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Craine skating for first Olympic quota spot

24 March 2017

FIGURE SKATING: Figure skater Kailani Craine has a dream – the Olympic Winter Games next February, and the path to that dream crystallises at the 2017 Helsinki World Championships Finland next week.

With 38 ladies from 29 countries vying for the initial 24 Olympic qualification spots (by nation) at the World Championships, the pressure and expectations on all competitors have been mounting.

“I have had to figure out the best possible way to have a good Worlds,” Craine said from her Los Angeles training base.

“I’m freaking out because of the Olympics. It’s fighting for something that’s been my dream.”

The three-time national champion medalled twice late last year in Latvia and Poland and then relocated to LA in mid-December to train with Tiffany Chin ahead of this all-important event.

“The top 24 is where I need to be and in the top 17 is my goal. I will have to have trust in myself and stay in the moment. I do need to enjoy the event – otherwise why am I doing it?”

Only 24 skaters make it through the short program to the final free skate.

“I’ve had good short programs this season and apart from working on the choreography after Four Continents, both programs have stayed the same. I need to work at maximising my points,” she said.

Craine experienced a few niggling foot problems with her achillies requiring new boots and blades at short notice after the Four Continents Championship and Asian Winter Games in February.

“It was lucky that I had new ones waiting. Four Continents wasn’t my best skate and I had to wonder why, then go back to figure it out. The free program was a shock to me and I’ve since changed my training a little bit,” she said.

“Mostly I have to get out of my own head and trust myself – so I will trying to change my game plan going into this comp.

“That just makes me aware I should really focus in that moment, because I was really well trained. I have been a good competitor in the past and one comp shouldn’t change it.”

The 2017 World Figure Skating Championships begin with the Ladies Short Program on Wednesday, 29 March.

Belinda Noonan

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Kailani Craine