Saturday, 23/6/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Rippon Rips Up Competition

Adam Rippon

U.S. junior skater Adam Rippon has been overwhelming his competition on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit this season. He won the Junior Grand Prix in Romania and finished second in Bulgaria to qualify for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final. Rippon led a U.S. sweep of the men’s podium in Gdansk, Poland. “It was my first final ” he said. “I just try to focus on my own skating. I knew if I did two clean programs, I’d do well.” Last season, he finished sixth in junior men at U.S. Nationals, up from 11th in 2006. In 2005, he won his only medal at Nationals to date, a silver in novice men.

Rippon agrees with the ISU judging system. “The Code of Points has helped me and everyone else to develop their skating,” he said. “You can’t just be good at jumps or spins or artistic expression anymore. You have to be good at everything and you have to be able to connect all the elements.”

The talented 18-year-old began skating when he was ten years old. “My mother used to skate and she took me along to the rink,” he said. “I didn’t really like it at first, but grew to love it. I have five brothers and sisters, but I’m the only skater. One of my brothers is on the school track team and another brother and my sister are in gymnastics, which I did as well when I was little.”

He landed his first triple jump, a triple salchow, at the age of 13 and now lands up to a triple lutz. “I have a really nice two-footed triple axel,” he admitted. “I’m really working on the axel right now and hope to have it ready by Nationals. I like to work hard and learn new things. I’m working on a quad toe loop for next year. Daisuke Takahashi had helped me with it and Alexei Yagudin helped with my triple axel.”

“I can do any of the triple-triple combinations with either a toe loop or a loop on the end,” he noted. “I used to do triple lutz-triple loop in competitions, but I’m using a triple flip-triple toe in my programs this season. The toe combinations are so much easier that you can still do them if you have a little bit of a problem landing the first jump. That’s hard top do with the loop so I’ve focused on the toe as the second jump. I have seven triples in my long program, three solo, as well as a triple lutz-double toe-double loop and a double axel-half loop-triple salchow.”

He began working with Nikolai Morozov in Hackensack, New Jersey in February 2007. “After Nationals, I decided to find a new coach because I had outgrown my old one,” Rippon said. “I had to go to five rinks to skate, all with low level skaters. I had come to Hackensack but I hadn’t met Nikolai before. Once I started working with him, I’ve been there ever since.”

“The training atmosphere is so different here,” he continued. “It’s great to train with great skaters who all have the same goals as you do. When I have a rough day, they understand what I’m going through.” Rippon trains on ice for five or six hours a day, six days a week. “In the summer, I also did a lot of off ice training, about three hours a day,” he added, “but during the season I just do on ice training.”

Morozov choreographs Rippon’s programs, both of which are new this season. “I try to change both programs every year,” Rippon said. “I like to try something different each year to continue my growth as a skater. Nikolai found the music for both programs. I just skate around and Nikolai plays different music to see what would be best.” For the short, Rippon is using Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”; while for the long he is skating to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.

“I’ve skated to classical music almost all of my competition years,” Rippon said. “The short is classical but with a techno beat in it. The long program is the same as Irina Slutskaya skated in 2005-06. I saw her at Worlds and the program was so inspirational, I wanted to skate to it. It had so much joy in it.” For exhibitions, he often uses Andrea Bocelli’s “Because We Believe”, but for the Media Market show in Germany in November, he did a hip-hop program to “I’m Still Diggin’ on James Brown.”

Off ice, he said, “I love everything on the radio as well as classical music. Some days I only listen to pop, other days only classical. I have so many cycles where I listen to different kinds of music.” He also learned to play the piano, but doesn’t play now.

To relax, he also likes to return home to his family and play tennis and soccer. He also likes to hang out with friends from the rink and occasionally go into New York City. One of his interests is the Internet and he has a web page at http://www.figureskatersonline.com/adamrippon.

“I’m a senior in high school,” Rippon said, “but I’m home schooled. Next year I plan to take some university courses so I have something to do away from skating, but I want to concentrate on skating for now. When I do go to university, I want to study something that will involve skating, like psychology or sports nutrition.”

“I hope to compete until I have to stop,” he added. “I love competing and hope to skate until I’m 30 years old, maybe later.”

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