Online Webinar – Brian Boitano
I joined another lunchtime chat series with Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton. He’s been hosting weekly lunchtime chats amidst the rink shutdowns. I’ve been joining them as I can, and it’s been fun to hear directly from several of my skating idols.
Previously, Scott hosted Olympic coaches Kori Ade and Tom Zakrajsek. He also spoke with Olympic gold medalist Christopher Dean during another chat. On this particular day, he invited Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano on the Zoom call.
I’d met Brian in the early 2000s when he came to town for an ice show. I had backstage passes and got to talk with him briefly. I remember telling him at the time that I was working on a lutz jump, which he made famous by putting up one of his arms straight up into the air. What I learned from this online chat was that Evy Scotvold (Paul Wylie’s former coach) was the one who encouraged Brian to jump like that.
It was wonderful listening to Brian and Scott interacting with each other. They’ve known each other for decades, and Scott commented that he saw Brian come up through the ranks as a junior skater. Scott knew that Brian was one to watch for, as his star power was clearly on the rise. Scott told us that he uses Brian as a good example of consistency. When Brian practices, his patterns are always the same. He uses the same number of crossovers and sets up his elements in the same exact area. His strive for perfection enabled him to maintain consistency. Essentially, rather than practicing until he got something right, Brian practiced until he could not get it wrong. It’s a shift of mentality.
Brian said that his practices were so regimented, that he knew every single movement in his skating programs. If you asked him what he did two beats before a particular element, he could easily recite it. The purpose of this – again – is to build consistency. The added benefit is that knowing and executing each movement keeps your mind focused so that it can stay in the moment and not get distracted.
Brian’s parting thoughts for us was: Know what you want out of your skating. Whether it’s being a recreational skater, winning a gold medal at X competition, or becoming an Olympic champion, you need to know what you want. Share your desires with your trusted circle and coaches so that they can help. Whatever you learn in skating will carry throughout your life.
Thanks to Scott for hosting another fantastic chat series, and I can’t wait to see who his next guest is!