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Rippon talks recent coaching change, quads

Two-time world junior champion will stay in Toronto

Adam Rippon will continue to train at the same rink he once used with former coach Brian Orser.
Adam Rippon will continue to train at the same rink he once used with former coach Brian Orser. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(04/08/2011) - Earlier this month, two-time world junior champion Adam Rippon announced a parting of the ways with Brian Orser, the two-time Canadian Olympic silver medalist who has coached him the past two seasons.

Rippon isn't making a geographical move; he now trains under Ghislain Briand, a long-time friend and colleague of Orser's who coaches at the same facility, Toronto's Cricket Skating and Curling Club. The skater worked with Briand last summer to perfect his jumps and try to master a quad.

"During this season I really didn't have a chance to work with [Briand] very often, and that was something I really wanted, especially for this season coming up," Rippon said.

The two-time world junior champion had an up-and-down 2010-11 season. He opened with a stellar free skate at the Japan Open, defeating reigning world champion Daisuke Takahashi and 2006 Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko, and then went on to claim the bronze medal at Skate Canada.

At the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Rippon had an uncharacteristic fall on his signature jump, the "Rippon" triple Lutz with arms overhead, in his short program. Although he came back strong in the free skate, he placed fifth overall.

Icenetwork.com caught up with Rippon at Figure Skating in Harlem's annual Skating with the Stars gala at the Wollman Rink in Central Park. The 21-year-old was tying on his skates for his second not-for-profit effort in two days, having just flown in after performing a benefit for Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims in California.

Rippon shrugged off suggestions of fatigue.

"I was there, I'm here now, and it's great," he said. "FSH is a fantastic program for girls; it's amazing that, I think, all of them go on to college. With so many younger brothers and sisters [Rippon is the eldest of six children], I know the importance of extra-curricular activities."

Here's what he had to say about his plans for next season.

What will working full-time with Ghislain bring to your skating?

He is very technical. Everything is very simplistic, and I really thrive in the kind of environment where it's just technical and not very emotional, so I can keep focused on the task at hand. I've been working with Ghislain for a long time and I do like working with him, I get a lot out of it.

For me, coaching-wise, opposites attract. I'm the kind of person who can feed off different people's emotions. I'm sensitive to that. If someone is nervous, I feel that. Ghislain, he's constantly very level-headed. When things are going great, he's still very level-headed; when things aren't going well, [he will say] things are going to get better.

So, you are staying at Toronto's Cricket Club full-time.

When I went to Toronto about two-and-a-half years ago, I went there for the environment. I really love it there. It's such a great place to train. The community of people involved in the rink is great. I don't want to lose that. If I changed rinks I would have to start all over again and I really wasn't looking to do that.

As far as [former coach Orser] also at the rink, it's such a small piece of the puzzle. It probably leads for maybe a few weeks of awkwardness, but the practice intensity and everything else doesn't change. People have changed coaches within the rink before. It's something that happened, and I know that Brian respects my decision, and he understands what I need and we just move forward from here.

Last summer, you were working with Brian and Ghislain to get a quad. Any update on that?

It was something I really wanted to do all year and when I was saying in interviews I planned it, I really did. It was just something that didn't happen. It's going really well now, but of course, the season's over.

I've been working on the [quad] Lutz. As soon as I put my arms in, it was easier. And no, I'm not doing it with my arms over my head.

I'm still working on [quad] toe as well, but I've been doing a few [Lutzes] every day and I am going to keep training it and working on it because it's something I would really love to do next season.

This season, you performed two programs choreographed by David Wilson. Any thoughts on whether or not you will get new programs?

Well, I talked to David, and there is only a few years left before [the Sochi] Olympics, actually three years left. [Next season] is kind of my last year left to sort of play around and see what kind of styles are going to work best for me.

I'm planning to use different choreographers this year for the short and long, and I'm talking to David about who we should approach.

So you are still working with David, regardless of whether he choreographs your programs?

David is still a really big part of my team. He wants me to try different styles to see what will work best personally for me. I really couldn't ask for a better person to have on my side, he's great.