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Spotlight on Angie Lien by Sylvia
Exclusive to Unseen Skaters. January 27, 2003.

Angie Lien was the only senior lady at 2003 Midwestern Sectionals to land a triple lutz/double toe loop combination in the short program. She celebrated her 22nd birthday on January 16, 2003, during the Opening Ceremony of the Winter World University Games in Tarvisio, Italy, where she succeeded in winning a silver medal for the USA. She completed this interview with Unseen Skaters in December 2002, before leaving for the Games, and will spend her spring semester at the University of Valladolid in Spain.

Congratulations on winning the bronze medal at 2003 Midwestern Sectionals and qualifying for your second Senior Nationals! Can you summarize your experience at Mids in November 2002?
Mids was pretty fun. I got to see one of my best friends, Melissa Parker. The fact that I had qualified for Mids just made the week that much better, having my family there for support is so great, and then to top off the week with 3rd place, was amazing. I was just going into Mids to skate for myself. I thought my short program was pretty good, although I was a little disappointed about my triple toe [doubled], as it's one of my favorite and best jumps, but overall, I was pleased with my short.

As for long, I was really hard on myself after 'cause I shouldn't have missed the triple salchow and I had the goal of rotating my triple loop, but I guess we all had a somewhat off night and somehow the ball bounced in my direction. I was thrilled to find out I had qualified for Nationals. I was so thrilled that my family was there to celebrate with me.

Why have you withdrawn from 2003 Nationals?
I have withdrawn from Nationals this year as I have been chosen to go to the World University Games in Italy [January 16-26, 2003, in Tarvisio]. It was a really hard decision to make, and I kept feeling as though either one was going to be the right one, but I just couldn't pass up a chance like this. The USFSA doesn't send a team every year, so I chose this. I'm happy with my decision, although nothing beats skating at Nationals. I'm glad, though, that it wasn't because of injury that I am withdrawing.

What are you looking forward to the most, both on and off the ice, at the World University Games? Your goals?
I'm looking forward to the experience first of all, and the competition. Off the ice, I'm hoping to be able to take in some of the other events while we are there in Italy. On the ice, I'm hoping to skate like I used to, with no holding back. I know I can do this, it's just a confidence thing. My goal is to skate the program I know I can skate and have been practicing. I know it is there.

What university do you attend and what is your year and major?
I attend the University of Minnesota - Duluth, in Duluth, MN. I am going to be a junior this spring semester, and I am an exercise science major.

How do you balance your training and college life?
I guess I just kind of got used to balancing things back in high school 'cause I went to school full-time, skated after school and then always made time for my friends. I guess it's pretty much the same except that it's a lot harder to miss a week of school at college than it was at high school! I love school because so many of my friends are interested in what I do and support me, and I've met some really awesome people who've become very good friends. We all get together whenever we can to either do homework, go to parties, or just hang out on weekends. They are great!

What are your goals after college?
I would like to continue coaching, but I would also like to pursue a job in my major field. I'm not sure which direction I'm going to take from it, but I still have time to decide on that, thank goodness.

When and how did you begin skating?
My mom is a skating coach, and being the older sister, she just brought me with her to the rink and all the skating moms would look after me and then when I was about 3, I put on a pair of skates and the rest is history.

LienWhat have been some of the most memorable experiences in your skating career to date?
I think the most memorable experience would have to be 1999 Nationals. I didn't think I was going and then the results came up. Not only was I going but Melissa [Parker] and I were going together. I think that was one of the happiest days of my life. That year was really tough competitively at Mids. There were tons of good senior skaters there. It was such an honor to make it to Nationals. Another memory would be skating in the closing ceremonies for the 1998 World Championships in Minneapolis, MN. That was really neat. It was like a real Ice Capades production or something near that. I really felt honored to be invited to participate.

What were your two previous Nationals experiences like in 1996 (Novice, 7th place) and 1999 (Senior, 14th place)?
Nationals in 1996 was great. While there, I also celebrated my 15th birthday on the night of my long program. We had most of the girls over for some cake and my family was also there for that. I can't thank them enough for the support that they give me.

Nationals in 1999 was just amazing 'cause I was competing with Michelle Kwan, and she just happend to be on my warm-up for Short Program. It was such an honor to be competing with someone that great. The week in Salt Lake City was really fun. Melissa [Parker] and I hung out all the time, went and cheered on our friends, and on Valentine's Day, we went to Park City, Utah, for a day of skiing and snowboarding. It was such an amazing week. Thanks, Mel!!

What do you consider to be the weakest aspects of your skating?
I think the weakest aspect of my skating is my artistry, which I've been working very hard to improve. Next in line would be my spins which have greatly improved over the last two years.

How has your artistry improved? And how have your choreographers, Jill Scott and Tom Dickson, helped you in this regard?
Jill, my long-time choreographer, and I have been working very hard on body positions and extension. I've also put in some extra effort on my part trying hard to make improvements in the littlest movements by doing ballet, and just extra work on the ice. Tom has helped bring everything out in my skating by trying to find music that really suits me and my style and to capitalize on that. I've really enjoyed working with both of them. They are an important part of my skating career.

Can you tell us about your program music -- Spellbound (music from the 1945 Alfred Hitchcock film) for your short and Spartacus for your free skate? Who chose these pieces of music and why?
Spellbound - the music sounds kind of scary and is also very pretty at the end. I really enjoyed creating this program with Tom. I actually found the music for my short program, and I chose it because it was challenging for me to skate to a different type/style of music. Spartacus - My coach Zoe [Hill] chose this music and Tom also agreed that he liked this piece of music for me. I think this was also a challenge to skate to such a beautiful piece of music and really work on my extension and edges throughout the program.

What do you consider to be the strongest aspects of your skating?
I think most everyone would agree that my strongest aspect would be my jumping. I love to jump, and the jumps are so challenging, and I love that.

LienWhat are your favorite jump, spin, and connecting element to do?
I am definitely from the old school of skating. I absolutely love/loved figures!! I think that has helped me so much in my skating. My favorite jump - I think would be triple toe or triple lutz. My favorite spin - butterfly with stars into it! I love to fly.

Can you elaborate more on why you loved figures (have you passed, or were you working towards passing, your 8th and final figures test?) and how you think they have helped your skating? (holding the back outside edge into the lutz, perhaps?)
I loved figures because they were challenging and such a change of pace from freestyle, but I also loved doing all sorts of edge stuff. I love learning new edge patterns to warm-up with. I loved doing loops, rockers, paragraph three's, etc. I only made it to my 7th test and never got to take it, although it is always a thought in the back of my mind. I passed my 6th figure the summer before I went to Novice Nationals and I competed figures from Preliminary to Intermediate. I think this was very beneficial to my skating. I was sorry to see them leave. I think that figures really did help my lutz take off! I've done an outside edge since day one with all of my lutzes, but it also helps that I really like doing that jump!

Who are your favorite skaters and why?
I really admire Kristi Yamaguchi because she also went to school (high school) full-time and was still able to pursue her skating and I think that is wonderful! She accomplished so much. I think that is amazing. Also Paul Wylie for the same reasons. Kurt Browning because talks like me!! Haha, because he is so friendly but such an amazing skater in all aspects.

What do you like to do for fun away from the ice?
I love to snowboard. I do an inline skating marathon every September. Spend time with my friends and family, go to cheer on my buds who play hockey at the universities in the area, and go places with my dad.

What is it about skating that motivates you to keep going year after year and day in and day out?
I really enjoy the exercise, but most of all I really just like being on the ice, and when I'm away it's so hard. I just want to get back out there. There are those days when you just don't want to be there and I think that happens to most people. I really just like to skate and show people what I can do, especially my family. In the last few years I've just been taking it one year at a time. I think at this point in my life that's how I need to take it. I think it's working just fine for me and I'm happy.

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