Brittney Rizo was shocked when the ladies short program competition ended at the 2009 U.S. Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. A relative unknown making her senior debut, she placed fourth in the short, ahead of both national champions and World Championship team members.
“I knew that if I executed my triple triple combination like I could, that it might help me push up the in the rankings,” said Rizo, who finished seventh overall. “But never in a million years did I think it would help me that much to push me up to fourth.”
Rizo handed another surprise to the skating community when she announced she would forgo elite level skating in the Olympic season to focus on her studies at Northeastern University. She will also skate collegiately.
After making her decision to skip the 2009-10 season, despite a strong showing on the Junior Grand Prix circuit and senior nationals in 2008-09, Rizo sat down with Figure Skaters Online to answer questions from her fans.
Jamie (Arizona, USA): Brittney, thank you for taking the time to answer questions from your fans. Let’s start with your general thoughts on the past season.
Brittney: I was very pleased with my past season. I got to travel, meet new people and represent my country. I grew as a person, worked hard and achieved my goals all while enjoying myself. It was a wonderful season and I am very proud of everything I have accomplished.
Tatum (Quebec, Canada): Did you meet your goals for the season?
Brittney: Yes, I met most of my goals for this year. I wanted to get top ten at Nationals, so getting 7th was a bonus; however, I really wanted to get my flip and flip toe consistent but by the end of the season my flips were really struggling so we took it out of my program.
Michelle (California, USA): Were you nervous to skate on the Junior Grand Prix?
Brittney: Yes. I was so nervous for my first Junior Grand Prix in Italy. I remember going on my first practice ice shaking from my adrenaline. As the competition went on I realized it wasn’t any different from anything else I done and it became just like any other competition.
Enzo (Italy, USA): I thought you should have won the bronze medal at the Junior Grand Prix Italy competition. I liked your performance very much so I hope you come back to skate in Italy soon. Did you like the competition?
Brittney: I absolutely loved the Junior Grand Prix Italy. It was so amazing, the people were so kind, and everything was put together so well. I was a little disappointed I did not place better myself, but It just motivated me and pushed me to work harder for the next Junior Grand Prix.
Samantha (Ohio, USA): Brittney, I met you backstage at the U.S. Championships in Cleveland because I was a sweeper. One day I want to skate at the national championships then represent the United States all over the world. Can you tell me what is it like skating for Team USA?
Brittney: Do you want to know something really funny? I was actually a sweeper when I was nine at the U.S Championships in Boston. If you work hard enough and dedicate yourself to anything, you can make it happen — I am a firm believer of it. Skating for Team USA is really an amazing experience. It is super fun and you get to meet so many people. It may be intimidating at first when you go to your first international competition, but when you realize it is just a regular competition only in another, it become quite exciting. It’s really an amazing experience, one that not many people can say they have done.
Carlee (Colorado, USA): Were you surprised to be in fourth place after the short program at the U.S. Championships? Or did you expect to be that competitive?
Brittney: I was actually quite shocked. To be quite honest with you, now I still don’t even believe that I was in fourth after the short. I knew that if I executed my triple triple combination like I could, that it might help me push up the in the rankings, but never in a million years did I think it would help me that much to push me up to fourth.
Janet (Massachusetts, USA): Britney, what is it like at the Skating Club of Boston? How often are you on the ice with other elite skaters like Stephen Carriere, Katrina Hacker and Emily Hughes?
Brittney: I absolutely love training at the Skating Club of Boston, it is like my second home. The chemistry Stephen Carriere, Katrina Hacker, Curran Oi, and Ross Miner and I have while training together is unbelievable. It really is something spectacular. We are always pushing each other and there for one another when one of us is having a rough day. Even though we see each other six hours a day, five days a week, we still don’t get enough of one another and hang out on the weekends as well. We truly are all best friends.
Jim (Virginia, USA): Brittney, congratulations on your beautiful performances at the U.S. Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. I was not familiar with your skating before nationals but those skates made me take notice of your budding career. Does having an Olympian like Emily Hughes training with you at Skating Club of Boston have an impact on your training?
Brittney: Due to our different training schedules, we have never really trained together.
Rose (West Virginia, USA): Have you always been at the Skating Club of Boston? When did you start working with Peter Johansson and Mark Mitchell?
Brittney: I have been with Mark and Peter for about three years now. Before then, I worked with Lisa Coppola who got me through my junior nationals and first nationals experience. Then I began to work with Mark and Peter who brought me to my next three Nationals. They are amazing coaches and they have truly guided me in not only becoming a better skater, but also a grown women.
Dana (Michigan, USA): Which of your skating accomplishments are you most proud of? By the way, I thought you were simply wonderful at the nationals in Cleveland. I hope that you make it to Spokane next year so I can cheer you on again.
Brittney: Thank you! I would have to say the accomplishment that I am most proud of is learning to deal with my nerves at competitions. When I was younger, I never competed well because I always doubted myself and my capabilities. Over the years I gained confidence and learned to go for things and not hold back when competing.
Tallie (Pennsylvania, USA): Congrats on a solid senior showing at nationals! I read on Ice Network that you are deciding between school and skating. Have you made your decision yet?
Brittney: Yes, I have actually decided to further my education at Northeastern University. It was a very tough decision, but I feel like I have definitely made the right one. I still plan to skate in college for Northeastern.
Carlee (Colorado, USA): What are your goals for the next season?
Brittney: Next year I have actually decided to focus on my first year of college rather than my skating aspirations. Education has always been very important to me and I think it is important to try to maintain that balance between skating and knowledge.
Brittney (Missouri, USA): Brittney, I just wanted to let you know that you have the coolest first name that anyone could have. What are your favorite skating moves? Is there ever something that you just have to have in all of your programs?
Brittney: Oh my goodness. I know, right? My favorite move is actually when I do my triple toe-triple toe. For some reason I just really enjoy doing it. There isn’t anything I really have to have in my program, but I really like having Spanish type music, because I love acting like a “seniorita”.
Mary (Michigan, USA): Brittney, I really love the “Malaguena” free skate that you have used for the past two seasons. Have you thought about using it again? Do you have your program music for next season?
Brittney: Thanks! I really liked that program a lot too. I don’t think I will ever skate to it again because I have already used it for two season and I typically like to get newer programs each year. Instead of skating next season, I am going to college so I haven’t selected any program music.
Jan (New York, USA): Brittney, what do you do to overcome a bad day of practice? What are some of the things that keep you motivated?
Brittney: One thing that always really kept me motivated was my great groups of friends. When I was down or discouraged, they were always there to pick me up, whether I was in school or at skating.
Britt (Maine, USA): Who inspires you?
Brittney: I would have to say my coaches really inspire me. They always saw the best in me and I always wanted to achieve what they knew I could do, even when I didn’t think I really could.
Marcus (Texas, USA): Brittney, I read that you are a senior in high school. Do you want to attend a college or university next year? Or are you going to put school on hold until you are done with skating? Also, what schools have you looked into?
Brittney: I will be attending Northeastern University next year. I also got into schools such as Suffolk and Boston University; however, the first time I walked into Northeastern, I knew it was the place for me. I will continue to skate collegiately but for now I really want to focus on my studies because I feel like I never really have been able to.
Phoebe (Iowa, USA): Your profile says “anything to do with science” is your favorite school subject. What is it about science that you like so much? My second question is what do you want to do something science related when you’re done with skating?
Brittney: I have always really liked science. I would have to say it is one of my favorite subjects because it is happening right now. Science is a process and new things are always being learned which I find quite fascinating. When I am done skating I would actually really like to become a doctor and help people around the world with new medicine that is always being produced.
Lauren (Illinois, USA): What is your dream job?
Brittney: My dream job would probably be something along the lines of pediatrics. I always wanted to be a doctor and have always loved working with kids, so I think it would be a great combination of the two.
Olive (Delaware, USA): Off the ice, do you hang out with a lot of the Skating Club of Boston skaters? What do you and the other skaters like to do together?
Brittney: Yes, we hang out a lot actually; we are all really great friends. One thing that we all love playing is Scrabble. We play that all day long. We also enjoy ping pong, just chilling watching a movie or going to the beach in the summer.
Jeremiah (Delaware, USA): What are your hobbies?
Brittney: I really enjoy writing. Writing what I am feeling really helps me vent with whatever emotion I am feeling or problem I am encountering in my life at that time. I also enjoy photography even though I am not very good at it.
Britt (Maine, USA): What do you to relax?
Brittney: To relax, I grab a bowl of ice cream and watch reruns of the OC with my brother Jared. In the summer, we might switch in up and lay on a float in my pool or go to the beach. I could lay there for hours.
Jamie (Arizona, USA): Thanks for taking the time to answer questions from your fans Brittney. Is there anything that you’d like to add?
Brittney: Thank you all so much for your support! All of your wonderful comments really meant a lot to me. Let me know if you have any more questions.
Jamie (Arizona, USA): For more information on Brittney Rizo, visit her official Web site Brittney Rizo Online at www.figureskatersonline.com/brittneyrizo/. Thank you for your questions everyone.