Monday, December 22, 2008

Alexe Gilles carries on family tradition

Alexe Gilles, the 2008 U.S. junior ladies champion, is one of three members of her family to compete internationally for the United States in figure skating.
First to compete was her brother, Todd, who finished eighth at the 2005 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in ice dancing with Trina Pratt.
Alexe was the second of the siblings to reach the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final, placing sixth last year. Todd finished eighth in 2005 with Pratt.
Her twin sister, Piper, who now dances with Zach Donohue, actually competed internationally, with a past partner, before Alexe but first qualified for the JGP Final in 2008. She and Donohue were the fifth-ranked dance team but had to withdraw due to an injury.
Alexe was disappointed that her sister could not compete, as they would have made history as the first twins to compete at the same JGP Final in different categories. Alexe still made the most of her time in Korea, winning the bronze medal in junior ladies.
"I had never been to Asia before, but once I got my legs back under me, everything came back," she said. "I get a little more used to the jet lag each time."
"Third is not bad, and I can keep improving on that," she said. "I think I could have skated better. My goal was to get a Junior Grand Prix medal. Now, I want to be in the top four in seniors at nationals and medal at junior worlds."
"I learned from not going to junior worlds last year," she added. "It made me train more. I wanted to do my triple-triple at the Final, but the first one was a bit wonky. I was doing it in practice so I hope it will be better for nationals."
"I moved up to seniors after I won juniors last year," she noted. "What's the point of staying when I could get an extra year in seniors and move up in the world rankings? I hope to keep getting better in the Grand Prix and make the worlds and then the Olympics in 2010 and 2014."
The 16-year-old started skating when she was about two-and-a-half, after she and Piper went to her brother's birthday party at the ice rink. "We went on the ice then and loved it and just stuck with it and kept improving," she said.
"It's a thrill being out there," she continued. "Not many people can do it, balancing on an eighth of an inch blade. I can be graceful and powerful at the same time. That's the fun part."
Unlike her siblings, Gilles did not go into dance. "I tried dance and had a partner for two months, but it wasn't good," she said. "I like jumping more."

Full article.

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