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Spotlight on Shanell Noji by Hadas
Exclusive to Unseen Skaters. November 11, 2001.

Shanell Noji is the 2001 U.S. Novice Nationals silver medalist. She is 13 years old and skates for the All Year Figure Skating Club. She won her first international medal at the Triglav Trophy competition, where she placed third.

When and how did you begin to figure skate?
When I was six years old, I was a hyperactive kid so my Mom put me into different sports to keep me busy. I tried soccer, swimming, gymnastics, ballet, and ice skating. I chose ice skating because it was more of a self- determined sport as opposed to a team sport. I prefer to be responsible and determine my own fate or outcome.

Will you be skating at the Novice level or Junior level for the 2001-2002 season?
I will be moving up to Junior this year. I have already passed my moves in the field and the freestyle test.

You finished 2nd at the 2001 U.S. Novice Nationals. What was that experience like?
I had a great time competing in Boston at my first Nationals. Before I left for Nationals, I just happened to be studying about Boston, so it was nice to actually go on the Freedom Trail to be able to look at all the historical sites. My favorite memory from Nationals was while I was standing on the podium looking out at the crowd, and thinking this was my way of thanking my coaches, parents, grandparents, and everyone else who had helped me get this far.

What element have you been working on most this summer?
I've been working on my triple loop, triple lutz, edge work, and artistic presentation.

What can we look forward to in your short and long programs for next year?
I'm still working on the finishing touches of my long program. Hopefully new jumps, and better presentation.

What is the number one goal that you would like to achieve in your skating career?
I would like to represent the USA in the World Championships or the Olympics and hopefully medal.

If you had to pick one person that has influenced your skating most, who would it be and why?
I couldn't just pick one person because it takes a whole team to become a great skater. My parents have given me a great child life and helped me through every problem I've had in skating. No matter what I place they're always proud of me.

What do you consider the best aspect of skating that keeps you coming back to the rink every day?
Well, my parents don't force me to skate. I skate because it's what I love to do and I feel free on the ice. Whenever I'm having a bad day, as soon as I step onto the ice, everything is totally forgotten and I'm in a whole different world. What I like best about skating is competing, jumping, and to conquer all challenges. Just when I think I can take a break, I find out I need to work even harder to be successful. In ice skating, you have to be physically fit, technically strong, artistic, musical, and theatrical. Ice skating challenges me physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Photography copyright © Dave Amorde. Skate photograph copyright © Dave Amorde. Unless otherwise noted, all content Do not reproduce elsewhere without permission.