At a news conference held at the University of Delaware Feb. 28, world and national figure skating champion Kimmie Meissner explained her preparation to defend her world champion title at the International Skating Union's World Figure Skating Championship from March 19-25 in Tokyo. Meissner also performed with other skaters who train at UD at the World Figure Skating Send-Off Exhibition March 3 at the Rust Ice Arena.
“Going into worlds, I have my normal goal,” Meissner said. “I want to end the season on a high note and two strong programs. Whatever happens with the result won't matter as long as I do what I've been practicing.”
Meissner, along with her coach, Pamela Gregory, and Ron Ludington, director of UD's internationally renowned Ice Skating Science Development Center and member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, fielded questions from a group of about 30 print and electronic media representatives in the Fred Rust Ice Arena.
Despite being reigning world champion, Meissner, 17, said her preparation for the competition has not changed. “I'm still practicing really hard and training hard,” she said. “I'm going to go there and try and focus and skate and not think about the fact that I won last year, because that was last season and now this season is brand new.”
Meissner, a member of the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club, won the national championship in January and placed first in the Four Continents Championship in February. In the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, Meissner finished in sixth place.
While acknowledging that the Japanese skaters are strong competitors, Meissner said she feels there will be more media focus and pressure on them than on her during world championships.
Meissner, a Fallston (Md.) High School student, said there have not been many school assignments to balance with skating this year. “I just took an English test a couple of days ago,” she said. “But right now, there's nothing that I'm studying before because it's my senior year and there aren't as many demands really, which is very nice.”
Ludington said Meissner's recent successes, which have brought her international attention and even a popular Subway TV commercial, have not changed her attitude. “She's the most level-headed kid,” Ludington said.” That's what I think makes her click so well because she hasn't been carried away by everything that's taken place.”
Meissner said she will enjoy her national championship title after her competitions are over. “After this season I have a bunch of graduation parties,” she said. “That will be my celebration.”
Media contact: Neil Thomas, (302) 831-6408, [firstname.lastname@example.org]