Searching for the next elevator of destiny (elevatorshaker) wrote,
Searching for the next elevator of destiny

Saw Evan

Have a few recent entries saved on my usual computer (which is fixed and now better than ever - goodbye and good riddance Windows Vista), but I hate lugging it to campus since we have no internet connection at my apartment, so I haven't uploaded them.

Went to a talk this afternoon about living your dreams, standing up again after you fall and all that stuff that's supposed to appeal to people who are different from me. The company hosting it is called Deloitte and they're an Olympic sponsor, so they invite Olympians to talk and today Evan was there. There was no indication that this event was even happening anywhere, not even on Deloitte's site, but I heard from the figure skating class I'm taking at Cal. (Cal, as I'm sure many universities do, has a curriculum where students can propose a topic they want to study academically and teach to other students. It's called DeCal [har], and this semester some members of the Cal collegiate figure skating team [of whom I am now a member {blush}] are teaching a class. It's mainly from the judging angle [purportedly] and I'm getting upper division Legal Studies credit for it.] So I dropped by before the event and they told me there was still room.

Milled around for a while, then took a seat. They gave us two beverage containers, one of those cheap, aluminum, yuppie water bottles and a vacuum flask filled with coffee. Evan came cruising down the way along with snowboarder Chris Klug and sprinter April Holmes. He had a brace on his left leg and is somewhat cuter in person. Deloitte guy chattered for a bit and introduced Evan, who stood up to take the floor before the other two had been introduced. He sat back down, kinda embarrassed.

When he did get the floor, he spoke more about Torino than Vancouver. He said that he got to Italy, and on the day of the short program he woke up feeling a little ill. He decided not to eat so as not to compound whatever stomach problem was beginning, and by the time it was time for the SP, he was really feeling bad. During the short he said he fell and slid into the boards right in front of the judges and "made their computers shake so they had to hold onto them" and was in 10th place. After the event he didn't even change out of his costume and just crawled onto the bus in his sequins and skates.

The next day he felt worse and was at a clinic getting an IV for fluids. No one could speak English and tell him what was wrong with him and the only one who was allowed in there with him was his coach. He didn't mention Frank by name, but he said that Frank pulled some reverse psychology on him and told him that if he wanted to he didn't have to go back out there and skate after putting in thousands of hours of work, with his friends and family and country watching, and go back home to his bed where nothing was scary. So Evan decided that this was not turning out the way he wanted his Olympic experience to be, and that he had to go back out there and pull himself together.

The day after, he put down the best free program of his career. Still wasn't enough to get a medal, but it got him into 4th place and after the event was over, everyone wanted to talk to the top 4 finishers. For the medal ceremony, he didn't want to stick around, but Frank told him to watch it. He stood at the boards, as close as he could get to the ice and watched "three boys I'd competed against, was friends with, and trust" get their medals (I'm sure I had a dumb grin on my face at this part). And for the next 4 years he was determined to put the work in and get back to the Olympics and be at the top of the podium this time.

Later tidbits. I can't remember what question prompted this (what inspires you, maybe?), but here's his response, paraphrased: Figure skating is a sport that's misunderstood and easily mocked, but there was a poll about the most stressful sports moment and the top was 'Center ice, right before the free program, the Olympics.' Skating only gets a lot of publicity every 4 years, but really skaters have the same feeling at each competition, every 3 weeks, throughout the season. When he's up there, he feels pressure from himself, his coach, his family, his agent, what contract is on the line, and after Vancouver he just didn't want to do it anymore. So he took 8 months off and did other things, like learning to dance. I'm sure he said something else after that, but it escapes me.

Then someone else, an athlete, asked about what he could do to motivate his teammates to be more passionate about their sport and Evan responded thus: "I don't... think that's... the best question to ask a figure skater." We all laughed, and he went on to say that even though he does an individual sport, he still has a team, and is kinda like the boss of it, insofar as it's up to him to hire and fire people. He just said that it was up to each member to feel like the nucleus of the team and do everything they can.

Post-talk, I wanted to ask him what was wrong with his leg and if he'd be going to SkAm, but some lady appeared and took him away after just a few minutes snapping pictures. He's been on the pro speaking circuit for a while, but I was impressed by how articulate he was, pretty impressed by all of them. I've mentioned to a few people how I like deadpan humor and his bronotone is definitely conducive to that, however unintentionally. Asked Chris Krug about anonymous organ donation (he had a liver transplant), then split.
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