Interview With Samantha Cabiles

With the success of skaters like Christopher Caluza, Michael Christian Martinez and Melissa Bulanhagui, it's only quite recently that figure skating has put The Philippines on the proverbial map. Among the country's stars of tomorrow is the current Filipino junior ladies champion Samantha Cabiles, a confident and ambitious young Hawaii born skater with a promising future in the sport. It was my pleasure to talk with her about her career to date, future goals and aspirations, focuses in training and much more in this great interview:

Q: After your first taste of high level competitive skating in watching the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, you took to the ice and by 2012, earned the bronze medal on the junior level at the Filipino National Championships. You've represented The Philippines internationally on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit and other international junior events including the Cup Of Nice and Triglav Trophy. Most recently, you won the Filipino junior title in Manila this past November. What are your proudest moments so far as a competitor?

A: Winning the junior title at Philippine Nationals was a definite highlight since I am still working on catching up to my contemporaries who have been skating many more years than me. This October at the Cup of Nice I skated two clean programs and it was an incredible feeling to accomplish this. It boosted my confidence in a big way!

Q: What are your focuses in training and going forward, what improvements do you most want to focus on in your skating?
A: My current focus is getting my triples consistently in the performances of my programs in competitions. Also, I am working on triple axel in the harness right now and I have to say because I am such a powerful jumper it feels easier to me than the triples if that makes sense.

Q: What is your ultimate goal as a skater and how do you hope to achieve it? 
A: My ultimate goal within these next three years to make it to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea with a triple axel and a quad in my routines.

Q: Skating in The Philippines has received a lot more attention in recent years with the international success of skaters like Christopher Caluza and Michael Christian Martinez. Being born in Hawaii, how did your decision to compete for The Philippines come about and do you see the popularity of skating there growing since you started?

A: Well, I never thought about figure skating until I moved to Michigan in 2005, I had actually never skated in Hawaii because there was no ice rink on the island I was raised on. With that said, once I started skating in a learn to skate program at the local rink in Michigan (a couple of months before I turned eleven years old) I knew 'this is what I want to do with my life'. The decision to skate for the Philippines was an easy one, I am half Filipino and I am proud of my heritage and thought it would be great way to honour my country. For the past three years I have noticed more young skaters at the Nationals competition, not only more interest from them but their skill level has improved tremendously.

Q: What’s your favourite jump and favourite spin - and least favourite?
A: My favourite jump is the axel, I love my double axel and I am really enjoying working on the triple axel. My least favorite jump is the salchow. It's a tricky jump and really requires perfect technique. I am working on a triple salchow/half loop/triple salchow and that's going well. My favourite spin is the flying sit (anything that has to do with jumping I love) my least favourite is the flying camel, I am working on not being so wild with my landing into it.

Q: What’s one thing most people don't know about you?
A: I love acting and love incorporating my expressive style in everything I do. Also, I can sing and talk with my mouth closed.

Q: Who are your three favourite skaters of all time and why?
A: I really love the men because they do the big jumps. My two favourites are Daisuke Takahashi, for his artistry and Yuzuru Hanyu, for his technique, Yuna Kim for her solid confidence and performance and of course Michelle Kwan, I don't think there has been another skater besides Katarina Witt who could captivate an audience and bring them along with them during their performances

Q: What do you love more than anything about skating? 
A: I love the ability to play many different characters and the feeling of sheer freedom to express myself.

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