Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro paired up in 2014. Together they are the 2019 Canadian national champions, the 2019 Four Continents silver medallists, and have won medals on both the Grand Prix and Challenger series, including gold at the 2019 Nebelhorn Trophy and 2017 U.S. International Classic.
They talk about the Nebelhorn Trophy, their new programs, their recent move from Montreal to Oakville, and more.
You opened this season at Nebelhorn Trophy, where you placed first both in the short and free program. How do you feel about your performance in Oberstdorf?
It was a good starting place for our first competition of the season. This year we are definitely trying to make a huge step forward, so that we can be competitive with the big teams. That’s the main goal for us.
Yes, it was a starting point for sure. It wasn’t perfect, we lost a few levels but, as we run our programs, we’re learning where our sticky parts are, where we need some adjusting. Overall we were very pleased with how we skated at the Nebelhorn Trophy.
This year you have very interesting programs with original elements, unusual starting, and final poses. Would you please tell us how the process of setting programs went?
This year we took about twice as long as normal to choreograph them. We had such an enjoyable experience working on our programs with Julie Marcotte. At that point we were about to leave Montreal, so we were kind of cherishing that time with her and I think that shows in the programs this year.
As Mike said, it took us a long time to choreograph them, but not because we were struggling. We were really taking our time to develop each section. We had a few different drafts of each section, we tried things for a few days, and changed them sometimes, and we had a lot of fun. We loved working with Julie. We can’t say enough good things about Julie and Bruno. The Marcottes’ are great to us, so we owe much of that to them.
You’ve recently moved training locations from Montreal to Oakville. How difficult was it for you to adjust and get settled?
Surprisingly, not very difficult. The decision to move was a hard one. We took a long time deciding what we wanted to do, but once we made the decision and we went to Oakville with Bruno, we never looked back. Bruno really stepped up for us. He’s created a brilliant environment and surrounded himself with really great coaches that have made up our new team. We’re really happy.
Yes, we were a little bit hesitant on making the decision, but after jumping in now and being three, four months in, we’re extremely happy. It’s gone even better than we had hoped.
I heard that you were also training online via FaceTime with your old team from Montreal. Do you still practice it?
Yes, we still do it. To be honest, at first, we were a little bit leery. We weren’t sure how it was going to go, if it was going to work, but it did. We use an app called Zoom, which is normally used for business meetings. We bring it to the gym with us, and then we just join our old training group. Our coach, Patrick, gives us the exercises, and we can see on the camera the group doing it, so we know what we need to do.
Also, once a month we go back to Montreal to make sure we’re on the right track and everything’s moving in the right direction.
With the World Championships in Montreal this year, do you feel like it’s an extra bonus or extra pressure for you? Is it easier or more challenging for you to skate in front of your home crowd?
I think it’s easier. We think the Canadian fans are really the best fans in the world. They’re so supportive no matter what we put out there, and so it’s always very easy for us to skate in front of them.
This year, we have “Skate Canada” and then the National Championships as two little practices before the Worlds. Having the home crowd out there, using their support and feeding off the energy will definitely add up to our benefit.
Being one of the top teams, how do you cope with nerves and high expectations? Do you have any rituals or superstitions before competition?
Yes, we have a few between us as a team, just little silly things. Of course, we try our best not to be superstitious, but I think, to a point, routine makes us feel comfortable. If we know what to expect from each other and we do the exact same things every time, it makes us feel a little more at ease.
Speaking of nerves, we are still figuring out how to adapt and react to our nerves and stress. Each competition we learn something new about ourselves in our relationship, in our skating, and we bring it to the next competition.
To be competitive this season, we’re going to put 100% of our energy and our focus onto ourselves. We need to leave all those exterior factors away from the ice, so that we can keep building and adding as many points to our performance as possible.
Thank you very much for the interview. Good luck!