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Brave, New Kimmie Meissner

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The Washington Post has another article about Kimmie Meissner working in Florida with Todd Eldredge and coach Richard Callaghan. Aaron at Axels, Loops and Spins has also blogged about it. I love to hear anybody's Todd Eldredge traning stories, and there are some cute parts:

After the session, as Meissner unlaced her skates -- and Callaghan and Eldredge resumed an animated discussion of her program -- she noted that, at her previous training home at the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club, no coach ever stepped on the ice to teach during workouts. It simply was not done.

Nowadays, Meissner said with a grin, she often feels like a running back in the open field.

"One of the weirdest things, when I got down here, was, 'Oh my gosh, they are skating with me, chasing me around the rink,' " said Meissner, who turns 19 on Oct. 4.

"Todd makes me go faster. He's always saying, 'Go! I'm going to beat you!' . . . They come out, they look at takeoffs, they want to see landings."

I must say though, that all these recent "I changed my coach and I'm going to tentatively characterize the process as a success" stories have gotten me extremely eager to see the actual results! I also wonder whether interviews like this can come back to bite a skater (if, for example, they don't succeed as hoped). That may be why Meissner does come off a little bit hesitant to deem herself quite where she wants to be just yet:

"I've been doing pretty good," Meissner said. "I'm at maybe a 'B,' if I have to give myself a grade. I'm pretty close to where I want to be, but I'm still working out the kinks in my program."

Eldredge said Meissner, who at 15 became the first U.S. woman since Tonya Harding to land a triple axel, has improved dramatically since last winter, appearing happier and stronger on the ice. But, he noted, jumps don't come as easily as they used to. And, Eldredge said, one of her best traits often works against her in competition.

"She's the nicest person in the world," he said. "She's sweet and kind-hearted. As a skater, that's the only thing I would change about her: her fight. She's too nice. It's just not her personality, but I'd like to see her more aggressive."

I wonder if when skaters do this preseason interviews, there isn't some part of them hoping the judges read the interviews or hear that hey, this athlete has really worked on those edges, so maybe you should think twice about deductions! We have a month til we see Meissner at Skate America and then we can judge for ourselves. Can't wait!