Last Friday was the viewing party for my event in the Virtual Aerial Challenge. I had no idea how many skaters were entered into my event or whom my competitors would be. All I knew was that I did my best.
I watched the live stream with my family and nervously anticipated what the judges would think. Apparently, I was the first competitor. They showed my video on the screen, and then the Zoom meeting of the judges discussing my elements. I had chosen to do a single axel, and then a single axel-single toe loop as my combination (the single jump could either be a single loop or a single axel, and then the combo could be anything up to a double salchow or double toe loop).
Judge Gale Tanger spoke about how I needed to attack the jumps more. She felt like I was hesitant on the entry (which I was) so I needed to show her that I was ready and to go for it. Judge Audrey Weisiger agreed but also commended me for being able to execute an axel jump as an adult, as it is a milestone in an adult’s (and kids’) skating journey.
Celebrity judge Frank Carroll (Michelle Kwan’s coach) had been a strict judge all evening, but he managed to give me an 8 for my first jump. National and World Champion Kimmie Meissner gave me a 9, as did National Champion Max Aaron. For my combination jump, I earned all 9s and one 8.
Three more skaters followed me, so there were only 4 of us total. One skater successfully executed a double toe loop and an axel for her video submission. However, at the end of the event, the judges placed me in first place! Holy cow! And now I am listed as the “Grand Champion” on the event page. Granted, there were just 4 of us in this event, but it’s pretty cool to be named Grand Champion of something, particularly in skating!
Here is a video!