Skater shows great promise

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:41 PM ET

Amanda Billings is living a dream and she doesn't want to wake up yet. Maybe sometime next year after the Turin Olympics?

"The silver platter is coming," the 18-year-old figure skater said before hitting the ice last night for an exhibition show during the Calgary Olympic Development Association invitational.

The CODA meet runs today and tomorrow at Father David Bauer and Norma Bush arenas.

After showing the kids how it's done, she gets to spend the next week or so preparing for the world junior championships in Kitchener, Ont., Feb. 28-March 6.

Then it's to infinity and beyond, as Buzz Lightyear would say.

"There's a chance I could go to Turin, depending on my health and my training," Billings said. "So, I'm focusing on what I need to do to get there.

"And then I'll take it step by step to get a spot on the national team. And I can't wait for the 2006 worlds in Calgary."

It's a long road but the Calalta club skater's confidence can't be shaken these days.

She competed up a level at nationals last month in London,Ont., and finished fourth in seniors.

So, she knows she can do better than her 17th-place result at world juniors in the Czech Republic two years ago.

But there has been work to do.

Billings and her coach, Sharon Lariviere, had to cut 30 seconds and one spin out of her long program, set to a piece from the Havana soundtrack.

And once she returns from world juniors, there's even more work to do, especially landing a triple-triple combination consistently.

"In my long, I did four triples," Billings said. "I had two more planned but they didn't work out. Those are going to have to get into my program.

"I have to improve and add more difficulty to my spins, which won't be a problem.

"I've been working, off and on, on triple-triple combinations," she added. "Joannie Rochette was the only girl who landed one at nationals.

"In order to beat her, I have to do a triple-triple combination. That's possible. I've landed them but not every day yet."

Knocking Rochette off her national-championship pedestal next year would be a coup. And Billings is starting to believe she can do it.

"It's pretty exciting to be one of the best in the best group of women's skaters Canada has had in a long time," she said. "There's so much talent now. So next year it's going to be interesting at nationals. It's going to be a fight.

"There's so much opportunity and I'm on a roll. I have confidence now that I can pull it off in any competition."


Videos

Photos