American Weaves Freestyle Victory
Jeremy LaCivita competing in Bremen
In only his second competition, Jeremy LaCivita of Philadelphia took the gold in Bremen's first battle freestyle skating competition.
This is a great step forward for the U.S. presence on the world freestyle stage, as Jeremy is the first U.S. freestyle skater to compete in overseas freestyle competitions.
Jeremy, 28, started skating as an artistic skater, before switching to inlines after high school:
"I've been skating for over 20 years now. I started as an artistic roller skater when I was a boy, and took lessons for a number of years.
"In high school, I stopped competing, but continued to roller skate for fun. Just before college (1996) I got a pair of Rollerblade inline skates, and soon discovered the Philadelphia Landskaters inline skate club. By May 2006, I was getting bored with skating, but that's when I discovered freestyle slalom. Now I've got more passion for skating than I did even as a roller skater."
In October this year, Jeremy competed in his first competition – Battle UK, in which the two competitions were National (just UK competitors) and International (which also included the UK competitors – so we got to compete twice!).
The German competition in Bremen took a different approach and split the competitors into Pro and Amateur. (I don't think Jeremy will be competing in the amateur section again!)
Surprisingly, Jeremy says that he was greatly helped in this competition by moves he learned on the Friday and Saturday of the actual event! ... Sounds a little scary, doesn’t it?, as putting in brand new moves into a competition is a very risky practice, but from speaking with him, I get the impression that it was all about having a good time rather than about winning.
Before the competition, Sebastien and Igor (both from France) and JB (from UK) spent time with him, and worked on heel wheeling, heel-toe spinning and the grande volte – all of which he was able to put into his battle runs.
"Saturday was fun — we skated for at least a few hours before any official events started — which was great, because I got to meet tons of skaters, and so many great skaters showed me things I didn't know yet."
Jeremy finished off his final battle by throwing a tribute back to New York’s Union Square freestylers by doing a hand plant taught to him by Evan Weremeychik.
Well, he may have won his first competition, but I'll always remember him coming up to me moments before competing in BattleUK and asking, "I'm nervous, can I have my pep talk now please?"
Damn, I think those days are behind him now ... now all he needs to worry about is Stacy ...
You can read Jeremy's write up of his experiences at the Bremen event here.
But before I go, there's just one last word from Jeremy that was tagged on to the end of our interview:
"Did i mention that I soooo had a blast?"
I think that just about sums it up ...
Naomi Grigg is one of the world's top freestyle skaters. She won the 2005 UK Freestyle Slalom Championship and is renowned for the flowing brilliance of her skating. Based in London, she travels widely, competing in international competitions and giving freestyle seminars.
• Naomi's Freestyler columns
Copyright © 2007 by Robert Burnson