October 6, 2010

Donald Jackson

Olympic Medalist Donald Jackson named 2010 Skate Canada International Athlete Ambassador

Go here for the original post on Skatebuzz.

He was the coach for Holiday On Ice the year I joined in 1983. Back then the big ice shows did things like employ coaches full time to give the performers lessons, make sure that in every number the skaters had on either hats or wigs, and keep jugglers gainfully employed. Nowadays, none of that.

Truth is, most of the choreographers for shows today were excellent skaters in their own time, so a coach is not needed. The choreographer we had in HOI had been a dancer.

I'll never forget the look on Don's face, when the choreographer was putting together finale bows and she said, "Okay, you guys on this side, do your axels over here to the right, and you guys on that side, go over there and do your axels to the left."

As one of the understudies, I got to have a couple of private lessons with Don when he was touring with our show. He left after a month or so to go to the next division and help out there. What, you think each division got their own coach?

I still remember working with him, because I was sooooo nervous. What an amazing opportunity. A world champion helping me on double toes and loops. He had an amazing jump philosophy that I never forgot. I can't do it justice in writing, but if you email me, let's talk ....

Anyway, I'm sure I stood a bit straighter and had a little more spring in my jumps anyway (they don't call it nervous energy for nothing) but after one of those lessons, I improved by two years if it had been up to me alone.

Besides all of his skating accolades, he was a great coach as well! Thanks Don!

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