Friday, January 8, 2010

Flatt ready to take center stage

After two consecutive silver medals, Rachael Flatt is taking aim at the top of the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships podium in two weeks time in Spokane.

The 17-year-old is hard at work in Toronto, putting finishing touches to her programs with longtime choreographer Lori Nichol. She's training a triple flip-triple toe loop combination in both of her competitive programs. There are even thoughts of adding a second triple-triple combo, if the timing is right.

"Lori is excellent at freshening programs up," Flatt said. "There are no big changes [in choreography]; we're making sure all the details are nice and crisp, and all of the transitions work. I think the programs are coming along really well.

"Technically, I've been working on pretty much everything, especially making my jumps bigger, and getting better flow and better spin positions."

With a fourth-place finish at Cup of China and silver medal at Skate America -- including a win over world champion Yu-Na Kim in the free skate -- Flatt said she's comfortable with both her short to Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing" and free to Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini."

"We actually changed the last spin in the long, to make it the same as one of my combination spins in the short, but with a flying entry," Flatt said.

"It's not a reverse-direction [spin] anymore, so I'm not in danger of losing a lot of points for a technical error [re-centering too far apart] like I did at Skate America. That's the only big change so far."

The wholesome Flatt is becoming something of a poster girl for U.S. Figure Skating, winning sponsorships from AT&T and M.A.C. Cosmetics and lending her talents to charities including Reading is Fundamental and USOC's Team for Tomorrow Fund.

"The weekend before Christmas, I flew to L.A. to do an AT& T commercial," Flatt said. "It was nice to get back to humidity for a couple of days."

The native Californian filmed some lines off camera and also performed a skating routine.

"The hardest part was looking into the camera, making sure my face didn't move away too much, except when I was spinning," she said.

Full article.

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