Bryce Davison says ignore distractions and focus on the ice
Former Olympic skater Bryce Davison is urging members of the Canadian figure skating team to focus on their on-ice performance and not dwell on reports of potential security threats at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“Despite what’s going on with all the Sochi stuff, the security, the fears, I just said to go and enjoy your experience,” said the 27-year-old west Mountain resident and Hamilton Skating Club coach who skated with Jessica Dubé in the pairs competition at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games. “Outside of the skating, turn that off.”
Davison, who has skated at numerous international events at the junior and senior levels before retiring from competition in 2011, can still vividly recall stepping onto the ice at the 2006 games in Torino (Turin),Italy.
“We walked out and this is what hit me; there’s flags everywhere and people were booing, people were cheering and so much patriotism amongst the countries, that was incredible to see,” Davison said. “It was very spooky and exciting moment to just live and try to adsorb all that energy.”
Davison said he was surprised how suddenly a packed arena can go quiet and that the only sound he could detect was his own breathing
“It was incredible how silent an arena full of people can be,” he said. “That moment before our music started, it was like drop-deal silent in the rink.”
So how much pressure is there on Canada’s skaters and other Olympic athletes to do well?
“A lot,” said Davison. “And it’s not just from media, it’s not just from your family, it’s more from yourself and realizing this is the moment where everything you’ve worked on since your were (for most Olympic athletes) two, three, four-years old…it’s more the pressure you put on yourself to perform and to shine when the moment really counts.”
For Davison, the pressure to do well is all part of the Olympic experience.
“It’s better to embrace it than try to shut it out,” he said. “The more you try and shut it out the more it plays with your mind.”
Davison noted by the time skaters reach the Winter Games they’ve had their share of pressure situations.
“You wouldn’t be going to the Olympics if you didn’t enjoy pressure situations,” he said. “I always say embrace it and deal with it…let it become something that can empower you.”
Davison recalled the two or three weeks between the national championships and the Olympics were all about staying focused and not breaking his training schedule.
“It’s all about keeping your emotions in check and realizing that you’re physically prepared and now it’s just time to maintain and try not to do anything silly in a season where hopefully all your dreams will come to fruition,” he said.
Davison said he expects Canadian skaters to be frequent visitors to the medal podium in Sochi.
He feels ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir can bring home another gold medal after finishing first at the 2010 Winter Olympics inVancouver and at the 2010 and 2012 world championships.
“They continue to be that good,” Davison said.