With the world championships taking place in Canada this year, the biggest challenge for Sarnia figure skater Michael Marinaro might just be hearing the music.
“The noise inside the venue is going to be so loud that it’s going to be difficult to hear the music. It’s going to be special,” Marinaro told The Journal.
“A little bit of pressure but it’s going to be a pretty special event. Not too often do any athletes… have a chance to compete at home in Worlds.”
Marinaro, 28, and partner Kirsten Moore-Towers, are fresh off winning their second consecutive Canadian pairs title on Jan. 18 in Mississauga, Ont.
They flew to Seoul, South Korea on Sunday for the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, the final stop before World Championships March 16-22 in Montreal.
Marinaro and Moore-Towers, who began skating together in 2014, had a combined score of 215.67 over the short and free skate programs at Nationals. Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud, their rivals and Oakville training partners, finished a distant second with 196 points.
“After the short program it was a very tight competition. We were up by about one and a half points going into the free (skate) – which is a very small margin,” Marinaro said.
But their performance wasn’t perfect.
“We had one mistake on one of the jumping passes. That was a major error we need to clean up for the Four Continents and the World Championships,” he said.
“We’re just going to have to put down a bigger performance — more speed, all the little details — if we’re going to be successful reaching our goal – which is the world podium.”
The pair train five days a week with a combination of strength, conditioning, technical exercises and meditation, he said. Every year they perfect two programs, which they showcase and improve throughout the season. By this point, they’re working on the finer details.
“We’re doing the exact same thing every day, day in and day out, trying to make every single step perfect,” he said.
“To be competing with the world’s best… those little details are going to make the difference.”
Marinaro and Moore-Towers have been on the rise after finishing 11th at the 2018 Winter Olympics and sixth at the world championships in Italy the same year.
Marinaro began skating at the Point Edward Skating Club at the age of four. By the time he was 10 he’d set his sights on becoming an Olympian.
That local support is still a big motivator, he said.
“After the Canadian championships, my phone was going off for three, four days straight. People I haven’t been in contact with in a couple of years, they were reaching out,” he said.
“The support from Sarnia and Point Edward has just been ridiculous and it’s much, much appreciated. It definitely helps us drive forward.”