Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!
Today, there was a short media conference call that featured Nam Nguyen. As a talented young skater, he has been thrust into the limelight with his successes and growth in recent years. Nam has had new challenges in each of the last couple of years which he has faced with maturity and strength.
Last season, Nam was the heir-apparent for the Canadian National Men’s figure skating title, and he won convincingly. No offense to Kevin Reynolds, but when I think of the future of Canadian Men’s skating, Nam pops into my mind. Nam skated last season with confidence and a consistency that earned him a National Championship title, and a 5th place finish at the World Championships. Way to go Nam!
This season Nam has struggled a bit, and while he is the defending Canadian National Champion, it is a whole new ballgame with the return of Patrick Chan. Nam spoke candidly with the media this afternoon.
In his opening comments, Nam said he was “Ready for Nationals. Training has been going well, some days are harder than others, but I’m pushing through”.
Since this was a media conference about Nam and the upcoming Nationals, I was surprised when a person asked about Javi and Yuzu and then later on, that same person asked another question about Yuzu and Javi again. No other journalist asked these types of questions. I felt bad for Nam actually, because I thought the focus should have remained on him only and his training but that’s all I will say about this item (just my opinion).
The first question was about how Nam felt about training in the same rink as Javi and Yuzu. Nam’s response was “It’s so cool, and motivating. Both are World Champions, and one an Olympic Champion. It is an honour to train alongside them, and I have learnt alot. They jump and skate effortlessly. They skate with such ease and not much effort. It looks nice. I try to learn from them. Both Yuzu and Javi push me when I am having a down day, they support me. It is a great training environment at the Cricket Club”.
Nam was asked if his training has changed at all leading up to Nationals. His response was that he has been doing very intensive training, focusing on skating and choreography with emphasis on making things “big and mature”. Nam confirmed that he is going back to his old short program. When asked why he went back to his old short program (choreographed by Jeff Buttle) Nam indicated that “the new short was too serious. It was almost the same as my free program. It was too intense.” Nam said he wanted to lighten the mood, and have more fun with it. When asked if the change was a result of any feedback, Nam replied that at the Cup of Russia, he was sitting in the change room and he talked to Brian about the change and Brian agreed with him. They talked to the Canadian judge who agreed with the change as well. The 2 programs were too similar in style.
I asked him a question about the pressure of being the reigning Canadian Champion going into the event, if it had any effect on him. Nam answered “Some days there is pressure. It messes with my mind. So, I am just going to do my best, and show that I have improved, and let people see my full potential.”
A related question was also asked about whether or not the dynamics have changed with Patrick around. Nam answered that he doesn’t think about other skaters because it stresses him out. He focuses on his own training and his own goals. If he is having a down day and he thinks about Patrick coming back, it stresses him out. He added quickly that is is only sometimes, it’s not all the time that he thinks about this. On the other hand, Nam also added that “Patrick coming back also motivates me to work harder.”
As we were asked for any other questions, the same person asked again about Yuzu and Javi, this time a question about any tips that Yuzu or Javi may give to him. Nam simply answered that “Javi pats me on my back if I miss my jumps and tells me to keep pushing. Yuzu is the same, he will tell me “don’t give up, keep fighting, don’t let anything negative bring you down”.
In the short program, Nam indicated that he is planning to put a quad toe/triple toe combination jump. He added that “sometimes doing this quad combination is easy, sometimes it’s challenging. It depends on the day”. When asked about the possibility of adding 2 quads to the short program since he is one of the skaters that has two quads in his arsenal, Nam confirmed that “At this point, no. It’s not ready. It is too much for me, maybe in the future.” Nam’s free program will have 2 quads toes (one in combination).
When asked about the biggest area of improvement this season, Nam commented that he had wanted to improve his skating skills, moreover his overall skating skills, however, he did not improve as much as he had wanted to.
I found Nam to be very delightful on the phone, and very patient with all of the questions. He was engaging and very enjoyable to listen to. Since I am not a professional journalist by trade, it was very interesting to hear the different kinds of questions and compare to how much detail we actually see printed in articles. I hope you have enjoyed my review of the call.
Good luck to you Nam next weekend!!
Photo credit: @namnamnoodle instagram
And as always, Go Yuzu Go! Doki Doki