So happy to finally pass the gold moves! I started working on them in January 2011 with my previous freestyle coach, so it’s been a long journey. Coach Ty has worked on them with me when he is in town and Kim when he is away, and Lisa has helped me on them, too. Kim specializes in moves, and as for Ty, who could be better to teach footwork than an ice dancer?
Last spring I worked hard on these moves with Ty. When I didn’t pass the test in June I figured I would work on the moves during the summer and re-test them in the fall. I drove to a distant rink many days last summer to get ice time to work on them, then had a lesson on them every week from mid-September until now, with just a few weeks of not working on them right before Sectionals.
Lots of instruction and practice, yet still hard to know when to test. I could have kept working on each one of these moves. I knew they were improved from my last test, but was not at all sure whether they were passing level.
On test day I hadn’t realized that more skaters had been added to the test session and the start time moved half an hour ahead. My planned long warm-up on the public session beforehand turned into a shorter, somewhat flustered one.
My back inside double threes were wild and sloppy on my warm-up and I complained to Kim about them. She told me I had to stay positive and not think of every little thing wrong or it just wouldn’t work. She encouraged me to really stroke into the double three patterns and to get power from the crossovers in the back double threes. That must have worked because I didn’t get any complaints from the judges about needing more flow on those.
During the test my first set of front crossovers were OK but I started toe-scratching about halfway through the counter-clockwise ones and couldn’t get it to stop. Also I felt blocked like I couldn’t get my feet crossing any faster. Looking at the video I see that my free arm was creeping forward, that likely caused the blocked feeling (it’s something coach Kim has warned me about many times).
The back crossovers went well, I think they are my best move on this test. I had a momentary but large loss of balance on the front outside double threes and thought I might have failed that element right there (I didn’t). Then on the final pattern, the brackets, I stepped down with my free foot seemingly without any choice on my part.
The judges asked for a re-skate of the failed section of the bracket pattern, which meant there was still hope of passing the test. They have the option to ask for a re-skate if there’s one element that, done better, would change at least one judge’s score from failing to passing.
I tried not to stress about the re-skate but just go out and skate some brackets. The second back inside bracket wasn’t the best one in the world but it worked. Then I had to wait a long ten minutes for my results. Finally a volunteer, an adult skater I’ve competed with before, arrived with a USFSA adult gold moves patch and the papers. She congratulated me, pointing to one judges’ comments and saying, “he never passes anyone and he passed you.”
That judge had been my toughest critic last year. I scanned the other two papers and saw that both of the other judges had also passed me (only two out of three is required). I wasn’t expecting to be passed by all three judges, that was nice!
This is the last footwork test on the adult testing track. It gives me recognition as a ‘gold medalist’ in USFSA, the same recognition the young athletes get when they pass the the top standard test on any USFSA test track. Those tests, though, are far harder than anything on the adult track. Adult gold moves are about like getting halfway through the standard moves tests, and the higher standard levels get ever more demanding.
This may be the only gold level test that I can ever complete. The adult gold freestyle test requires landing a clean axel and I don’t know that I will ever get there. Getting to the top level of dance, even on the easier adult level, would require effort over many years. So while it may be nothing compared to what the young athletes do, for me this is one to savor. Eventually I will get my name in small print in the back of “Skating” magazine under ‘tests passed.” It sounds like a silly little thing, but I’m looking forward to that.