Adam, who turns 21 in November, finished fifth at last year's US Nationals and then sixth at Worlds, so he's poised to break out this season as the top male skater from the US. His two Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series assignments are Skate Canada (October 29-31 in Kingston, Ontario) and Skate America (November 11-14 in Portland, Oregon). Here's my Q&A with Adam where we talk about everything from his new programs for this season to The Office.
There's been a lot of buzz that you are the next rising U.S. star. What are your thoughts on that?
AR: I am very excited for this upcoming season. I have been working really hard and would love to prove a lot of people RIGHT this year by becoming one of the leading guys from the US.
In January 2009, you changed coaches from Nikolai Morozov to Brian Orser and moved to Toronto. Can you compare and contrast their coaching styles?
AR: This might sound a little surprising but, the coaching style isn't too different. The big change for me was the training environment. Nikolai was in New Jersey and Brian is in Toronto. The coaches I work with in Toronto are great and even when I am not feeling in top shape, they have a way of still keeping the energy high.
Brian Orser has said that he wanted to make public his breakup with Yu-Na Kim earlier rather than later because he didn't want it to be THE story during your (and Christina Gao's) Grand Prix events, which would have made it a major distraction for you guys. Were you affected at all while the breakup was being played out in the media?
AR: Of course, it was an awkward time for everyone. I feel very lucky to
have close friends and good relationships with my coaches that even with
some high emotions going around, it didn't affect my training.
What was your relationship with Yu-Na Kim like? I've read so much about her mom too -- did you interact with her on some level or did she mainly stay out of sight?
AR: Yu-Na and I were very close last year and it was such a great and
exciting experience to train with someone who would later go on to win
the Olympics. Her mother never said too much to me but she was always
very polite. I hope that they are enjoying LA and wish them all the
What are your short and long programs for this season?
AR: My short program is to Romeo & Juliet by Tchaikovsky. The program starts where all the drama begins in the story of Romeo & Juliet. It's drama-filled and wild. My long program is to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. This program has it's fill of drama as well. It's really the story of how the piece was written. While Rachmaninoff was writing this incredible concerto, he was coming out of a deep depression. I can really hear it in the music but I also hear the peace and beautiful quality of it. I love both programs and hope that everyone enjoys them as well.
What sets you apart from the rest of the top men this season?
AR: I'm not sure. One thing that I truly have is passion for what I do. I really love to skate and to skate my programs for other people. If anything, I really hope that comes across this year in my performances.
How are you a different skater from last year?
AR: I am a much more mature athlete. I feel that my training has improved and I feel completely comfortable with my coaches and choreographers this year. It's not that I wasn't comfortable last year, but I feel more at home now since making the move to Toronto. I have definitely increased my training intensity and I'm feeling very motivated to continue and keep pushing.Which side do you fall on -- Is figure skating athletic or artistry?
AR: Figure skating is so unique that if you aren't athletic, you can't be artistic. I feel that you have to skate as a performer, but at the same time be so finely trained as an athlete. To skate effortlessly is incredibly difficult and only someone who has trained endlessly can give you the impression that what they are doing is easy.
What is your favorite jump and spin?
AR: Favorite jump is the Rippon lutz! (Lutz with both arms over the head.) I love it because I feel really special when I do it. How cheesy but it's true though. I love being able to complete an element that is so unique and that no one else is doing! I love doing back camels -- There's really no reason why, I just enjoy that spin so much.
What was the evolution of the Rippon lutz?
AR: I had joked around with my coach, Brian Orser, that if I could do the lutz with one hand why couldn't I try it with two!? I just thought it would be cool to try. I worked on it until it became a more quality element and now I have it in both programs.
Will you put the quad in for this season?
AR: Yes, it's a goal of mine to put the quad into my program. I'm working a lot on it and I hope to show it during the Grand Prix.
2014 Sochi Winter Games is four years away. Is your goal to make it there?
AR: My goal is to skate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and to skate as best I can. I'm taking it all one step at a time and really just focusing on working hard and doing the best I can every time I go out and skate.
Do you feel you've missed out on anything by being a competitive figure skater? What do you think you've gained?
AR: No, I don't think I've missed out on anything. I think it's
impossible to think you've missed out on anything when you love what
you're doing. This doesn't mean that it's an easy life. I've made
thousands of sacrifices but I work hard so that they are all worth it.
AR: So many skaters! I really admire my coach Brian Orser (at right, Adam with coach Brian Orser), as well as Michelle Kwan, Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton, Katarina Witt, Alexei Yagudin, this list could go on forever. To be honest, I admire everyone I'm competing with. Everyone brings something special and unique to the table and as an athlete, I feel it's really important to notice the positive things about your competitors. I think that if you take in what you like about their skating and use it to help your own skating; it can only make you a better skater.
How often do you get to go home to Scranton? Do you encourage your five younger siblings to skate?
AR: I have the chance to go back home about four times a year. I don't encourage them to skate but I do encourage them to give 100% at whatever they do. They have all tried skating but they just never wanted to stick with it. This isn't to say that they aren't my fans! I am always surprised when one of my siblings will bring up a piece of trivial information about my skating career. We are definitely a tight group of siblings.Last time we did a Q&A, you said Family Guy and The Office were your two favorite shows. Will you still watch The Office after Steve Carell leaves?
AR: As a Scranton, PA native, I feel almost obligated to continue to watch. The Office will never be the same without Steve Carell, but it doesn't change the fact that I am still a huge fan of the show!What's the update on your university endeavors? Are they on hold?
What's the best and worst advice anyone gave you about skating?
AR: I think the best advice someone gave me was to listen to my body and treat it well. Luckily, no one has given me horrible advice ;)