Canadian Champion Amélie Lacoste not only accumulated 6.0 medals on the novice, junior and senior levels at the Canadian Championships and 6.0 top ten finishes at the Four Continents Championships during the course of her career which spanned more than a decade, but she mesmerized audiences with her passion and athleticism in every performance. Turning to professional skating last year, she is currently taking the high seas by storm performing aboard cruise ships! By way of the sunny Caribbean, Amélie took the time to talk to me about her competitive career including her favourite memories, the disappointment of missing the Sochi Olympic team by one spot, her decision to train in Colorado Springs during her final season competing, her present life as a professional skater and future goals. You are NOT going to want to miss this one!:
Q: You've had some wonderful successes in your career! For starters, Canadian titles on the novice, junior AND senior levels. You've also made trips to the World Junior Championships, Four Continents Championships and World Championships and won the bronze medal at Skate Canada International in 2010. Reflecting on your competitive career, what moments or memories will always stand out to you as the most special?
A: Of course, winning the National Championships was a dream come true and the goal of the season. I always had big goals and worked extra hard to achieve them. Getting my ticket for the World Championships in Nice and the chance to compete in the team event for the World Team Trophy in Japan were two amazing experiences. I will never forget theses great moments. Also, not to forget my clean short program at Skate Canada 2013 and at the last Nationals. I was able to do exactly what I was doing the past few months in practice in Colorado Springs. It was an incredible feeling.
Q: Last season, you moved to Colorado Springs to work with Damon Allen and Christy Krall. Why did you decide to make this change and what did you take from the experience?
A: My training wasn't going like I wanted. I wasn't in a good place emotionally and in my head. I knew I needed a change. After talking to my sports psychologist and my Mom, I decided I needed to move to a different training center. It wasn't easy. I knew I only had couple of months before Nationals and it was a risk. I trusted my gut and followed my heart. My family was behind me all the way. I had two option in my head, and I finally decided to go to Colorado Springs to work with Christy Krall and Damon Allen. I had to chance to work with Christy two or three times before. She came to Montreal to give seminars and I really enjoyed the way she was coaching and her approach and philosophy. It was always been a dream to go train in Colorado Springs. I knew there were some of the best coaches in the world and training in altitude was also going to help me with my skating.
It was an incredible experience. Every single day I was thankful of the change I made. I had to chance to train with many skaters with a goal that was the same as mine: a place on the Olympic Team. Christy and Damon helped me to trust my skills when it comes to competition. They also helped me to stay calm in a stressful situation. They taught me to skate with my heart and enjoy every moment.
Q: You announced your decision to retire from competitive skating in May of last year and have since starting skating professionally on a cruise ship! What has the transition from "amateur" to professional skating been like for you and what's next in your journey?
A: It's been an amazing experience so far. I really enjoy travelling in Europe (Spain, Italy and France). I had to chance to visit many places and eat the best pizza and drink the best espresso! Now we are in the Caribbean until the end of my contract. I enjoy it a lot. I plan to do an other contract after this one. I also want to start my university eventually and continue my coaching back home.
Q: I can only imagine how heartbreaking it must have been to narrowly miss spots on the Vancouver and Sochi Olympic teams after working so hard and achieving so much in your career. Were the Olympics the 'be all, end all' for you or was it more about the whole experience for you?
A: I'm not sure if I understand 'be all, end all" but the Olympics were obviously the ultimate goal. Not making the team was heartbreaking. Although, I had to keep my head up knowing I did everything in my power to achieve my goal. I took the risk to change coaches and training center just couple months before Nationals, I trained six days a week for about twenty five hours on ice and off-ice. I did everything. The day of my long program was just not my day. Of course I was nervous, but I knew I was able to control my nerves. Christy and I worked a lot of that aspect during training.
I believe, one day, I will go to the Olympics... maybe not as a skater, but maybe as a coach or team leader.
Q: Of all of the programs you've skated in your career, what was your favourite to perform?
A: It's a very difficult question. I have more than just one favourite program. I loved my "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" choreographed by Julie Marcotte. It was very special for me because I won Nationals with it. My last programs, the Peter Gabriel short and Amelie Poulin long were a "coup de coeur" for me. I loved to train them and perform them.
Q: Shae-Lynn Bourne, Jeffrey Buttle, Pasquale Camerlengo and of course Christy Krall who we talked about earlier... you've worked with a who's who of great choreographers. Is choreography ever something you'd want to get involved with yourself?
A: I am so thankful I had the chance to work with so many great choreographers in my career. I choreographed my first junior long program last June for a skater from Switzerland. It was a great experience and a lot of fun and I would like to choreograph other programs in the near future.
Q: What albums could you listen to on repeat every day?
A: Beyoncé's new album from 2013 and Jason Mraz's acoustic album.
Q; Who are your three favourite skaters of all time and why?
A: Joannie Rochette. She's a role model for me and she's a fantastic friend. She's very humble and she had every quality (the whole package) of the best skaters in the world. Sasha Cohen. Her flexibility, her spins and attitude on the ice were great. She was a very fierce skater. Michelle Kwan. Flexibility, her strong jumps, her attitude and determination on the ice. Like Sasha, she was a queen on the ice. I never got the chance to meet her. One day maybe.
Q: What's one thing most people don't know about you?
A: I'm a vegetarian, I love hot yoga and I love baking.
Q: What do you love more than anything about figure skating?
A: I love the feeling of being free on the ice. Clean edges, footwork... I actually miss training a lot. Being able to do my jumps on a big Olympic size ice rink. Also, when the season starts, I love watching the new programs and who's got the new tricks.
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