Senior Grand Prix Reflections

As I sit here in Moscow’s DME airport, I feel so privileged to have coached at four Grand Prix events this season for many reasons.

The first being that to attend the competitions with such talented athletes as Max Aaron and Agnes Zawadzki is truly a blessing and a coach’s dream.

To witness Max train like a beast at home and take such huge athletic and artistic risks in his Grand Prix debut makes me proud. While I know he carried a lot of expectations on his shoulders and in many people’s eyes he did not live up to the hype, he did in mine. Instead of resting on his laurels and falling into the trap many elite skaters do and just trying to “skate clean,” he “failed upwards” (see the book, The Talent Code) and in the process showed all the young skaters around the world that it is ok to make mistakes and to never stop reaching until you are the very best. Carry on, Max!

And Agnes…what can I say? To help her overcome her fears and skate a clean short at the Rostelecom Cup and achieve a personal best was such a rewarding coaching moment. And while I know she did not win a medal here, the improvement in her long program in two weeks by nearly 10 points is a testament that there is no substitute for hard work and training. While I know she still has more work to do, it is important as her coach to acknowledge the small steps she takes along the way. I can hardly wait until our next long program training day! It is called the “road to Sochi” because it is long and winding. Makes me think of a Beatles’ song;)

Finally, a special thank you to the fans from Japan, Russia, China and the US. I always say, “Success is for everyone,” and your genuine support for all of the skaters no matter which country they represent shows this. When we see you in the hotel lobbies or backstage at the arenas, your smiles, kind words of encouragement and gifts help us carry on our challenging Olympic journey.

Peace and love this holiday season,

Tom Zakrajsek

Posted in Blog.