Men’s competitor Richard Dornbush is flipping with excitement about the upcoming season. Not only will the 2011 U.S. silver medalist debut two new programs in this all important Olympic year, Dornbush also added the back flip to his exhibition programs.
“Ever since I was a little kid I had wanted to learn to do a back flip on the ice,” Dornbush said. “It probably stemmed from watching other skaters like Scott Hamilton and Michael Weiss do it, but later on people I competed against learned it too.”
Dornbush first tried learning the flip with his rinks’ pulley harnesses with some help from fellow competitor Philip Warren.
“Unfortunately he was a lot smaller than me at the time and we didn’t feel confident enough to try it with me,” Dornbush said. Later on, Coach Cindy Stuart stepped in and mentioned that Michael Villarreal had just learned his and would be able to help.
“I learned it with Michael and with some help from Jed Hopkins,” Dornbush said. “After that I could not stop myself from doing some every day. It drove my coach Tammy Gambill crazy.”
The back flip is now a staple part of Dornbush’s exhibition program, and he enjoys performing them for audiences. He performed his very first one at the recent Skate Dance Dream Show in Cleveland, Ohio.
“Performing it at Skate Dance Dream was a very nerve wracking experience but after doing them in the show, I must have done six or so, I had the hang of doing it solidly under spotlights. Now there are three guys doing back flips at my rink, Philip, myself and Australian men’s competitor Brendan Kerry which makes it more fun because we all push each other in so many different areas.”
Dornbush is also looking forward to the upcoming season and debuting two exciting new programs.
“This year both my short and my long have been choreographed by Mark Pillay, who did my short last year,” Dornbush said. “My short is set to “The Sons of Italy” and hasn’t been performed by a well known skater that I know of since Kurt Browning in the 1990/1991 season. The footwork is definitely the star of the program and is the main focus. At first I would trip up three or four times every time I did it and it worried me, but now I have it down and cannot wait to show off its intricacies in competition.”
Dornbush’s long program is a Beatles medley and he loves the subtle beginning where the songs are barely recognizable, but as the program builds the music becomes more obvious.
“In this way it really helps the build of the program,” he said.
Dornbush is looking forward to the upcoming season, and the all important U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, where the Olympic team will be chosen.
“I am really excited about this upcoming Olympic season and am working very hard to earn a spot on that team. I really mean the “earn” part as I think there are so many U.S. guys that are pushing the envelope with the quads, as well as the performance part of skating, that it will certainly be, in my mind, a huge athletic feat to make it to the top group,” Dornbush said.