next year, I’ll continue to do the Junior Grand Prixs but I am for sure skating senior this season at Nationals. In the future, I’d like to be national champion and make the world and Olympic team.”

Halverson is one of three adopted siblings in his family. His brother and sister were born in Colombia and Paraguay. As a youngster, he was involved in several other activities before he tried skating. That included playing the piano, dancing, horseback riding, and gymnastics. “I competed in some basic gymnastics stuff and wanted to go on a gymnastics team, but my mom didn’t want me to,” he said.

He began skating on a backyard pond when he was six; trying to copy moves he’d seen on television. The next year, he went to watch the 1998 World Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota, just minutes from his home. “I watched everything,” he said, “including all of the practices. I got hooked immediately. I asked my parents for skating lessons and skating was the one thing I stuck with.”

Halverson landed his first triple, the salchow, when he was eleven and landed his first triple axel last summer. He’s been working on a quadruple salchow in harness. Last season, he used a triple lutz-triple toe combination in his short program and triple lutz-triple toe, triple flip-double loop, and triple loop-double loop-double loop in the long.

Ted Engelking and Ann Eidson coach Halverson, who usually trains on ice for two hours a day and off ice for an additional hour five days a week. Halverson has worked with Engelking for the past six years. “I try to impress on Eliot that personal growth precedes skating growth,” Engelking said. “We talk about that during our lessons. His growth from a young boy to a young man has improved his skating. He expresses that growth through his programs. Juniors is one more step in his maturation as a senior.”

Svetlana Kulikova choreographed his 2006-07 programs. His short program was skated to “Hana’s Eyes” by Maksim Mrvica. The long program included three pieces by Danny Elfman – “Tales from the Crypt”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Beetlejuice” as well as “The Grifters” by Leonard Bernstein. “This season, for my short, I’m skating to ‘Libertango’ by Bond,” Halverson said. “For my long I’m skating to ’2046 Main Theme’ by Umebayashi Shigeru and ‘Nostradamus’ by Maksim Mrvica.

“Both my programs were new for the season,” he said. “I usually have two new programs because I like to have everything fresh. I like to skate to different things that other people don’t think of doing. I like being original. Each season, I try to expand and push myself with my artistry. Both of the programs were new areas for me. I thought that when you go from novice to junior, it’s one of the biggest steps you have so I wanted to push myself and do something I’d never done before. It was a good stepping stone for the future.”

Off ice, he likes to listen to new kinds of music that he could use for skating, often finding it on the Internet. To relax, he listens to everything but country music. He enjoys hanging out with friends, reading, and writing. He has a pet dog and a cockatiel, which he taught to say his name.

Halverson is a sophomore in high school, studying through a cooperative home schooling program and using tutors for the more difficult subjects. For a career, he is interested in interior design and designed his own bedroom at home.

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