Interview With Chase Belmontes
Eighteen and full of talent, Chase Belmontes is a name that we are going to be hearing a lot of in the coming years. After suffering with the disappointment of not qualifying to compete at Nationals after already competing there previously, Belmontes fought back and won the pewter medal in the junior men's event at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston. A skater with personality, flair and confidence, Belmontes took the time to talk about his career to date, fighting back from disappointment, his goals for the future, favourite skaters and much more in this interview that shows just how fabulous (and funny) he is:
Q: You skated very strongly at U.S. Nationals this year, finishing 4th in the Junior Men's event with a free skate that features six triple jumps. What are your proudest and most special memories from your skating career so far? What have been the most challenging?
A: My proudest memory is definitely Nationals this year. I skated the best I ever had so far, and everything felt amazing. It was also the best my hair has looked in a competition, which is an important milestone for me. Boston was absolutely wonderful, and my performances earned me my first international assignment, and being an alternate for Junior Worlds! My parents rewarded me with ice cream cake that said "Congratulations Chase!". One of my most challenging moments from my skating career was not qualifying to Nationals last year. It was really upsetting since I qualified the year before when I was novice. This was also a blessing in disguise because from that point on, I stopped dwelling on what happened and decided to be dedicated and determined to work as hard as I possibly could this season to get where I want. My goal was top six this year. I worked so hard that I surpassed that goal completely! Another challenging moment this year was getting injured a week before the Glacier Falls competition in California. I was off the ice for five days and skated only one practice before I competed. I still wanted to compete to test myself and my mental strength. I skated a clean short, landing my first triple/triple since the week before! My long program was horrendous and I'm surprised the audience didn't throw rotten fruit at me after... but I learned so much from that experience and it made me a better skater mentally and physically!
Q: Looking forward to next season, what are your main goals and what direction do you plan to go in with your programs? Will you be staying in the junior ranks or moving up to skate senior?
A: I plan on staying Junior just one more year. My main goals are to land my triple axel consistently, skate 2 clean programs at 2015 Nationals and I would love to earn more international assignments, including Junior Worlds. Ideally, my biggest goal though would probably be to become Beyoncé in every performance I do this upcoming year. I want the judges to be confused, yet starstruck that Beyoncé is on the ice. Right now I am planning on keeping my long program to "Princess Mononoke", but changing parts of it and rearranging the structure. I am planning on doing a more mature style for my short program next year, and Phillip Mills will be choreographing both of my programs again.
Q: You train at the Broadmoor Skating Club alongside so many talented skaters! How does sharing the ice with so many other great skaters push you to be a better skater yourself?
A: I absolutely love training at the World Arena and being a part of the Broadmoor Skating Club! The past years I have been training here, I skated with top names like Patrick Chan, Jeremy Abbott, Josh Farris, Angela Wang, Rachael Flatt, Agnes Zawadzki, Jason Brown, Ryan Bradley, and many others. Skating on the same ice with all of these amazing skaters is so inspiring. I always try to prove to myself and everyone that I belong on the same ice as these skaters, so I have to constantly improve to prove myself. A few weeks ago, I told John Coughlin that I would have to shave off one of my eyebrows if I did not pull in on five triple axels on the session I was on. Having a multiple national champion watching me jump and making sure I keep my end of the bargain is hugely motivating! I am an extremely competitive person, and have several other skaters who compete against me on the same ice. Of course, it makes me incredibly determined to constantly push myself to be better.
Q: What do you see as your biggest strengths and weaknesses as a skater and how are you working in training to improve your weaknesses?
A: My biggest strength would have to be my jumping ability. I can land a jump despite having a ghetto take off. I would also say my stamina and passion are both strengths too. I always lose myself in my program, in a good way. My biggest weaknesses are probably my skating skills and program components. I am working really hard and taking ballet classes, dance classes, and on ice lessons several times every week to improve that weakness. This year my component scores nearly doubled from two years ago!
Q: I hear you kind of like Beyoncé just a little. What makes Sasha Fierce fierce in your opinion and would you ever skate to her music?
A: Beyoncé is my life. She is the queen of the universe. I would LOVE to skate to Beyoncé for my short, long, and show programs every year for the rest of my life.
Q: Who are your three favourite skaters of all time and why?
A: My favourite skaters are Daisuke Takahashi, Michelle Kwan, and Mao Asada. Daisuke is one of my favorite skaters because of his amazing artistry and ability to do a different style every program. Mao is one of my favorites because of her combination of athleticism (triple axel) and how beautiful her skating and spins are. I also love Michelle Kwan because of her solid consistency and the heart and passion she gives into each performance. I get chills every time I watch her.
Q: Describe your perfect day off the ice! Where would you go, what would you do and how much coffee would you drink?
A: Technically, my perfect day might lead to me getting my stomach pumped, but in a perfect day that wouldn't happen. I would constantly be devouring Ben and Jerry's ice cream and pizza while constantly having good hair. I would spend time with my friends, going shopping, watching movies and being silly! My four cats would also be with me the whole time. I would have at least twelve Java chip frappucinos.
Q: If a genie could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for (and no, more wishes are not a choice)?
A: First, I would wish to have the ability to snap my fingers and have donuts spontaneously appear in front of my face. Number two... It's generic, but I would wish to get where I want to go with skating, and create many more fantastic memories. Three, to skate pairs with Beyoncé when I'm not skating pairs with Gracie Gold.
Q: What's one thing most people don't know about you?
A: I frequently go to IHOP and I love having their endless pancakes. One time I completely destroyed stacks after stacks of pancakes. I was three pancakes away from breaking the record of the most pancakes eaten at that restaurant! I was so proud of myself!
Q: What do you love most about being on the ice?
A: I love the freedom of being on the ice! I can always express my emotions on the ice, whether it's happily dancing to Beyoncé or having a complete mental breakdown. I'm also surrounded by my friends and people who support me and cheer me on, which is heaven. I love every second of being on the ice.
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