2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships Memories

Welcome to 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships Memories

U.S. Figure Skating

I wish i could say that was me (the lady) – sadly i can’t. My name is Susie Tsang and i have loved figure skating since my Dad took me to see the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships when i was  fifteen. It made a big impact on me. I love all sports, even though I’m studying Science at College. This is MY blog and i hope you enjoy it!

Remember this ?


I joined a skating group in Cleveland 2 years ago and up until recently, our skating school (C.S.S) ran ISI Learn-To-Skate classes and was the home skating rink for the Broadway Skating Club, a long standing member of USFSA. Perhaps this was ironic in that our rink is the closest rink to their national headquarters in Colorado Springs. The only problem that we faced in the 5-1/2 years that we have been open has been in hosting ISI competitions. The skating club was less than enthused about supporting an non-USFSA event. Other than volunteer support for competitions, we really didn’t have any other issues. Kids enrolled in the ISI classes that wanted to make the jump to private lessons and competitive skating did so and sought membership into the skating club. The same coaches that teach Learn-To-Skate teach privates as
well, so there exists an efficient mechanism to transition group lesson kids to skating contracted ice time and seeking private lessons from our coaching staff. Our club are no longer offering ISI Learn-to-Skate classes in lieu of Basic Skills classes which is a shame, i feel.

My Skate Classes!

The great thing about the Cleveland Adult Skate Groups i go to is that they have a wide range of classes from beginner to advanced. They also have private lessons. For a beginner I recommend Sheila Mortinson for a coach. She has tons of patience and loves teaching adults. She also has lots of great tricks up her sleeve for making learning things easier. There is also lots of ice time so you can practice on your own. I always take a few lessons from her as well as taking lots of classes. I also recommend getting a locker. It is worth the extra $16 so you can stash your wallet someplace safe.

I’m a bit late in my learning to skate endeavor, a friend told me about  Cleveland Adult Skate Groups and I must agree they are geared toward the beginner. There are several group classes for the beginner, Adults Class is more for the advanced beginner/intermediate skater. The attendees never get  ”testy” when someone doesn’t move out of the way fast enough. There are also never issues you find on any freestyle sessions: “I can only do this jump at this very same spot every single time I try it”; “I’m gonna stand here and talk”; “The track is a great place to try my camel spin”; “I see you coming toward me and I will move out of your way”. Its never frustrating and for those of you who think I’m a bit late starting my skating well look out!! Ha Ha – one day this MIGHT be me:

One of the reasons i so love figure skating is the music – beautiful, moving inspiring music – to be able to skate gracefully to it (not there yet!) must be the most magical experience and well worth working towards i feel.

Skating Tip One – Stretch!!

If you go to the U.S.F.S.A website you will find a detailed section on coaching. The first thing any coach will tech you is about stratching and its importance. The neat thing about this week is that I wasn’t so sore the next day! I could actually walk! lol.We pretty much did the same stretches. What I don’t understand is why we spend soooo much time working on our splits. I’m no longer suppose to be practicing them with hands on the floor. I’m suppose to be just doing over splits now, and practicing the one where my hands are over my head and doing a back bend. Gee, I wish I had a flexible back! There was this one girl who was doing horizontal splits against the wall (actually monkey bars) lying on her back. The coach climbs on the monkey bar and just stands on her legs (yikes!) and forces them over into 180 degrees. My goodness, I am glad I wasn’t that girl. But when she came to push mine open, I don’t think I have ever screamed so loud as an adult before! New stretches: the bridge (back arch). Also, pushing our back up with hands in front and bending legs (trying to touch head to toes in back arch). Then she came around and pressed us into a back arch. We stretched the arms and shoulders against the wall. Also, leg in front up against the wall as high as possible and press. And then same thing except leg behind. Then we did floor work across the gym, kicking leg in front, kicking leg behind with back leg bent trying to touch toes to head, and then kicking leg behind with body dipping down (like Charlotte spiral). The floor work was really fun.

Advice i was given by Jane Rogers, my first teacher, which i will pass onto you: “I would be careful with someone who is forcing the stretch like you mentioned.  Maybe you could arm yourself with a bat before class?  :) . So how do you do this over stretch thing with the chair?  And how high is the chair?  I have visions of a folding chair and putting your leg on it, then just sliding down.  In my case, I would either slide into the chair, at which time it would fold and I would be stuck in it, or I would stop, not even at a full 180 degrees and I would fall to one side or the other.  Very graceful and you can well imagine.”

More Memories of Cleveland 2009:

I have a trip to Australia next week that i have planned for 3 months – hopefully some great times ahead in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney – will update soon!

Canberra – Solar Panels , Car Troubles and Adventure

Canberra is Australia’s capital city. Uncle Mike and Auntie Jess originate from Barton, in Canberra A.C.T. We visited there last week – amazing time! The place



was freezing cold as Canberra has extreme temperatures and can easily dip below zero in winter and Mike says above 40C in summer! We visited the war memorial, the National Gallery , Parliament house and the Questacon centre – truely amazing place!!! Mike was fascinated with Canberra solar farm development which has made the A.C.T. and Canberra a twenty percent renewable energy city. We met Mikes cousin, Lucas a Canberra based solar installer (see solar power Canberra for more details) who took us out to the solar power farm . Amazing – the Australian Government has really pushed solar power installation and created financial incentives for average home owners to install solar power in their homes – very different from the U.S. (except California). Lucas said he had installed four to five hundred solar systems around Canberra and many homes were virtually self sufficient for their energy needs as a result. I think this is great – not just from the power bill reductions, but also from reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Mikes Toyota land cruiser has a few issues heading out of Canberra to Lucas’s place. It broke the clamp holding the exhaust in place – went very loud – ha ha!! In spite of this the 30 year old 4WD did fine. Mike has been all over the Western Australian mountains for years. Part of that time was in a 1973 pulling a 10,000lb trailer. I learned it was a lot different than coming off a mountain with a tractor trailer. He reckons he just took his time and if any body got in a hurry they could go around or not. He said he figured if they wanted to tell me how to drive it, they could just write me a check and I would watch them drive both rigs down the hill LOL. His advice- “You don’t have to go all the way to the bottom without stopping. Start off slow and stay slow, if you are uncomfortable or smell your breaks getting hot, pull over and stop. Have a sandwich, check your tires look at the views,Just don’t take chances or wait until your breaks are smoking. Most mountain roads are pretty safe if you watch the signs and stay below what they say. The only one that still puckers me up every time I go off of it is between Cloud Hill in the A.C.T.and N.S.W.. I have been off of it 100′s of times and have a great deal of respect for it. 16 miles of 6-8% downgrade. I turn on my Jake Brake as I leave the Cloud Hill Village limit and don’t turn it off until I hit the Canberra city limit.” – Bet Brian (my brother related to that! – ha ha!)


Australia Trip – Sun, Sea, Solar Power in Adelaide and Surf!

Hey guys. Im in sunny Adelaide, Australia. Adelaide is on the South Coast of Australia – the locals call it ‘oz’ – ha ha. I am staying with my Aunt Jess and Uncle Mike – great folk and so happy to be here. Fist thing we did was to try and get my U.S. drivers licence valid in Australia. Mike had spoken to their local Department of Transport regarding getting a vehicle licenses for me for use in Australia. He told them there i would be here 3 months and wanted, also, a Northern Territory license plate (though they think that may only be for Third Party Insurance). They seemed happy to license me without the restrictions so i can drive in OZ without an escort!! Yippee. Mike has been involved in the world famous Solar Car Challenge which is for ‘solar cars’ that race from Darwin to Adelaide – an amazing 3000km! The sun can get up to 45 degrees celcius. Mike is preparing his teams car for the 2012 race – he is a solar power expert and  works in the solar panels industry in Adelaide where his business is to install solar power systems on peoples roof in Adelaide. There is a solar boom on Adelaide and Australia and the Government at state and Federal level encourage solar power installation and have a 20 percent renewable energy target. Mike has 1800 solar power installations in Adelaide and Brisbane under his belt. The same solar electricity used to power homes is the same solar power used to power the cars in the Darwin to Adelaide World solar challenge.

solar power in Adelaide - powering homes and even cars


Now, being an ice skater i know about fitness – but not to this extreme. There is a guy with a solar power bike! Going 3000km across the desert on it! Get that! They have worked out that their solar bike requires about 300 watts to sit on 40km’h. This should be achievable for the 2 hour stint that each rider will have to ride. If I understand the rules correctly, they can change their battery packs every 2 hours with the riders. Using this strategy, they should have 150 watts continuous available to the motor. Solar will be a bonus. They plan on using minimum solar panel on the bike itself….as previous races have shown how delicate these systems are, especially going over cattle grids. Additionally, the
bike is equipped with 20″ BMX wheels all round, for high strength. Mike is assisting with the solar power installation and wiring. During the last two races, they went to the scrutineering and race start for interests sake. They were struck by the poor planning and preparation of a lot of the entrants. Some had not even tried the vehicles prior to race day! Probably explains the high failure rate. Having said that, now I have no excuse for a poor performance. Hee Hee.

Update – 29 November 2012. John’s solar power blog at new site

John is updating a solar power blog aimed at Adelaide, but also a variety of comments and observations relating to renewable energy and Government initiatives in Australia – check him out at http://solarenergyinformation.com.au/blog/