Inspiring Young Woman
By Susan D. Russell
2001 Australian National Ladies Champion, 28 year-old
Miriam Manzano, speaks about her current skating career,
her enthusiasm is contagious. "I always knew when I was
off the ice it was not the end, it was just a hiatus,"
she said referring to her 2-year self-imposed retirement.
"When I returned to skating I started with a clean slate.
I had a whole new mental approach to my skating. I decided
every time I fell on a jump in training, I was going to
get up and do it again. No excuses."
1996 I felt I was not achieving my goals. I felt I was
in an isolated environment and did not feel that I was
getting the support I needed to continue. Also, I was
so intent of proving myself, I was just not letting it
happen naturally. It was so frustrating." Miriam recalls
that her training in Colorado Springs with Kathy Casey
"was an experience of a lifetime. The programs they had
in place were so advanced. I absolutely loved it."
long-time coach, Aussie icon, Reg Park, knew she would
regret it for the rest of her life if she did not fulfill
her own desires and dreams. Miriam said she thought about
returning to the ice for a long time, and then "I woke
up at 5:00 one morning in May 2000 and thought, 'this
is it, this is the day'. I laced up my skates - there
was no one else at the rink. I will always remember the
incredible feeling I had that morning. I was in tears.
Finally! It was amazing. I felt 'free' for the first time."
Nationals were in August - that was only three months
away. I set my sights on placing at that competition,
so I worked very hard and prepared myself mentally as
well as physically. I placed 2nd to Stephanie Zhang. After
Nationals I was on such a high. I immediately returned
to training and within a week had my triple loop back
and withing four weeks had the triple lutz," she enthused.
skated in a couple of international competitions - Golden
Spin and Four Continents - I was happy with my performances.
It is a total thrill to be on the ice in front of people.
I thrive on that exhiliarition."
asked Miriam, "in order to return to the grind of training
you must have been driven? Her response said it all. "I
am living my dream."
Miriam said "during the two-year break my body changed.
I started attending at the gym where I did aerobics. Based
on my result at 2000 Nationals I received a scholarship
through the ACT Academy of Sport and began working with
John Mitchell in an off ice training program. It changed
every aspect of my life. On the ice, during this time,
the triples just came to me so naturally. Things were
just falling into place naturally. At each competition
I felt I was skating at a higher level, faster and better
about her feelings following 2001 Nationals she responded
"I felt very confident. I think I was absolutely prepared
mentally and physically to go there and win. I wanted
to win, which is the best motivation. It was very exciting."
my free skate at Worlds I was so thrilled. It was the
most unbelievable sensation," she said. "The program was
over before I knew it. I did not want to get off the ice
- I never wanted the moment to end. It was the best. You
know when you seize every moment of an incredible experience?
That is what I did. I achieved what I wanted to do. Considering
I skate half the time on a small ice rink I was extremely
at the Canberra Ice Skating Club, Miriam has chosen the
haunting Concierto de Aranjuez (Rodrigo) for her short
and excerpts from the Count of Monte Cristo (Shearmur)
for her long. Long time friend, Cameron Medhurst, is choreographing
her programs. Cameron currently skates professionally
in a European ice spectacular.
has all her jumps and hope to include a tripletoe/triple
toe in her long. She would also like to include a triple
lutz/double or triple toe as well. "I need to concentrate
on those triple combination jumps - you know, achieve
the right balance so they are cleanly landed consistently."
competing at Turin in 2006 out of the question? "No, that
is my goal. I knew that I was not going to Salt Lake City.
I was disappointed but it was not the end of the world."
asked about training overseas Miriam said that she would
love to train with Richard Callaghan, Frank Carroll or
Doug Leigh. Unfortunately, the prohibitive cost of training
with internationally renowned coaches without sponsorship
or funding, is often not possible.
about her goals for the upcoming season, she responded
"I would love a Grand Prix assignment, win Nationals and
attain a top 10 placement at Worlds."
first goal has come a reality. Miriam has been invited
to attend 2002 Skate America, the first event in the ISU
Grand Prix Series. She is the first Australian woman to
be invited to this prestigious event since the inception
of the current ISU Grand Prix in 1996.
I emailed Miriam to tell her she was to be invited to
this event, her response was overwhelming. "I screamed
with excitement and burst into tears! My co-workers ran
over to me wondering what had happened as I'm usually
pretty quiet. Then I let everyone know with much excitement!
Many phone calls to my family, the Academy of Sport and
friends. I'm still receiving calls and nice emails and
it is so wonderful. This really does mean the world to
to a wonderful young lady, a most deserving champion.
People all over the world are behind you and we wish you
the very best for the 2002-2003 season. Go skate your
Miriam, thank you for brightening our world!