2020 has been a very tough year as almost everybody has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in one or way or another, directly or indirectly. Athletes were unable to train and to compete and some contracted the virus. However, not everything connected to 2020 is negative and the Skaters are happy to share their #OneGoodThing – on the ice and off the ice.
When the ISU World Figure Skating Championships were cancelled, two-time ISU World Champion Nathan Chen (USA) was still at his university in Yale as it was right before spring break. The students were told not to return after spring break and Nathan packed up and returned home to California. He looks at the bright side of life and choses the quarantine time as #OneGoodThing: “Quarantine has given me the opportunity to pick up new hobbies as well as spend more time with previous hobbies. I started learning how to play tennis, picked up the guitar more often than before, and read books,” he said.
Two-time ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Ice Dance Champions Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA), who remained at their training base in Montreal (CAN), agree. “Our #OneGoodThing that came out of this challenging year was the opportunity to venture further into our hobbies,” Evan Bates shared. “Madi started drawing portraits in pencil this summer and some of her artwork can be seen on her Instagram. I had the time to practice and play a lot more guitar which I really enjoy. Normally we wouldn't have as much time and energy, but with more time spent at home, we were able to enjoy the activities we love to do outside of skating.”
So, maybe we can expect Nathan and Evan teaming up for a guitar concert soon?
Ice Dancers Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) kept themselves busy in this year even though there were almost no competitions for them. “For me, #OneGoodThing in 2020 was the opportunity to write my thesis and finish my degree. It’s been a year of learning and growth for me,” Paul said. “#OneGoodThing that has happened during 2020 was being able to try and learn new skills. I bought a road bike to help with training at home and I’ve really enjoyed it,” Piper revealed.
2020 Skate America Champion Mariah Bell (USA) found her #OneGoodThing off the ice as well: “My highlight in a hard year would be reconnecting with old friends and getting my new bunny addition Turbo,” she noted. Interesting to know how Mariah’s first bunny, Gizmo, feels about the new family member.
Italian Ice Dance Champions Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri welcomed a new pet into their home as well, chinchilla Molly. And this was not the only highlight for the 2019 European bronze medalists: “I could say that this year we had two very exciting moments,” Marco shared. “The first one was the moment we stepped into our first apartment - we finally bought an apartment and moved in in last February, while the second emotional moment was the day we brought to our apartment our new pet, a female chinchilla that is filling our free time with joy and love.”
The year 2020 changed a lot for US Pair Skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Brandon Frazier not only because of the pandemic as they who teamed up – which was their #OneGoodThing. “Our highlight during this difficult year is forming our new partnership. It has brought a lot of positivity to us during this difficult time,” Alexa explained. “Getting to know one another as partners on the ice and friends off the ice has been a real blessing to us.”
2019 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final bronze medalist Kevin Aymoz (FRA) feels that he has grown through that time. “2020 was a tough year, but like any difficult moments, they can be good, because we can learn a lot,” he pointed out. “When coming back after two months of confinement without touching the ice, I understood with my first steps that this is what I love the most and how I missed it which I hadn’t even realized. This unique feeling of the ice under our feet, this freedom you feel when you are skating and this feeling to be unique,” Kevin continued. “During these months locked up at home I also realized the value of things and of people. I learned what I really need and what makes me the most happy. The family, the friends are the most important. I hate to be alone with my thoughts, but I took the time to be just alone with my thoughts and to confront them. I was able to get to know myself better and I feel a bit stronger now,” the Frenchman concluded.
The #OneGoodThing is connected to skating for others as well. “My highlight came in spring when after three months of total lockdown the ice rinks reopened and I finally was able to feel the ice under my skates again,” Italian Champion Daniel Grassl (ITA) said.
“For me #OneGoodThing would be my victory at the Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup in Moscow,” commented 2015 ISU World Figure Skating Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS). “I don’t even know what can give me more emotions than a victory at a competition.”
For ISU World Junior Figure Skating Champion Andrei Mozalev (RUS) the competitions that took place were #OneGoodThing for him and he was grateful for each single one. “To me, each competition was like a present – to have the chance to perform. It was a festive atmosphere,” he commented.
“Even though it doesn‘t feel like it has been this year, my highlight still has to be Junior Worlds,” said Pair Skater and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Finalist Annika Hocke (GER), who skates with Robert Kunkel. “I guess it is even more special now, knowing it was the last competition before the first big Corona lockdown. Not everything worked out perfect for us, but it still felt like a big milestone in Robert’s and my short time together. I think the small medal in the long program was a big reward for us and made up for everyone who told us what we are doing wouldn‘t work out,” she continued. There is also another #OneGoodThing for Annika: “Besides that a non-skating highlight would have to be: finally finishing school and starting university. I really hope for a lot of highlights in 2021 again.”
For sure, athletes and fans all around the world hope for the same. Maé-Bérénice Meité (FRA) has an important message as well: “#OneGoodThing about 2020 is the love, connection and unity I have received from my Figure Skating family! I was able to connect to a deeper level with so many awesome people,” the multiple French Champion said. “2020 was rough for everyone, for different reasons. But I think we can all agree in saying that, don’t wait to express or say the way you feel towards family and friends. Enjoy the precious moments, because you don’t know how long they will last. And most importantly, press pause in your life to make time to check on your loved ones ! I’m forever grateful for the outpouring amount of love, kindness & support I have received throughout this year.”