Reaching for Sochi
Figure skater Agnes Zawadzki has a few things in her life that she loves. The first is peanut butter: "I throw it on top of anything or just eat it right from the jar," says the 19-year-old who has twice captured bronze medals in the U.S. Nationals. The second is a stuffed elephant, a good-luck charm that is also a remembrance of her father, who died when she was 10. It travels with her to competitions and will be at the 2014 National Championships in Boston, which are Jan. 5-12.
The third thing Zawadski is thrilled about is the fact that, because of solid performances by Americans at the World Championships, the United States will send three female solo skaters to Sochi. Zawadski is doing all she can to nab a spot.
"If I complete two solid programs at Nationals," she says, "Sochi is definitely within reach."
Here's a look into her training:
My day typically has a late start. I'll head to the rink about 10:30 a.m. to warm up, skate from 11 to 11:45, take a break until 1:15, when I skate again until 2. Another break, and one more 45-minute skate from 4 to 4:45. After I'm done on the ice, I will either do some strength training, run, or do yoga.
Artistry + jumps
I've been working a lot of my artistry in my programs. In order to win, you can't just rely on jumps anymore; you need the whole package. My biggest challenge is my skills in-between the jumps and spins: crossovers and basic skating skills. I'm trying to get more power from my crossovers.
Getting her Om on
When I strength train, I do a lot of plyometric exercises and focus on my core. You need long, lean lines in figure skating, so I don't want to bulk up too much. I also love a good yoga session.
High mileage skater
Running really helps clear my mind and relax after a stressful day. It brings me closer to my inner Zen. I'm up to 2.5 miles at a time, and want to run 6 to 8 miles without stopping. I typically run by myself and put my iPod on shuffle. I'm good with any music as long as it gets me pumped and moving.
I eat mostly gluten-free when I'm at home, but that's harder to do on the road. I try to eat organic too, sticking to a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and a minimal amount of fat and oils. A typical lunch might be chicken, quinoa, veggies and a piece of fruit. I have the worst sweet tooth; when it hits, I'll let myself have a piece of dark chocolate. I often look up healthy versions of desserts. For Thanksgiving, I made vegan, gluten-free pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole, and it was the best I've ever had.
Prepare to be distracted
I'm studying psychology, but am taking this year off of college. I do work with a psychologist on a daily basis, though. Right now, we're concentrating on what kind of distractions might come up at Nationals and what could throw me off. For instance, we practice my not having enough time to finish my complete warm-up. We also focus on the way I talk to myself before and during my programs.
I was in the 12 Days of Sochi video and it was such a blast. I love to sing. I sing in the car or at home or really, wherever I can at the top of my lungs.