It's Nationals Week in both Canada and the U.S. so after Sunday's interview with Courtney Hicks who'll be vying for a medal this week in Greensboro, it would be only fair to share a brand new interview with one of the medal contenders at this year's Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Kingston, Ontario. The reigning senior men's bronze medallist in Canada, Liam Firus is also a former Canadian junior champion and represented our country in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics! An athletic skater with an understated elegance about his performances, Firus is B.C. born and raised but is currently training in Colorado Springs. He'll take to the ice to try to defend his national podium finish this Friday and Saturday at the Rogers K-Rock Centre, but before he does he wants you to know a bit more about him! In this interview we talked about how he started skating, what makes him homesick for the West Coast, his favourite songs and much more. You'll love it!:
Q: You have accomplished things in your career so far that most skaters only dream of - a trip to the Olympic Games last year, a bronze medal at last year's Canadian Championships, junior AND senior international competition assignments as well as of course the Canadian junior men's title you won in 2010. Looking back on your accomplishments so far, what moments or memories stand out as both the most special and the most challenging?
A: I've been so lucky to represent Canada at many international competitions. Last year's Canadian Championships will always be special for me. I skated great and I qualified for the Olympic team! Immediately after that was definitely my most challenging moment in skating was when I skated my short program in Sochi.
Q: Why did you start skating and was it something you knew you wanted to do right from the very beginning?
A: I started skating originally to play hockey. My Mom loved figure skating and thought it would help my speed and skating skills out so she signed me up. I wasn't a big fan of it at first but it slowly grew on me. I finished last at my first competition and I was back at my training rink the same day to make sure that never happened again.
Q: You're from B.C. but have been training in Colorado Springs with Christy Krall, Damon Allen and Erik Schulz. Was that a difficult transition to make? What makes you homesick for Vancouver?
A: I was born and raised in Vancouver. Moving to Colorado was very hard, but it has been worth every minute. My team of coaches here is amazing and I'm provided with everything I need to succeed as best I can. At first I really missed my family and friends but now I miss the ocean and all of the fresh seafood!
Q: What do you see as your biggest strengths and weaknesses as a skater and how are you working hard to improve any weaknesses?
A: I believe the strength in my skating is my power and skating skills within each program. My weakness is the consistency of my triple axel, It has been a struggle for me but I'm always working on it. I have made progress with making it more consistent.
Q: If you'd have never taken up skating, what other passion would you have pursued?
A: I played soccer at a high level until I was fifteen. If I was not a skater, I would have kept on with that hoping to eventually play as a pro.
Q: What are your main goals right now - both on and off the ice?
A: My main goals for skating this season are to be on the podium at Nationals and to compete at the Four Continents and World Championships. Off the ice, I want to keep working towards the completion of a finance degree and to travel more!
Q: Your younger brother Shane is a competitive ice dancer with his partner Lauren Collins and I understand he also used to skate singles. Were you or are you competitive with each other or has skating brought you closer together do you think?
A: Shane and I are very close. When he was competing in singles we never competed against each other, but during practice we always pushed for the better. Skating has kept us close because we can relate to each other when we're having our ups and downs. He has the opportunity to make it onto the podium this week and I am really hoping he does.
Q: What are the three most played songs on your playlist?
A: "Business" by Eminem, "Firestone" by Kygo and "The Dreamer" (Samuraii edit) by The Tallest Man On Earth.
Q: Who are your three favourite skaters of all time and why?
A: I have two. Stephane Lambiel is my all time favourite skater. He has the whole package and is always exciting and fun to watch. Daisuke Takahashi because he is another skater that keeps you on the edge of your seat while he skates.
Q: What's the biggest lesson that figure skating has taught you?
A: Skating has taught me so much but it has really taught me to be patient. The best things in life don't come easy or fast.
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