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Another Lee PB would see coach on ice

25 February 2010

Most coaches would be delighted, ecstatic and over the moon if their athletes performed a second personal best at the Olympic Games, but for Kylie Fennell, the coach of figure skater Cheltzie Lee a second ‘PB’ will come with mixed emotions.

And in the true Australian tradition, it involves a bet.

Following a training session leading into her performance in the short program, Lee was asked by Australian medical staff to take an ice bath to relax her muscles and help her recover from her program.

Most athletes complain about an ice bath at the best of times, but when you are in the middle of a North American winter, the complaints reach a whole new level.

So, during Lee’s protest, Fennell came up with a plan that she might live to regret.

“I said to Cheltzie that if she performs two personal bests at these Games then I would take an ice bath,” Fennell laughed.

“It stopped her complaining and I thought she might forget about it but I was very wrong,” she added.

Fennell revealed that following the euphoria of Lee’s performance in the short program on Tuesday night (Vancouver time) with a personal best score of 52.16, one of the first things the young star said to her was ‘one more and you take an ice bath’.

Fennell and Lee are both still on an amazing high since that performance, which many have argued has been the single greatest performance by an Australian figure skater, but they both know there is more work to be done.

Lee will enter the free program on Thursday night in 18th position, a remarkable achievement considering she only qualified for the 30th place in the field as the third alternate skater.

Her performance to “Feeling Good” wowed the locals and impressed many international observers – so much so that American broadcaster opened their coverage with a replay of the young Australian's routine.

The free routine will be different – both in look and sound.

Lee will perform to music from the film “Elizabeth – The Golden Age” and her blue and black costume will be replaced by maroon and burgundy.

Fennell has no doubts that Lee can cope with the added pressure of competing in the free program after such a successful performance in the short program.

“Cheltzie is a very determined girl and despite the fact she only just got into these Olympic Games, she has worked really hard,” Fennell said.

“She was naturally very excited with what she did on Tuesday but that’s not to say she’s happy to leave it there – she wants to go out and nail a second performance and show the world she belongs here,” Fennell added.

Even if it means an ice bath for the coach?

“Especially that. She will get so much pleasure from seeing and hearing me moan – but if it means she has done a second personal best then I hope I don’t feel a thing,” Fennell said.

Damian Kelly
AOC - Vancouver

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