South Africa's Lejeanne Marais made her first senior season a memorable one by competing at both the Four Continents Championships in Goyang, Korea and the World Figure Skating Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2008. She placed 20th at Four Continents and 51st at Worlds. Those were the first ISU championships in which the 2008 South African senior ladies champion competed.
This season Marais opened the season by finishing 20th at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Mexico City. She'll next compete in the ISU JGP Skate Safari in South Africa.
Her mother, Susan Marais, coaches the 18-year-old, who trains in Pretoria. "I've been on the ice since I could walk," Marais said. "I was always around the rink while my mom was coaching and around seven or eight I started to get into it. I've tried some other things, but nothing that consumed my life like skating."
That includes ballroom dancing, which she tried for two years but never competed. At school, Marais competed in the 100 meters, high jump and long jump against other schools. "I'm always in the top three," she noted. "I also did tumbling for a year and a half when I was 13. My dad was a gymnast and tumbler." Her mother was the South African senior ladies silver medallist in skating in 1985.
Daniela Solinas choreographed Marais' 2007-08 short program, while her mother choreographed the long. She included music from the soundtrack of "Chicago" by John Kander and Fred Ebb for the short and from the soundtrack of "Casanova" for the long. Both programs were the same as she used in 2006-07.
"I saw 'Chicago' in South Africa," Marais said. "I was getting bored with doing classical music and I don't do themed stuff so I thought I'd try to do something out of character. For 'Casanova', I just liked the music. I wasn't portraying the theme or telling the story."