Questionnaire for the US Figure Skating Team


February 3, 2011
By Reut Golinsky
Photo © EMJO, Natasha Ponarina, Reut Golinsky

I don't like to ask the same questions in my interviews. I don't like the interviews where same questions are posed to different people over and over again. It usually shows that the journalist wasn't interested enough in the person he was talking to in order to find something special about him and to invent at least one question specifically for him. Yet, I decided to ask US team members the very same questions. This was actually the main idea for this questionnaire - to see how different their answers would be or to observe an interesting similarity. For example, the fact that most chose an ability to fly as a super power. I guess it might derive from their passion to figure skate because skating, unlike many other sports and arts, gives you this feeling of flying.

Jeremy Abbott, Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig in Moscow, and Alissa Czisny in Paris answered the adapted version of "Proust Questionnaire." The rule was: Answer the first thing that comes to your mind and if it takes too much time, pass to the next one (that's why not all of the questions have four answers). "Gosh these are tough ones," Amanda admitted, "Especially when you ask about the things which are 'the most of all'. Do other athletes have a hard time answering those questions just as we do?" Yes, all of them did. The questions were not easy; if you don't believe me you can try them yourself.
In the end, the answers were very interesting and sometimes unexpected. I hope you'll like them and will learn something new about Jeremy, Alissa, Amanda and Mark.

When were you happiest?
Alissa: I think when I'm with my family and with my friends or even when I'm skating.
Jeremy: At the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Amanda: Hmm... Happiest moment? I would definitely say when we were at Nationals and knew that we would go to Olympics; it was one of my happiest moments.
Mark: I agree.

What is your greatest fear?
Alissa: Nobody loving me.
Jeremy: Spiders. I hate spiders.
Amanda: I'm scared of big surgeries...and scary movies.
Mark: I think a 3-meter board is a very big fear - to jump off the 3-meter board and the 10-meter board is even scarier.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Alissa: I don't have any terribly embarrassing moments that I can think of.
Jeremy: Olympics Short program.
Amanda: I would say one of the top embarrassing moments was when I did an element and my pants split.
Mark: When I was a kid at summer camp they ran my underwear up the flag pole.

What is your most treasured possession?
Jeremy: My life.
Mark: My 91 Civic that never breaks down.
Amanda: Unfortunately, I can't think of something that would be my most. I have to pass on that one. It's still to come.

What would your super power be?
Alissa: I can pick three of them: flying, being invisible and having healing powers.
Jeremy: I've always wanted to fly.
Amanda: I wish my super power be that at the blink of my eye, I could be somewhere else; teleportation, yes.
Mark: I think just to fly in general would be fine.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Alissa: I wish I were taller. Then I could be a super model.
Jeremy: I most dislike and also most like my hair 'cause it's either very good or very horrible. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I'm like, "Ah, I love my hair today!" and sometimes I think, "I hate it! I hate it!"

What is your most unappealing habit?
Alissa: Eee... I'm sure I do have some. But I'm living on my own so I don't have someone to tell me about it.
Jeremy: I am always late.
Mark: I have to clear my throat. When I was 19, I had esophagitis, so I have to clear my throat. I hate to do that but I have to.
Amanda: I spit on the ice. This is one of the things I'm not very proud of. So if there is no "Kleenex" or anything and I got to get something out, I definitely just spit it out.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Alissa: I don't know.
Jeremy: There is no one I'd most like to say sorry to. I think people that I had done something wrong to, I've apologized [already] for that.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Alissa: I smile a lot; that's my most used thing.
Jeremy: None that I know of; there are none that I've noticed.
Amanda: I would say "Oh, God," or "Oh, my gosh," for good and bad.
Mark: I don't really overuse any phrases or anything.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
Jeremy: I would have been more disciplined with my training; I was lazy when I was younger.
Amanda: Gosh, I wouldn't change anything.
Mark: You don't know what changing the past would do to the present.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
Amanda: Oh, I have a lot of happy memories. If it's in general, not in my life [experiences], I guess it's not so much about time, but... I would have liked to know how it would be to live in the Philippines.
Mark: I would like to go see King Arthur, or one of the courts of England, and Europe in the past to see how it operated [during the] medieval times.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Jeremy: I suppose just being in the position I am now. I didn't follow the path that everyone follows for skating because they all do the JGP. What I did when I was little was not any indication of what I am doing now. I probably wouldn't even be skating any more, so I'm very proud to be in the position that I am in now given where I was when I was young.
Mark: Raising Holden, my son.
Amanda: I think one of my greatest achievements was when I chose to continue to skate.

What sound or noise do you love? What sound or noise do you hate?
Alissa: Laughing; I love that sound. What noise do I hate? I don't know; just loud, annoying noise.
Jeremy: I hate the sound of the rubbing stereophones. [do you mean static??] It's awful. I love the sound of the ocean. I had a lot of family that lived in California, so I would go visit and I would go to the beach. I guess it's just the water too because in Michigan there is a lot of water. It's not the ocean, but we have lakes, so just the sound of the water [in general]. I think it's very calming.
Amanda: I hate alarms [when they ring] for a really long time and I love when I hear really funny jokes.
Mark: (makes some whistle noise) I just love to do it. And I like the sound that the mornings make, like all the roosters, the house creaking, the air conditioner starting...

What is your favourite curse word?
Alissa: I don't swear.
Jeremy: Probably the F word. I think I say it a little too much - never in proper situations though.
Mark: All the foreign ones I've learned. I like to swear, but not being judged for swearing.

What is the worst job you've done?
Alissa: I've only done a little bit, not too much, nothing terrible: teaching skating and modelling and that's about it.
Jeremy: Well, I've only skated. I did an internship for a TV company. They produced TV commercials and radio commercials, but that was not for money, so... and it was ok.
Mark: I shovelled cow manure at my uncle's farm. I was about sixteen.
Amanda: I used to work at a store and I had to fold clothes all the time. It was very frustrating when customers would unfold the clothes.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Alissa: Tennis player or dancer. Not an ice dancer - just a ballerina dancer. I have had dance lessons since I was little. I had an opportunity to continue there, but I loved skating more.
Jeremy: I've never thought about that. I've always wanted to be involved in skating. I think I'd like to try acting; it would be so much fun to be on the set. It's not something that I think will ever happen. I think if I were to try something, I would want to do some sort of movie like a comedy or fantasy - something that is very different from who I am.
Amanda: I would really like to try ballroom dancing. When I was young, I used to watch a big ballroom competition on New Year's Eve and I always thought, "I would love to do that one day."
Mark: I would love to be a decathlete; to do five or ten different sports.

What profession would you not like to do?
Alissa: Anything that involves sitting at the desk from 9 to 17.
Jeremy: I would not like to wait tables at a restaurant. I have a lot of friends who do it and they love it, but I think I would not like having to deal with customers who sometimes can be very rude. You get very messy and you smell like the food. That would bother me.
Mark: Shovelling horse manure.
Amanda: It would be very hard for me to be in the office, from 8 to 17 every day. I would probably be good at it, but it doesn't mean I would like doing it. I like to be around people.

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships finished few days ago. Alissa Czisny continued her successful season by winning her second national title. Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig won their second consecutive silver, while two-time and defending national champion Jeremy Abbott had to settle for the pewter medal. Unfortunately, he missed the World Team, but we will see him in a week and a half in Taipei at the Four Contenents Championships.



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