For the last few years, Amber Corwin has been a familiar face in the skating world, but she's been seen more often in advertisements for skating apparel than in the final group of televised skating events. But after a silver medal at the inaugural Four Continents Championships in Canada, that may be about to change. "I found out that I was entered about a week before the event. I really needed to redeem myself after Nationals and it was a good way to end the season," Corwin stated. "The Grand Prix competitions were a lot different than the ones I had done before, but I think I'm very competitive with the other top girls right now. I feel really good about my skating, but I just need to stay focused."
The willowy blonde has been stuck in the sixth place spot at U. S. Nationals for the past four years, with the exception of 1997, when she finished fifth. "The first time I was sixth, I was really excited to make the international team. I moved up from 16th the year before. But I haven't been consistent enough in both programs to move up. I've had strong shorts and then gotten too cautious in the long. I just have to go out and do what I do in practice every day." "Amber's really made a lot of improvement in her consistency this year," noted coach Scott Wendland. "We've been working pretty hard on that. Her maturity and style have improved a lot and we want to keep developing her maturity on ice, plus add more technical difficulty for next season."
Corwin throws a triple toe/triple toe combination in both her programs, plus a triple salchow/double toe and a triple flip/double toe but is working to upgrade to a triple lutz/triple toe and a triple toe/triple loop for next season. She's also working on a quad toe, something none of the ladies has ever landed. "The triple toe is my best jump," she explained. "I can spin really quickly on it. I sprained an ankle working on a triple axel once so I think I'll skip that."
The 21-year-old native California girl is a singles skater because she likes the jumps and loves having the attention. "I like to watch dance but I don't do any dance because I don't like figures," she explained. "I was always awkward in figures. But I love pairs and have been trying to get Scott to make a comeback. We've done side by side triple lutzes and a throw triple salchow, just playing around."
Corwin plans to stay eligible for the Olympics in 2002 and plans to "definitely go on to the pros. I want to be wherever there's a big crowd. But I have to stay and be a success as an amateur before I can go pro." Meanwhile, she's taking a full load of classes at California State University in Long Beach to prepare for life after skating. "I study on the plane a lot," Amber stated. "I plan to work in communications or fashion. I love clothes and music and I'd love to continue as a model. I watch the fashion channel all the time. Maybe I can find something that combines fashion and music." Amber has walked the runway at small fashion shows at school and models skating dresses for the Elite Sportswear catalog. "That happened purely by chance," Amber explained. "I was putting up the names at the draw ceremony at Junior Olympics in Anaheim, California and the company president saw me and liked my look. It's great because I get free dresses and more exposure."
Ambuler, as Corwin is known by her friends, came by her athletic talent naturally. Her grandfather was a nationally ranked gymnast and her father is an accomplished surfer. She began skating at five after her father took her to a family fun night of skating at school. Afterwards, she begged for lessons and took group lessons once a week until she began competing at age 6 or 7. "I did gymnastics, ballet and soccer from kindergarten through fifth grade, before skating became my life. I was good on the beam and loved doing cartwheels. I also ran track in school. I ran the mile a lot," Amber noted. "I came back to ballet again when I was 14 and I'm taking classes three times a week now to improve my fluidity on ice. She skates about three hours on ice and does an hour off ice training six days a week.
Amber trained with Scott Williams and Charlene Wong for several years, but switched to Wendland three years ago. "I've always had wonderful coaches," she said, "but Scott and Charlene had a lot of other professional skating opportunities and they recommended Scott Wendland. It's worked out really well." Cindy Stuart choreographs Amber's programs. "I love to skate to jazz and New Age, not classical music," Amber continued, "but the judges like classical. We picked Gershwin this year because it's the jazziest classical you can find. It was a good choice because it's both classical and modern." She used "Rhapsody in Blue" for the free skate, then went with jazzman Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" for the technical. "We'll change both programs for next year," she continued, "but don't have the music picked out yet."
Amber's got a big music collection to pick from when she decides. "I have a music obsession," she laughed. " I buy a couple of CD's every week. Some of my favorites include dance music and female vocalists." She also enjoys hanging out with friends, going dancing and to movies, shopping, and playing with her dogs, Sierra and Lassie. She likes to sing and once wanted to be a rock and roll star. Her off ice athletic pursuits include boogie boarding, rollerblading and beach volleyball. She plans to go on vacation to Club Med or to Vienna this summer. "I worked hard this year and I deserve a break," she said. "Vienna is my favorite city in the world and I have good memories from my competitions there.
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