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Local skater pushes past pressure to compete on national stage

By Joseph Quigley [1]

KINGSTON – Local figure skater Emma Jianopoulos had a daunting task performing on the biggest stage of her life at the national championships in Kingston. [2]

Competing in the novice women’s division, the 16-year-old Quinte Figure Skating Club [3] member and Belleville resident was going through a whole new experience, as it was her first time competing at the nationals.

“It’s so exciting,” said Jianopoulos. “It’s so different from everything I’ve ever been to. It’s so professional, and to actually be a skater in it, it’s very exciting. Just the thought of being at nationals is very overwhelming.”

Each section of competition has two skates: the short program and the free program. Jianopoulos was 14th after skating the short program on Monday, but put together a strong free skate to improve her position, finishing 12th overall on Tuesday night.

Rank Score Name Segment1 Segment2  
1 112.87 Rachel Pettitt – BC/YK 37.00 [4]   (3) 75.87 [5]    (1)
2 109.63 Alicia Pineault – QC 40.65 [6]   (2) 68.98 [7]    (4)
3 109.05 Justine Brasseur – QC 43.05 [8]   (1) 66.00 [9]    (6)
4 108.18 McKenna Colthorp – BC/YK 32.58 [10]   (10) 75.60 [11]    (2)
5 104.63 Amélie Hervieux – QC 33.45 [12]   (9) 71.18 [13]    (3)
6 103.96 Aislinn Ganci – AB/NT/NU 36.61 [14]   (5) 67.35 [15]    (5)
7 100.25 Marjorie Comtois – QC 34.96 [16]   (7) 65.29 [17]    (8)
8 96.60 Théa Araji – QC 32.35 [18]   (12) 64.25 [19]    (9)
9 94.25 Tressa Sabo – AB/NT/NU 36.44 [20]   (6) 57.81 [21]    (12)
10 94.08 Amanda Tobin – Western Ontario 32.40 [22]   (11) 61.68 [23]    (10)
11 92.34 Ajsha Gorman – BC/YK 27.04 [24]   (18) 65.30 [25]    (7)
12 89.98 Emma Jianopoulos – Eastern Ontario 31.57 [26]   (14) 58.41 [27]    (11)
13 89.95 Sandrine Desrosiers – QC 36.98 [28]   (4) 52.97 [29]    (17)
14 89.58 Helene Carle – Central Ontario 34.69 [30]   (8) 54.89 [31]    (14)
15 87.93 Alison Schumacher – Western Ontario 30.19 [32]   (17) 57.74 [33]    (13)
16 85.22 Clara Campbell – Central Ontario 31.32 [34]   (15) 53.90 [35]    (16)
17 84.43 Jessica McHugh – BC/YK 30.21 [36]   (16) 54.22 [37]    (15)
18 79.93 Elvie Carroll – BC/YK 31.62 [38]   (13) 48.31 [39]    (18)

Scoring table for the 2015 National Figure Skating Championships Novice Women’s division.. Segment 1 is the short program; segment 2 is the free program. The brackets refer to each skater’s placing within the respective program.

Jianopoulos said that getting past the initial performance was important to overcome the pressure of the competition.

“Once you finish the first practice, the first performance, it all kind of goes away and it just becomes normal, just like anything else,” she said.

Emma Jianopoulus [40]

Emma Jianopoulos finished in 12th place at the 2015 Canadian National Figure Skating Championships. Photo by Jamie Paddle-Grant, Loyalist Photojournalism

After her  free skate, Jianopoulos credited her preparation for allowing her to focus.

“Tonight, I relied on my mental training and on my physical training. I relied on everything I’ve accomplished so far in this season, and I just shut my brain off and just let it happen.”

This season, Jianopolous had previously finished first in the novice women’s division at the Eastern Ontario Sectionals [41], and then 18th at the Skate Canada Challenge [42] to qualify for the nationals.

“She was so excited to come here,” said her mother, Kerri. “But it’s important (for her) to be really focused on what she’s here to do. She wanted to do her best. And it was just channeling that energy to where she needed to be. And I think we saw that over the course of the last few days.”

Emma wanted to be a figure skater from an early age, she said.

“She really had that desire right from the beginning, and as she progressed through her tests and got a little taste of competition, that’s when she really said, ‘Yeah, I want to do this.’ ”

With her competition over, Emma said she plans to enjoy watching the senior-level skaters.

“It’s very enjoyable because I can just relax,” she said. “Especially after a great skate, you can just totally relax knowing you did the best you could.”

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