Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meissner is loving it in the Sunshine State

Training at incredible ICE, the home of the NHL's Florida Panthers, agrees with Kimmie Meissner.

Living alone for the first time, she's making new friends and sampling Coral Gables' beaches nearly every weekend. Under coach Richard Callaghan's guidance, she's starting to regain the confidence shattered by a seventh-place finish at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The only problems are the things that go bump in the night.

"It was a pretty big change moving down to Florida," the 19-year-old Meissner said. "It took me a while to kind of get used to living on my own in an apartment. Pretty much every noise scared me, like the icemaker. I'd go check the locks 20 times and make sure I'd shut the garage door. Just a little paranoid."

Gremlins aside, Meissner's move from her family home in Bel Air, Md., may give the former world champion's career a new lease on life. According to the skater, working with Callaghan, who coached Todd Eldredge to a world title and six U.S. championships and Tara Lipinski to Olympic gold, was just what the doctor ordered.

"I really enjoy working with Mr. Callaghan. He's very professional, and he notices a lot of little things," Meissner said. "I have a lot of fun with him on the ice. He makes me get my work done, which is great. You always need someone to push and motivate you."

Ask Meissner what uprooted her from the University of Delaware arena, where she trained with Pam Gregory for five years, and she'd answer necessity. After gaining fame in 2005 by becoming only the second American woman to land a triple Axel, she captured the world title in 2006 and the U.S. title in 2007.

Her confidence began crumbling at last season's Skate America. She won gold there, but triple-triple combinations that she had once gotten credit for were downgraded. On top of that, her triple flip became a liability when new rules required judges to deduct points for incorrect outside-edge entrances.

Full article.

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