Catching Up with Justin Laem
October 2017

Next week aussieSKATES will be sending our very own reporter to cover Team Australia at the ISU Grand Prix Series - Skate Canada International in Regina, Saskatchewan.

We thought it would be fun to do a quick Q & A with Justin Laem, a serious and dedicated YouTube vlogger, and long - time skating enthusiast, based in Seattle, U.S.A. Justin will be in Canada representing aussieSKATES (as well as his own site) during the week - long event.

When and why did you first become interested in competitive skating?

I remember watching figure skating on television when I was around 11 years old. It was so exciting to see Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan compete at the 1998 Olympic Games. I followed the sport casually from that point on whenever a competition was shown on television.

Who are your favourite skaters?

I think a lot of people who follow me on social media know that my favorite skaters are Ashley Wagner, Gabrielle Daleman and Kailani Craine. For the men I am very intrigued with the upcoming skaters Julian Yee, Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou.

Which skaters have you met in person?

There's quite a few to list here surprisingly and I get nervous every single time I get an opportunity to meet them. Some of the most memorable moments were with Ashley Wagner, Gabrielle Daleman and Adam Rippon.

What was the first event or competition you attended in person as a spectator?

I believe my first competition ever was 2010 Skate America in Portland. However I only attended the ladies free skate. My first full competition attended was the 2012 Skate America where Ashley won her first grand prix gold medal.

What has been your most exciting skating - related moment.

Seeing Ashley Wagner win the world silver medal at the 2016 World Championships in Boston. I lost my voice the night of the free program from screaming so loud after Ashley's performance. Otherwise, I am always so happy whenever people come up to me and tell me they watch my videos on youtube. It's great to know that people appreciate hearing what I have to say.

What motivated you to begin your own YouTube video series?

I wanted a way to find a way to join the figure skating fan community because at the time I began my channel, I had no skating fans as friends. I am also a quite a reserved person and am always trying to challenge myself with speaking up more about my opinions and Youtube just seemed like the perfect platform for me. It's been a few years now since my first video and it's completely changed my life as I have made so many friends from around the world who I can talk to about figure skating.

ISU Grand Prix Series - Skate Canada International
Regina, Saskatchewan
October 27 - 29

Twelve ladies, twelve men, eight pairs and ten dance couples will compete for personal bests, podium places, cash prizes, as well as earning points towards a spot in December's ISU Grand Prix Series Final.

aussieSKATES: Figure Skating DownUnder's aim is to also source and post as many of the top competitive performances from the event on our Facebook Page as possible.

Team Australia will be represented in two divisions, with Kailani Craine skating in ladies' singles, and Brendan Kerry skating in men's singles.

So far this season, both athletes have won medals in the prestigious ISU Challenger Series. Kerry took back to back bronze at the Lombardia Trophy and Ondrej Nepela Trophy, while Craine won gold at the Nebelhorn Trophy. With that victory, she also secured Australia an Olympic Winter Games berth in next February's ladies' figure skating division.

Ladies' Event Line - Up
Men's Event Line - Up
Kailani Craine (AUS)
Brendan Kerry (AUS)
Laryn Austman (CAN) Jorik Hendrickx (BEL)
Alaine Chartrand (CAN) Patrick Chan (CAN)
Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) Keegan Messing (CAN)
Laurine Lecavelier (FRA) Nicolas Nadeau (CAN)
Marin Honda (JPN) Michal Brezina (CZE)
Rika Hongo (JPN) Paul Fentz (GER)
Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) Takahito Mura (JPN)
Maria Sotskova (RUS) Shoma Uno (JPN)
Karen Chen (USA) Jun Hwan Cha (KOR)
Courtney Hicks (USA) Alexander Samarin (RUS)
Ashley Wagner (USA) Jason Brown (USA)

Pairs' Event Line - Up
Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford (CAN)
Liubov Ilyushechkina / Dylan Moscovitch (CAN)
Sydney Kolodzeij / Maxime Deschamps (CAN)
Cheng Peng / Yang Jin (CHN)
Vanessa James / Morgan Cipres (FRA)
Aliona Savchenko / Bruno Massot (GER)
Natalia Zabiiako / Alexander Enbert (RUS)
Haven Denney / Brandon Frazier (USA)

Dance Event Line - Up
Carolane Soucisse / Shane Firus (CAN)
Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir (CAN)
Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje (CAN)
Kavita Lorenz / Joti Polizoakis (GER)
Natalia Kaliszek / Maksym Spodyriev (POL)
Alla Loboda / Pavel Drozd (RUS)
Olivia Smart / Adria Diaz (ESP)
Alisa Agafonova / Alper Ucar (TUR)
Kaitlin Hawayek / Jean - Luc Baker (USA)
Madison Hubbell / Zachary Donohue (USA)

Our Medal Picks    
Men Japan Shoma Uno
  Canada Patrick Chan
  USA Jason Brown
Ladies Russia Maria Sotskova
  Canada Kaetlyn Osmond
  USA Ashley Wagner
Pairs Germany Aliona Savchenko / Bruno Massot
  France Vanessa James / Morgan Cipres
  Canada Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford
Dance Canada Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
  Canada Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje
  USA Madison Hubbell / Zachary Donohue

Here are some quick reference links to check out:

Justin Laem's YouTube Channel
Justin Laem's Skate Canada International VLOG
Justin Laem's Mixed Zone Interview With Brendan Kerry at Skate Canada
Justin Laem's Mixed Zone Interview With Kailani Craine at Skate Canada
ISU Grand Prix Series - Skate Canada International - Event Overview

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Catching Up with Tiffany Langston
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Catching Up with Justin Laem
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Catching Up with Sheryl Everson
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Catching Up with Andy Schell
February 2012

Catching Up with Jennifer Comeaux
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Catching Up with Burton Powley
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Catching Up with Peter Crameri
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Catching Up with Heidi Beyer
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