Amanda remembers the day like it was yesterday, when in fact it was five years ago. It was April, 2006 and Amanda Evora and her skating partner Mark Ladwig were performing in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. The duo was favored to be in the top three in the United States and looking for a chance to make it to the Olympics. During their first element, they tried a difficult move called a triple twist, but unfortunately stumped and fell to the ice. The skating pair was unable to recover from this fall and fell to fifth place, missing out on the Olympic opportunity.
Amanda and Mark got another chance in 2010 and ended up taking the silver medal at Nationals, thus earning them a spot in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The skating pair ended up coming in tenth place out of twenty teams, which was the best result for an American team that year. Both, Mark and Amanda, were thrilled with their result and the chance to take part in the Olympic experience.
In a sport like figure skating, where you are constantly being judged, how do you avoid letting a fall like Amanda had in 2006 ruin an element, a competition, a career? You have to be mentally tough. Amanda ended up attending a U.S. Skating seminar where she learned about the advantages of mental conditioning and they thought it would be wise of her to continue training with a mental conditioner of her choice.
Amanda has now been training with Taryn Morgan at Athletic & Personal Development program since July, 2009 in between events and competitions. The sport of figure skating not only takes a toll on the body, but mind as well when you factor in the crowd, the judges, the pressure to compete, the six hour practices each day that are spent skating, conditioning, performing exercises, etc. Needless to say it gets stressful. Amanda has been skating since she was a young girl and she still continues to get nervous before competitions. During Amanda’s training, Taryn had her make an index card that reads, “ I am a world-class skating champion, I am solid skater, I will live the moment, I will stay focused on myself, I want it bad” which Amanda reads everyday to herself. She says she thinks about those words throughout her routines and they stick in her head. Reciting it has become almost like muscle memory for her.
Amanda reflects on how her mindset has changed since beginning mental conditioning with IMG Academy and how it has helped her become so successful:
“The thing that Taryn helped me realize was that I needed to build up my confidence. I had low self-esteem, especially with my jumping, and I had to learn how to identify the problem and ways to build up my confidence mentally in order to make my dreams come true. The first thing I had to realize was that I was worth enough to go to the Olympics, and that I was worthy enough to make the team. After that I just had to do the steps to get there.”
Amanda credits mental conditioning for helping her achieve the Olympic team at Nationals, which she says is her greatest accomplishment. The performance was not one of their best, but had she given up then she wouldn’t be able to call herself an Olympian because she only beat opponents by .06 of a point to qualify for Vancouver.
Currently, Amanda and her partner Mark are training for the World Figure Skating Championships that will be held in Tokyo, Japan in late March. The pair is looking to improve on their ninth place finish from last year’s Worlds.