By Maura Sullivan Hill, FSO Team Editor
Photos courtesy of Polina Edmunds and Figure Skaters Online
For elite figure skaters, interviews and discussions with the media are part of the package when competing in national and international competitions. They answer questions in the mixed zone immediately after their performances, attend press conferences at the end of competitions and give interviews before big events.
But a few of your favorite skateboarders have turned the tables and become the interviewers themselves, hosting their own podcasts and interview series:
Maura Sullivan Hill of Figure Skaters Online spoke to three podcasters, all focused on sharing personal stories, deepening, and bonding to help the next generation of skaters. In the first part of her three-part series “On the AIr”, Maura chats with 2014 Olympian and American silver medalist Polina Edmunds about what inspired her to start podcasting, how she hopes making a difference in sports and where his show is heading next.
Polina Edmunds: the skater’s point of view
2014 Olympian Polina Edmunds graduated with a communications degree from the University of Santa Clara in California in June 2020, amid all the uncertainties and instabilities created by the pandemic. “It was essentially a nightmare when it came to starting your career,” Edmunds recalls. “I was thinking about summer, [that] I’ve always wanted to start a podcast to discuss important skating issues, and it seemed like the perfect time.
She logged on to the Bleav (pronounced ‘believe’) podcast network, which produces sports podcasts hosted by former athletes, and started her own show: Bleav in figure skating: Polina Edmunds.
She started the series off with episodes about her own skating history, from balancing full-time school and skating to treating injuries. Then, she expanded her coverage to include competition recaps and breakdowns, as well as interviews with current competitors and other retired skaters. Edmunds interviewed his two 2014 Olympic teammates, Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner. Its episodes cover skating on and off the ice, whether it be competing for the United States team, college skating, off-ice training or eating disorders.
“I’ve done so many of these interviews and been on the talent side of all the media stuff, and I thought, I would love to be on the other side and bring my own personal knowledge of the sport to be able to giving interviews in a perhaps more personal way, or asking questions that are usually not asked, “says Edmunds.” And that’s exactly what my podcast was able to do. are generally kept silent or taboo.
Edmunds sees it as a natural continuation of the way she approached her skating career, which she calls, by her own estimation, unconventional. She attended high school full time while competing at the Olympic level and made a comeback after an injury while in college.
“In my skating career, I always felt like going against the wave, if that makes sense. I was pushing so hard and never really broke like I saw my peers do, just because I wasn’t the perfect cookie-cutter skater in some ways both on and off the ice. And I was fine with it. I’ve always had a lot of confidence in myself, knowing my skills and my hard work, ”she says. “And with that, the people who actually know me know my story, and I thought it would potentially be helpful for more people outside of my close group to hear [my story]. I know there aren’t really many podcasts or skating shows that talk about the experiences I get so many people talking about now. So I knew this was an open door for me and someone had to throw it. So why not?”
In addition to the podcast, Edmunds hosts skating seminars, traveling across the United States and around the world, including Mexico and Estonia. So far, she has frequented ice rinks in Colorado, Florida, Idaho and Oregon, with plans for more on the horizon. The seminars include technique lessons, off-ice conditioning sessions and a talk from Edmunds to the group.
“I give a speech to parents, coaches and skaters on my history, but especially on health practices for sport. I talk about body image with all the kids, the importance of diet and nutrition, and the importance of having a good training environment – and that goes for coaches, parents and skaters, it’s all together, ”says Edmunds. “And really the lessons you learn from the sport that you will apply later in life, no matter what level you reach for. I am a huge advocate for having the best learning experiences in any sport you play. And it doesn’t matter if you are one of the best skaters on Team USA or come to the rink three times a week. Everything is applicable. And that’s really the message I’m trying to get to people.
With her podcast and seminars, Edmunds focuses on improving her sport for the skaters who follow her.
“Especially for the next generation to come, in order to create a truly healthy atmosphere and environment, older skaters really need to come forward and express the challenges they’ve been through and what we can do to make it happen. easier situation for the next group, ”said Edmunds. “So that’s the goal, and with so many skaters who have come and who are so open, who share personal stories of specific struggles or issues, it has had a lot of impact for my audience and I’m so grateful. that people are willing to share. “
As the Olympic season kicks off, she is also looking forward to covering the Grand Prix series, national championships and the Games on her show.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our “On the Air” series coming up next week!