Carter sets sights higher
20 February 1998

MINUTES after skating to an outstanding 11th place, Australian teenage ice queen Joanne Carter buried her head on her coach's shoulder and said: "I'm sorry."

Carter, 17, produced a short, but thrilling, routine marred only by a small stumble in one of the most difficult jumps.

As she sat in the "kiss and cry" area at Nagano's White Ring stadium, the Year 12 student was comforted by figure skating coach Andrei Pachin.

She had hoped for a top 10 slot and was disappointed to have fallen just short. Carter is now Australia's top female figure skater of all time, adding an Olympic top 12 placing to her 11th at the 1997 world championships in Lausanne.

Tonight she has promised the performance of her life in the free skate where she will attempt all the twists, tricks and triple jumps in her already considerable armory.

Still puffing after her program, she said: "Now I can go into Friday night with all the triples, take the risks.

"In the free skate there is more time and you are allowed to repeat things - I have nothing to lose."

Carter, who has won the national women's title for the past four years, last August became the first Australian to land a triple lutz in competition.

The skater from Sydney's Macquarie Skating Club was five when her mother Carol took her into an ice rink to cool down on a hot day.

She enjoyed it so much that she returned and started group lessons. From there she graduated to individual lessons and a star career was born.

Carter's life is unlike most teenagers, with little time for friends between training.

"That's all going to be there when I finish but the Olympics is once in a lifetime," she said.

Coached by the Russian husband and wife team of Andrei and Galena Pachin, Carter knows she is closing on the world's best.

"I would say I'm competitive with them," she said.

"Obviously there are some who are just amazing, but I feel confident that I can go over and compete with them rather than just go over for a trip."