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

20th September, from Penny

Hey guys,

As the new season begins, i thought it was probably the right time to write another journal entry to give you an update as to how things have been going for us, and our plans for the next few weeks. When i last wrote, Nick and I were towards the end of our pre season training and both looking forward to going home for some rest. After taking just a couple of weeks off, Nick and I were back on the ice with my step dad, Philip Askew Choreographing our new Short Dance. We picked music from the film “Amelie” for the waltz section and a tango piece by Vanessa Mae. I think we are all really happy with our music choices for this season.

Whilst we were training at The National Ice Centre, the Sports development team provided us with a unique opportunity to work with some Acrobats on our lifts for our new programmes. Jackie Leon Sysums and Juan Carlos Leon Benitez, otherwise known as “Tuyo” are top class ariel and acrobatic trainers that have worked for Theatre, Broadway and Television. It was amazing to work with them as they really helped us achieve what we believe to be really exciting and inovating lifts. Check out their website : http://www.tuyocircusarts.co.uk/#/about-tuyo/4538413665.

In preparation for the new season, Nick and I travelled back to New Jersey, to train at the Igloo ice rink. Evgeny teaches us here along side John and Sinead Kerr, the Georgian ice dance team Allison Reed and Otar Japaridze and some younger dance teams. Nick and I really enjoy training here, all the teams get along well and are supportive of each other. Completing those first few runthroughs of the season is always tough, as your body is not quite used to the new programs and endurance needed to get to the end of them yet. But, all the guys here cheer you on and it really helps you get through the harder runthroughs. This something that has really helped me so far this season as our Free Dance this year is particularly challenging.

It was really nice for us to come back to England and perform our new programmes at the IJS Sheffield event. It was great to see all the other competitors and the improvements they have all made since we last saw them at the British Championships. It was a great chance for us to shows our new programmes to the judges and technical pannel, especially the new Short Dance and gain valuable feedback that we can hopefully take with us to our international events. After a breif trip home, including an afternoon Go-karting with Evgeny, we were back to America to train hard prior to our international events.

Which pretty much leads you up to where we are now, back in New Jersey getting ready for our first international the Ondrej Nepela Memorial in Bratislava. We have been working on our programs with Jhanna Palagina, a former professional ballet dancer, prior to this season Jhanna worked along side natalia Linichuk and her teams. We leave here on Friday and are planning to train back in Nottingham next week before we leave for Bratislava, and then again before the Coup de Nice competition. We will probably write again after the two events.

Best wishes,

Penny 🙂 xx

23.05.10 By Penny and Nick

Hi Everyone,

Firstly we would like to welcome you to our new Website, we will be keeping it as up to date as possible on our training, traveling and competing. So, enjoy! 

We spent some time at home with our families and friends in March, as we definitely needed some normality after our overwhelming olympic experience. During our time home we decided on our Free Dance music, we’re not going to give too much away but we’re both very excited about the challenges it holds and it is definitely going to show a new fun side to us both. Philip Askew is choreographing our programmes, we have always love what he has done in the past and this year is no exception. We have the programme ready nice and early this season and because of this, the choreography is far more challenging than anything we have ever done before. So, we are glad to have plenty of time to perfect it before competition season starts.

Over the past six weeks we have been in New Jersey training under our new coach Evgeny Platov and along side John and Sinead Kerr. We have really enjoyed spending this time of the season with Evgeny, we are learning a completely new technique, improving in speed across the ice and also paying huge attention to detail. It proves to be a very demanding regime, yet we are both enjoying every training session. Needless to say that we’re zombies come the weekend.  

We are also gaining a lot from working with ballet coaches, and personal trainers everyday after on ice training. Along side Evgeny and Philip, we have been working with Tatiana Druchinina, who has worked on the projection of our movements and has helped on the fine details. We feel that this has aided us both so much, especially since we’re not far into the new season. In addition to this, whilst at home in Nottingham we worked with some acrobats on our lifts for this season for about four weeks and they have helped us turn some of our ideas into possibilities. This year we really wanted to take advantage on the height difference between us and really challenge ourselves as to what lifts we can come up with, pushing our limits and creativity to match the music.

We are coming to the end of the early pre-season training and we will be heading home in around two weeks. We will have a bit of time off once we arrive home before we start again back training at the National Ice Centre. Like everybody we are waiting to see what happens with this years ‘Short Dance’ but as soon as it is announced we will be on with making up new material back in Nottingham with Phillip. We will return to New Jersey during July to continue working with Evgeny.

We are really looking forward to starting the new season. Last season was such a whirlwind for us with so many great experiences and we cant wait to build on what we have learnt.

We will keep you updated!  

Nick and Penny