British ice dancers take to the States

Louise Walden and Owen Edwards

By Emma Fallon

The start of the competitive skating season is an intense time for any skater, but for British Ice Dancing duo Louise Walden and Owen Edwards, turning the pressure up to the maximum is just second nature.

Months of development and gruelling training has gone in to preparing their routines for the competitive season, but with the level of skill in the sport soaring at a rapid pace and the competition becoming leaner and tougher, Walden and Edwards have upped their game, in more ways than one.

After sitting on their hands for the past few weeks, the pair can finally announce their radical new plans for Ice Dancing – a relocation of their training under a new coaching team. Previously training in Lyon, France, the team have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join their British Ice Dancing predecessors, John and Sinead Kerr in Hackensack, New Jersey. The Kerr’s will be their future mentors and choreographers alongside World Bronze medalist and three-time Olympian, Galit Chait.

Louise told us “We are delighted to finally be able to unveil our new training location and coaching team. We have been talking in whispers for a few weeks now and have been bursting to tell everyone the fantastic new”.

European medalists and previous Team GB Olympians, John and Sinead Kerr, went public with the news of their retirement from competitive skating early last year, announcing that “Ours has been an amazing career and we feel very fortunate to have so many fantastic memories from our 10 years of competing together”.

Now, the time has come to pass the baton on and look forward to a successful future generation of British Ice Dancers, and that’s just what the Kerr’s intend to do, taking Walden and Edwards to the next level. Delighted, Owen commented “Louise and I have had an incredible time training in Lyon, but the point in our career has come where it is time for a shake-up and to really refine our craft, so when the offer came to train with the Kerr’s in New Jersey, we just knew it was time to take the next step”.

Louise and Owen left for the USA last week, to begin several weeks of intensive training under their new mentors. The Generation 2014 Olympians are ready to bring their all, and it doesn’t just stop at relocating their training.

“The level of competition the past few years has just been outstanding, and really inspiring” said Louise, “We really want to skate our very best this season, so when joining a new coaching team in a new country, we decided that it was time for some new routines”.

With months of preparation already gone on their current routines, changing at the last minute is practically unheard of, and many athletes in their skates wouldn’t even entertain the idea.

“We want to create a stir, and going out there with something we have never done before should hopefully really capture the attention of the judges and our fans. We don’t want to become complacent and predictable, so setting ourselves this challenge is our way of keeping our eye on the ball. We realise we are taking big risks at this stage in the season but we must remain true to ourselves and give all we have. We actually feel it’s a bigger risk for us not to make changes; we would certainly have deep regrets if we didn’t. The pressure is really going to be on us to pull this one off I have to say, but so what – bring it on!”

With backing from the National Ice Skating Association (NISA), hopes are high for the team to pull off their bold move, but only the results will tell. Their all-new routines will début at the 2012 Coupe Internationale De Nice, held on the 24th – 28th October.

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