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Ask Nancy - Nov. 19

Nancy Kerrigan answers your questions!

Nancy Kerrigan wouldn't trade in her days as a mother for anything in the world.
Nancy Kerrigan wouldn't trade in her days as a mother for anything in the world. (Wire Images)

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(11/19/2007) - From the significance of motherhood to Emily Hughes' skating this year to the ISU Grand Prix Series, Nancy Kerrigan has all your questions covered in this week's Ask Nancy.

Kara: What was more fulfilling, motherhood or being a champion? How is your life different now?

NK: There is nothing more satisfying to me than being a mother. I thought about having kids from the time I was young, so to have two great boys that I can watch grow up is really a feeling that is hard to explain. If you have kids of your own, I am sure you know what I mean.

As far as my life being different, there really is no comparison. When I was competing, every day was geared to putting me in a position to perform at the highest level. While it was exciting and rewarding, it could not be more different than my life today, which is scheduled almost completely around the kids. I wouldn't trade those days when I was competing, but I also wouldn't trade these days of being a mom.

Susan: Do you think most people understand the new judging system? It seems so convoluted. Do you think this is it, or will they tweak it as the competition year goes on?

NK: I think the new system is an effort by the ISU to make sure that some of the situations that have faced the sport in the past do not resurface. I am not sure that it answers all the questions at this point and expect that it will continue to be massaged over time. However, I would be surprised to see any significant change prior to the 2010 Olympics, as that would not be fair to the skaters.

As for the public generally understanding the new system, I am not sure if they do. In fact, there are times when I am not completely sure that I do! However, I don't think the public understood the old system any better, except that they knew a 6.0 was a perfect score. It is hard to get a judging system in a subjective sport that closes all the loopholes, but I applaud the ISU for trying.

Mark: I have really enjoyed you as an author. Do you have plans to write more books? Have you ever thought about doing a children's book? I think you'd be great at that.

NK: I am glad to hear that you enjoyed my books. I can tell you that writing a book is a lot harder than I thought. Without good partners, I could not have finished those books.

As for writing in the future, I am very interested in doing a couple of books for children. We have looked into this a little, and I have played around with some concepts. It would be fun to do. The key is finding the time.

Maxine: Emily Hughes doesn't seem to be skating her best. It must be hard balancing going to school at Harvard and completing a hectic Grand Prix schedule.

How did you used to balance your real life with competitions. Is it even possible to do both?

NK: I think it is a little early in the season to judge how well Emily is skating. She is a talented and smart girl with a great support system in her family, so I would not draw any conclusions just yet. Having said that, I agree that trying to skate at the highest levels while also going to Harvard can't be easy.

When I was juggling going to school and competing at the Olympic level, I was at Emmanuel College, and the faculty there was very understanding of my schedule. For the rest of my career at that level, I was not in school.

I would imagine that Harvard understands what Emily is trying to do and is supportive of her as well. Let's give her a little time to make the adjustments. Being a freshman in college is a big change for everyone.

Tommy: How important was the Grand Prix Series to you? Did your "season" usually start with the national championships?

In other words, did you use the Grand Prix Series as a warm-up for the bigger events at the end of the season, or was the offseason the warm-up for the Grand Prix Series?

NK: When I was skating, we had some of the same events that make up the current Grand Prix Series, but there was no series as we know it today. I usually had three or four international events (Skate America; Four Continents; Skate Canada; etc.) that I would compete in prior to the U.S. Championships. After that, I would go to worlds if I qualified.

We had a long season, but not a lot of competition. The offseason was a time for rest, training, choosing new programs and learning new tricks.

One thing is for sure, while the actual competitive season in skating is not that long, the skater's season really never ends.

Louise: Do you think the ISU should expand the Grand Prix Final to more than six skaters? It seems like that doesn't reward enough of the competitors from the season.

Do you think it would be better if the Final was expanded to a full field -- 12 skaters or so -- or should it maintain its exclusive invitations?

NK: Actually, I think the size of the event is fine. If it were much bigger, it would become that much more difficult to differentiate the Grand Prix Final from the world championships and other international competitions. Most individual sports have very small fields at their championship events.

What I think is more challenging for the sport is to make the Grand Prix Final a major sporting event on the world stage. That takes time, planning and some great performances. We need to give it some time, but the ISU has also got to realize that it has to put some marketing support behind what could be a great event.

Skating could use another event that catches the attention of the casual fan.