Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zahradnicek Zooms Ahead at Season's Start

Last month, Alexander Zahradnicek began his season with a big win at the Liberty Open in Aston, Penn. The 17-year-old won both the short and free programs to dominate the junior men's competition.

"Liberty's always a very tough competition," Zahradnicek said. "I wasn't focused on winning, just on skating consistently and getting a personal best score. My short was clean, but I stepped out of two jumps in the qualifier for the long. My long in the final was clean."

Zahradnicek first gained national attention when he won juvenile men at U.S. Junior Nationals in 2004. He followed that up with a bronze medal in intermediates in 2005.

Last year he placed fourth in novice before moving up to juniors for the 2009-10 season.

Zahradnicek didn't start out as a skater, but as a skier when he was four or five. "I was a ski instructor when I lived in Australia," said his father, Joseph. "I was hoping Alex would follow after me."

"I didn't start skating until I was eight," Zahradnicek said. "I tried lots of other sports first. I did tennis, swimming, T-ball and soccer, but I didn't like team sports. I wanted something I could do by myself."

"When we lived in Greenville, N.C., we started going to a new rink to go to the public skate on Friday and Saturday," he continued. "I saw other people jumping and spinning and wanted to do that so I started skating every day."

Full article.

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