L-Plater Learns From Her Mistakes
Sunday Age
22 February, 1998

Nagano, Saturday -- BY THE extremely high standards Jo Carter sets for herself, the 12th place in the women's figure skating competition at the 18th Winter Olympics early today was a disappointment.

But for a 17-year-old competing in her L-plate Olympics and with her sights trained on the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, it was a display full of promise.

Carter admitted she needed to be stronger mentally after landing "almost three" of her five triple jumps in the free program, again touching down on the opening triple lutz and falling on a triple salchow, which is usually one of her best jumps.

"I gave it my best shot on the night; really it was all or nothing," she said. "I have to work on the psychological side of it a little bit, maybe not even with a psychologist, just with myself.

"It's happened to me twice that I've done well in the short program and then the next day when I go to practise I start feeling a little bit insecure, as though maybe I don't belong in that group.

"It sounds very silly to most people but it's a feeling that isn't too nice to have the day before you're competing.

"It's not technical any more, it's mental."

Carter said she took great heart from the bronze-medal performance of teammate Zali Steggall, who competed at her first Games at the age of 17 in 1992 and said then she was aiming for a place on the podium six years down the track in the slalom.

"Knowing as an athlete the amount of work she's put in and the things she's given up to get where she is, it's an incredible reward," said Carter. "Hopefully, 2002 in Salt Lake will be mine."

Carter finished 11th in the 1997 world championships after starting the free program in 10th position, and again slipped one place last night to 12th.

"There's a heap of room for improvement and as Andrei (coach Andrei Pachin) says to me, it's not technical any more. Basically, I have to go and fix my head," she said.

The previous best result by an Australian individual woman skater at an Olympics was 14th, by Nancy Hallam in 1952 in Oslo.

Australian figure skating team leader Wendy Langton said Carter's performance was technically very good, even if she did not complete all of her jumps.

Russian-born Pachin also demands the best from Carter. "In Andrei's view, Jo has to be perfect all the time," said Langton.

"He's an extremely demanding coach and she's just as demanding of herself; they're both perfectionists."

Carter's next competition is the world championships, starting in Minneapolis next month.

Here, Tara Lipinski overtook fellow American Michelle Kwan to become, at 15, the youngest women's figure skating gold medallist.

Kwan held on for the silver and Lu Chen of China claimed the bronze.