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I took my Adult Bronze Freestyle test this week… and I failed. Auuuuugh.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this, starting with disappointment, of course. The strange thing is that when I had heard I had failed, I was bummed but not upset, and willing to accept the setback. But then I read over the judges’ score sheets and comments with my coach, and then that started to make me angry. Maybe angry is too strong a word. Indignant? Which is mild compared to my coach, who was practically spitting mad on my behalf. My second coach was also there and shook her head at the marks, telling me she didn’t get it either.

Backing up, the skate: I skated the same program I had competed with at pre-bronze level, with the elements changed to fit the requirements. Toe loop, salchow, backspin, loop, waltz-toe combo, sit spin. I’ve become a stronger skater since I competed AND the elements were easier for the bronze test so I actually felt really good about the program.

I hit all my jumps — I can do them better in practice, but I was solid and had good landings. The backspin was the element I was most worried about, especially since being nervous tends to make me put my free leg down early on the exit. But I hit my backspin, got in my required revolutions, and exited cleanly on one foot. Last was my sit spin, which is a solid spin for me. I was tentative on the entry edge so I didn’t get as low as I am capable of getting, but I made sure to get at least my three revs in my crouch position before coming up and exiting.

So I hit all my elements, made no mistakes, and they didn’t ask for anything to be reskated. In my head, I was expecting that to equal a pass, and so was my coach. In fact, while we were waiting for scores, we started talking about the competitions I wanted to do at bronze this year and putting together a new program.

I therefore didn’t expect to have skated a good skate and be told it wasn’t good enough. Not as an adult skater, not at bronze level. Maybe that was my fault for having lower standards, but I was therefore really bummed that not only did I not pass, it hadn’t even been close enough to merit a reskate. Ouch.

(Passing average is 2.5, passing total 5.0.)

Judge 1: PASS
Technical Merit: 2.5. All elements skated. Work on sit sp position as well as [unreadable]
Presentation: 2.5. Good.
Total: 5.0

Judge 2: RETRY
Technical Merit: 2.4. Jumps tentative, spins weak, not “sit” in sit spin
Presentation: 2.4. Tango music didn’t relate to skate.
Total: 4.8

Judge 3: RETRY
Technical Merit: 2.3. [Checked off all elements skated]
Presentation: 2.4. Nice music interpretation. More [something], speed + power needed.
Total: 4.7

I agree with most of the comments, actually, in that yes, I do want more speed and power and I would love my sit spin to be lower. (That tango music comment sort of pisses me off, though. You’re going to hold tango music interpretation against a 30-something adult skater? Yeesh.) On the other hand, I don’t think the reasons cited should have held me back from passing, given that I did them all, landed my jumps, and got the required spin revolutions in. I’m not arrogant about my skating at all (how could I be, at my low level??) but I really did think I was on par with bronze adult skating standards. I have watched so many adult programs and passing tests on youtube, and I regularly video myself — I didn’t think I was THAT far off. So it’s both discouraging and confusing.

My coaches said that it could be that the testing order had me skating after two pre-juv skaters, and the judges had their mindsets in that mode. Or that because I don’t LOOK like an adult (I am clearly an adult, but not yet middle aged?), they judged me to the “kid standard.”

In any case, all I can do is practice harder to make sure that the next time I can pass, kid standard or not, harsh judging or not. My problem is that I can’t make the next test session so I may not be able to test until May or June, and I really don’t want to be practicing this program for the next five months. I’m considering putting together a new program with my coach that I can work on for competitions this summer, and then test with the new program. I’ll have to see how that goes.