December, 2007- Articles and mentions in anticipation for 2008 United States National Championships (Rohene Ward and (Eliot Halverson)
L to R: Kirsten Olson, Rohene Ward
, Eliot Halverson
, Molly Oberstar
Skaters Eliot Halverson, Molly Oberstar, Kirsten Olson and Rohene Ward
were on the ice at the Wells Fargo Winter Skate rink to reveal the four buttons.
- Channel 5 (ABC) Video Interview of Rohene Ward
(Minnesota Television Station) - Video of Eliot Halverson and Rohene Ward
November 15-18, 2007- 2008 Midwestern Sectional Championships (Rohene Ward and (Eliot Halverson)
is fourth (66.21) and Michael Peters fifth (63.26).
Other competitors include Wesley Campbell, Jonathan Cassar, Nicholas Krongard, Casey McCraw, Braden Overett, Michael Peters, John Salway, Rohene Ward
and Ben Woolwine.
of Minneapolis will be going to nationals for the fourth time at the senior level after placing second in his
free skate and second overall Saturday at the U.S. Figure Skating Midwestern Sectional Championships at the Onyx Ice Arena.
November 13, 2007- Pioneer Press Article (Rohene Ward) Rohene Ward
, 24, who grew up in North Minneapolis, fell in love with skating the moment he
stepped on the ice for the first time.His
first skates cost $5 from the Salvation Army
, and when his
family couldn't afford lessons, his
coach taught him for free. (TYLER McKEAN, Pioneer Press)
arms gracefully and slowly glided across the ice in concentric circles as hip-hop music boomed in the background.
Moments later, he
thrust himself into a triple axel - one of the most difficult jumps in figure skating.He skated toward his coach after a clean landing, joking that he scarfed down two corn dogs right before practice.
The 24-year-old Minneapolis skater is known for his
charismatic style, athletic jumps and flexibility.Few doubt Ward's natural talent.
The question has always been whether he
could hold it together on the ice, whether he
could focus and stay consistent.
Looking to the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center
in January, Ward
a more mature and prepared competitor ready to relaunch his
could do it on his
"This is a starting year," Ward said."I have so much more to offer the sport."
must make it through the Midwestern sectionals meet, which begins today in Rochester Hills, Mich. Ward
joins a host of Minnesota skaters - from novice to senior levels - duking it out with competitors from more than 20 states to nab a spot in St. Paul. He
has competed against the top U.S. men at the national championships in 2002, 2004 and 2006 but missed qualifying for the 2007 championships.
A ticket to nationals is not guaranteed this time, either.
Ward's repertoire includes all of the acrobatic jumps and spins, as well as a dancing ability he
gleaned from five years of intense ballet lessons.His
gracefulness stands in sharp contrast to his
muscular, edgy appearance. Skating cleanly at sectionals this week should be good enough to qualify for Nationals since most of last year's rivals won't be there, said Ward and his longtime coach, Page Lipe.
"I just need to skate clean there," Ward said."And I will.I just need to do it."
But completing perfect short and free programs - which combine for a total of about seven minutes of ice time - is not easy, as Ward
discovered in 2006.
After placing ninth in the short program at the national championships, he
botched nearly every jump in his
free-skate program to finish last.
Commentators touted Ward's immense talent heading into the 2006 competition.They claimed he
could be a wild card during an Olympic year.
The media fixated on Ward's talent, said his
coach and judges, in part because of his
is half-black and half-Puerto Rican; his
curly brown hair is typically braided, and he
often choreographs his
own innovative routines. Ward
grew up in North Minneapolis, where it was more common to play basketball, football and hockey.He
dabbled in hockey but settled on figure skating. His
first step onto the ice was at a community center, where he
would mimic moves from other skaters.
mother has remained Ward's
most ardent fan, even from her
Las Vegas home.
ABC aired an interview after his disastrous 2006 free skate, in which Ward
remained calm and upbeat until the reporter rushed Harris into the room.
turning point came in 2005, after his
personal life started hurting his
stayed out too late partying with friends, skipped morning practices and spent too much money on alcohol and clothes. He
worked with a life coach and studied under Robin Wagner, coach of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, for one season.
The failures may have been a blessing because they taught him the importance of training hard and remaining humble, his
mother said. Ward
developed more dedication for training and worked hard to deal with his
would become distracted at competitions by chatting with anyone around him, focusing on who was watching him and second-guessing himself if he
fell on a jump.
A week before sectionals, Ward
skated in Bloomington before three judges for a skating critique. He
short program to "The Messiah Will Come Again" and landed a quadruple toe loop, a jump only a handful of American men can complete.
-- Rohene Ward
, senior men, Minneapolis
November 9, 2007- WCCO.com Article and Video (Rohene Ward)
..."The things that I tell her, the things that she's going through are the things that I went through when I was younger," said Ward, who is Olson's coach.Ward
is also a competitor.He's
been to the nationals before and plans to be there again this year skating for the hometown crowd.
"I'm ready.I'm prepared, so I've never been this prepared before, so I'm not really concerned about not going," he
"It's always good to hear what they have to say -- good or bad," said Ward
October 9, 2007- Star Tribune Article (Rohene Ward)
It took some falls to ice the title for Rohene Ward
.But when he
was able to get up and continue, both he
coach knew he'd reached a milestone.
Then again, Rohene Ward
rarely does anything in a conventional manner.
The Minneapolis skater had matured in untold ways over the past two years, blossoming into a stronger adult and a more committed athlete.When he
fell twice in a summer workout -- and twice rose and soldiered on -- coach Page Lipe
met him with a hug."You are truly a competitor now," she
said, triggering a realization that still stirs his
would have lost his
composure after a tumble in his
younger days.With a newly evolving mental toughness to buttress his
sky-high jumps and soulful artistry, he
enters the Upper Great Lakes Regional Championships, which open today, feeling like a real competitor at last.That's just in time to begin his
qualifying process for the U.S. championships in St. Paul.
"That was one of the best things I ever heard, because all these years, that's what I've been trying to achieve," said Ward
, 24."When she
said that, I knew it was true.That's why it meant so much.I honestly believed it, and that breakthrough made a huge difference for me."Ward
spent Monday at his
home rink, Parade Ice Garden, preparing for the regionals in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.He
is one of only two senior men competing, meaning he
will advance to the Midwestern Sectionals in November.The top four senior men at Midwesterns will qualify for the national championships in January at Xcel Energy Center
Nearly two years have passed since Ward last skated at the U.S. championships.He
finished 17th in 2006 in a performance that typified his
seduced the audience with his
enormous charisma, but once he
fell in his
free skate, his
focus evaporated and his
love for competition kept him in the sport through years of inconsistency.He'd grown tired of settling for something less than his
full potential.After setting a two-year plan for personal growth, he