Meissner Making a Name for Herself

Meissner Making a Name for Herself

Wessling, Susan

Kimmie Meissner, 14, already has the skating world abuzz, and it looks like her fame will only grow over time. At this year’s Liberty Summer Competition in Newark, Del., held in July, Meissner wowed the crowd with an attempted triple Axel. While she underrotated the jump, she managed to hold the landing. She also hit triple-triple combinations to skate to victory in her first time competing at the senior level.

“I put my triple axel in my program at Liberty just to give it a shot, but as for the whole season it will depend on how consistent and clean it will be by that time,” Meissner said. “I have not been working on it that long off the harness, so it’s give-and-take whether I will put it in. It’s one of those jumps that takes a lot of rime and once the season starts I don’t have a lot of time to spare.”

Indeed, Meissner is a busy teenager. A high school sophomore, she attends Fallston High School in Fallston, Md. She takes most of her classes in the morning and spends the afternoon in skating sessions. “I have an hour commute each way to the rink, so I get most of my work and reading done then,” she said.

Despite her hectic schedule, Meissner has enjoyed much success at the junior level. In 2003, she started off her junior-level career with a second-place finish at the Junior Grand Prix QGP) in Sofia, Bulgaria. She showed her grit and determination by entering the free skate in fifth place and pulling off a terrific performance to win silver. Highlight after highlight followed for the young skater. Meissner won her first JGP gold – which was also her first international gold medal – at the JGP event in Slovenia. Qualifying for the JGP Final, she placed a noteworthy fifth – and then the fun really began.

In the 2004 portion of her season, she turned in some truly spectacular performances. She won the 2004 Junior U.S. Championship. Entering Junior Worlds, she set a modest goal for herself. “I only had hoped to get in the top ten,” Meissner said. Instead, she pulled off a strong enough showing to record what she calls the highlight of her career, a silver-medal performance. “Getting a medal was exhilarating,” she said.

Her coach, Pam Gregory, was very pleased with Meissner’s second-place finish at the 2004 Junior World Championships. “With how she skated, I thought she really earned it,” Greogory said. “She skated as well as she could, there.”

Meissner has been skating since she was six years old. Her brothers played hockey, and she was at the rink often to watch them skate. She trains in Newark, Del., at the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club.

Gregory said Meissner has her own classic skating style. She has nice edges, nice lines and is very smooth,” the coach said. “She is a pretty well-rounded skater…She is very solid, technically.”

The 5-foot Meissner will skate as a senior in the United States, but because of her age, she will skate in junior events internationally. “The challenge will be making her as mature as an 18or 20-year-old and that just takes time,” Gregory said. “She has unlimited potential. As long as she keeps physically fit and her mind clear, I think she can do anything.”

To be successful on the senior level, Gregory said, Meissner will need to improve her flexibility and power. “I think that comes with time. I think she is as powerful as a 14-year-old can be. I think in another year or two it will be even better,” Gregory said. “As far as her flexibility, she is a little tight and we have been working a lot on that.”

Among the goals the teenage skater has set for herself this season are to become more consistent and improve on her skating skills, specifically pointing to her spirals. “Some areas that I need improvement on would definitely be my spirals, which have always been a weakness for me,” she said. “And I’m working on getting my spins faster.”

What does she consider her strengths? “My strengths as a skater are probably that I am disciplined enough to train hard no matter what time of the year it is,” she said. “I also feel that my jumps are becoming one of my strengths as I become more consistent.”

Her long-term goals include winning U.S Nationals, earning a spot at Worlds and qualifying for the Olympics. “After that I would love to go on tour with any of the skating shows,” she said. “As far as my future outside of skating I would like to go to college and major in biology.”

Off the ice, she said, she is like other teenage girls and loves to shop. “I also like to draw, read, bike with my dad, and ski in the wintertime,” she said. “In summer I love to go out on the boat and soak up some sun.”

But as this summer draws to an end, Meissner clearly has skating on her mind. For the 2004-05 season, she will skate to Debussy’s “Reverie” in the short program and “Daphnis and Chloe” in the free skate. She also lists as goals for the season doing her best at her Junior Grand Prix events and finishing in the top six at the 2005 U.S. Championships.

Her coach has similar goals for her pupil. “If she does well enough to be selected by our association to go back to Junior Worlds, of course, she would want to try and win that,” Gregory said. “I would like to see her be in the top four to six at our senior Nationals. I think it would be great if she did that. I am personally shooting for her to get in the top four but I would be thrilled for her if she got in the top six. I think that is a realistic goal if she were to skate her best.”

Copyright Ashton International Media, Inc. Oct 2004

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