9th January 2011, from Nick

Hi Everyone,

Its been a while since the last diary entry but I have finally put together an update of how everything is going!

The last time we posted an entry we had no idea that this season would involve being invited to two Grand Prix events, which were the NHK Trophy in Nagoya, Japan and Skate America in Portland, Oregon. We were extremely happy to receive these invitations and had two great experiences, which gave us a lot of confidence for the rest of the season along with the two other group B internationals we went to.

The week after Skate America we had one week back in New Jersey and then we took a flight back to the UK for the week of the British. Unfortunately we took a fall in practice on the Tuesday of that week in which we both landed awkwardly with Penny spraining the ligament on the inside of her left knee. After seeing the NISA medical team we decided that more than anything we wanted to compete that week. We were advised to be very careful and not to make the injury worse leading up to the competition.

The decision was made after the Short Dance, firstly by the NISA medical team and seconded by Evgeny that skating the Free Dance would likely cause the injury to worsen. Evgeny had two knee surgeries himself and provided us with stories of his experiences which helped us both look at the situation differently. An MRI scan confirmed the medics’ diagnosis of a sprained ligament, which at that time was not a long term injury and therefore the best decision was made so as not to make it worse.

Withdrawing from the British was something myself and Penny found very hard to accept because having the chance to become British Champions meant and still means so much to us both and is what we train for everyday. However we were reminded that our long-term career is far more important and hopefully there will be many more chances to become British Champions in the future.

After various meetings with the British judges to review performances of the season I returned to New Jersey with Evgeny to continue training solo for a couple of weeks. While I was back training Penny rested at home with family and then attended an intensive rehabilitation course. She spent a week at Pure Sport Medicine clinic in South Kensington, which really helped Penny get back to training as quickly as possible. We would both like to thank Dr Eleanor Tillett and Jules Ferreira of the NISA medical team who sorted this for Penny, they organised her plan for recovery and have treated her throughout.

On a lighter note, me and Penny were selected for the European Championships in Switzerland! We are obviously really pleased about this and very motivated to skate well and show our programmes at their very best! This week Christopher Buchanan and Hilary Selby who are both ISU technical controllers and British dance judges have been over to New Jersey. They came to monitor both myself and Penny and John and Sinead to declare us fit for the Europeans. Everything went really well and we are all very grateful for Chis and Hilary giving up their time to monitor and provide us with their advice leading up to this important competition.

Hope this puts you all in the picture and gives you an insight into our training and competitions so far and how excited we are for Europeans!

Best wishes,

Nick x