“As I was watching the events, I just wanted to go out there and be that good some day. Performing in the gala, it was definitely different because it was my first time in front of such a big crowd. I was only 13 so I was quite nervous, but also having the crowd supporting me felt really good. And I kind of realised, oh, this is really nice kind of experience that I want to have in the future.”
Ten years ago Graham Newberry watched on at the European Figure Skating Championships in Sheffield. Next week he will be just over the road from the rink that hosted that event, skating in his first Senior Grand Prix.
“I'm really excited to have the Grand Prix on home soil, it adda a little bit of pressure, because you want to do well for the whole crowd.”
That home crowd will play a big part for the skater who picked up his third British Championship title last December. He admits that he’s always loved being part of a big audience.
“All my best competition experiences have had the crowd there supporting you, it’s really something if you have a good performance, and you have the crowd there, and they're cheering for you, it just feels really, really good.”
The Men are in action on the opening day of the MK John Wilson Trophy, with the Short Program due to start at 19:25. The field includes 2022 ISU European silver medallist Daniel Grass, 2022 ISU European bronze medallist Deniss Vasiljevs.
Ahead of that Graham will be focussing on “putting myself in a spot where I feel confident that I can go out there and do my job, the way I need to do it.”
“So I run lots of programmes making sure that I'm fixing little details that maybe don't feel quite right. And then just kind of visualising and just kind of feel what you're going to feel on a day.”
The fact that such a prestigious event is being held in the UK can help play a part in inspiring future generations of skaters, something that the 24-year-old is acutely aware of.
“When I was 13, I went to the Europeans in Sheffield and skated in the gala there and that for me was a life changing experience to be able to watch the top skaters in the world and to see them up close. I think it's important, especially the younger kids, it's something to work for, I'm hoping that a lot of younger kids are going to walk away feeling inspired.”
"My message for any of the young skaters that are coming to watch, try and just take everything in. And if you can watch practices, watch practices, because these people work really, really hard.
And everyone is really driven, consistent. We all work as hard as we can. And I think those are the keys to succeeding in sports, the consistency and the drive every day to do your best. Also, you have to enjoy it. I get up, I go to the rink and you know, you have days where you don't feel like doing it, but I'd say the majority of days I have a mission and I want to go out there and perform my mission.”
You can watch Graham live in Sheffield, tickets are still available to buy for the first-ever ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating to take place in the UK. Simply click here to buy yours!