With over 20 years of coaching experience, USFS Double Gold Medallist Russ Scott has competed as a national level competitor in both pairs and singles skating, winning the bronze medal in junior pairs at the 1993 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships. With a wonderful attitude about the sport, it was my pleasure to speak with Russ about his skating and coaching careers:
Q: You competed nationally as both a singles and pairs skater, competing against skaters like Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, Rudy Galindo and Todd Eldredge. Was it difficult balancing competing in two disciplines?
A: Competing in both singles and pairs did sometimes become a difficult balancing act at competitions. There were a number of times where I would have to miss practice for one of the events(usually singles) because of overlap with the pairs. I do feel that training in both disciplines increased my conditioning though.
Q: What was the hardest part of skating to you?
A: For me the hardest part of skating was overcoming my own frustrations and perfectionist tendencies.
Q: What is your favorite memory or performance from your skating days?
A: I think the first time I stepped onto the ice for practice at my first Nationals is a memory that will always stick with me. It had already been such a long and incredible journey that I was completely overwhelmed.
Q: You are active as a skating coach now. Where do you coach and who have been some of your favourite skaters you've worked with?
A: I currently coach in Anaheim, California. Having coached for over 20 years now, I have had the great fortune to work with many great athletes. I would be hard pressed to single out any as favorites as I feel that each has given me so much and they all have a very special place in my heart and mind. I feel as if I have helped raise so many of them and I am very proud of the skaters and people that they have become. Standing at the boards when one of my Senior men skated a clean program at Nationals to a standing ovation or watching the girl from a beginner class who went on to pass her Gold test, it has been an amazing ride so far.
Q: Who were your skating idols growing up? Who did you most admire?
A: My idols growing up were Charlie Tickner and Tai and Randy. I am so privileged to now call each of them a friend. I really admired any skater who was willing to put themselves out there and expose themselves to the world. Skating is such a personal experience yet you have to let go of your inhibitions and show the world your inner soul.
Q: When did you retire from competitive skating and what prompted this decision?
A: I retired from competitive skating after competing in the Senior men’s event at the 1995 National Championships. I had unfortunately not found a new pair partner and I was at a place financially where I needed to step away and take care of life. I wish that I could have continued, but I had already been coaching for 5 years at that point and it just seemed like the right time to move forward.
Q: Do you feel jumping and spinning or presentation is more important or are these equal talents to look for in a champion?
A: I would love it if both aspects where of equal importance, but unfortunately I feel in the current IJS judging format the technical points seem to dominate what you look for. Hopefully as skating continues to progress we will have skaters with the quadruple jumps of the current young stars and the artistry of John Curry.
Q: Do you miss performing?
A: I do miss performing and I win all of my competitions in my dreams still! My knees, hips, and back probably do not miss performing though. As a coach I experience many of the same emotions while my skaters are performing.
Q: How do you think U.S. skaters will fare at the Sochi Olympics?
A: I think the U.S. skaters should have a good showing in Sochi. Obviously our dancers are doing extremely well. Ashley Wagner and an interesting crop of up and coming young ladies could surprise some people. We have the potential in the men’s event if the guys keep it together. Our pair teams are the biggest question, but I would never bet against the spirit and passion of any U.S. athlete to excel.
Q: What is one thing all skaters can focus on to really improve their training regimen?
A: All of the skaters need to learn to enjoy the process of training and set aside thinking about the end result. If the skaters can put emotion, passion, and perseverance into their daily routines they will find success.
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