To Figure In Salt Lake City
Kirkpatrick, Canberra Times
3 July 2001
out on the last Winter Olympics was a tough break, but
it might have been the best break figure skater Miriam
Manzano ever had. Manzano, 26, took a sabbatical and gained
a fresh perspective on why she was competing in the first
place. Although she qualified for the Nagano Olympics,
officials only decided to send one skater, and that was
Sydney's Joanne Carter.
was a blow that had Manzano questioning her involvement
in a sport that had been a dominant part of her life since
the age of 12. 'After the Olympics I took a step back
and it was really hard to get back on the ice,' she said.
'I didn't know what I should be doing and the direction
I should take.
didn't realise that it would turn into a two-year break.'
Manzano came to the realisation her parents could no longer
afford to support her competitive career and she would
have to do something to help herself. She went out and
found meaningful employment with the Attorney-General's
Department, under the Olympic Job Opportunity Program,
and has never looked back.
things become really intense and you're not quite cracking
the No 1 position it can get really disheartening,' she
said. 'When that happens you can lose track of why you
started skating in the first place and that is the love
that you have for it. 'I needed time to do something different
and now that I've got back on the ice I'm really enjoying
has put herself in line for selection for the Salt Lake
City Olympics, but it's not going to be easy. Firstly,
she will skate-off against Carter and Stephanie Zhang
in Sydney later this month. From there, one person will
be selected to compete at an Olympic qualifying event
the top six place-getters will get to go to Salt Lake
City. It would fulfil a lifetime dream if Manzano made
it through the selection process. 'It would be the cherry
on the cake,' she said.
been to world championships and junior world championships
and I think that the Olympics would be the ultimate for
me.' Manzano believes she is skating better than ever
with the support of the ACT Academy of Sport and long-time
coach Reg Park. 'I've been doing well overseas and I've
been feeling really competitive overseas,' she said.
I'm on this high I'm going to keep riding this wave and
see where it takes me.' Manzano has already skated at
the Salt Lake City Olympic venue. She competed at a four
continents event in February and finished 14th out of
was like the world championships, the standard was huge.
If that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will.'