Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje
Interview at the World Team Trophy 2013 in Tokyo, Japan
Weaver and Andrew Poje had a rough season with being sidelined by
injury from December until Worlds. The Canadian team came back strong to
finish 5th at the World Championships in their home country.
Q: First let’s have a little recap of the season that had quite a few ups and downs for you.
Yes. When we set out our plan at the beginning of the season we didn’t
imagine all the little bumps on the way. But I think it made us a better
team throughout the whole year, because we’ve gone through all this in
such a short time and it prepared us for the future. It shows the
strength that we have together as a couple and as individuals, because
Kaitlyn to get back after her injury was such an amazing thing. I think
it has proved our determination.
We’ve learned so much. Usually our season is filled with a lot of
lessons. We’ve gone through a lot together as a team, but this one
especially is one that we thought when we set out this season we didn’t
have the greatest start and to have the injury happen we were are a
pretty bummed for a little bit, but we’ve learned so much, mostly – take
nothing for granted. When I came back, to have the opportunity to skate
again and finish this season was such an incredible gift. That’s
something I think we really appreciated as an experience.
Q: What exactly happened when you got injured on December 18?
We were warming up just as any normal morning and we were doing back
cross-overs in a circle and I slipped somehow. My boot hit the ice and
slid feet first into the boards and when I hit …. We were going so fast,
the impact broke my fibula. There was really nothing we could have
done. Andrew tried to hold me, but our gloves came off, that’s how much
power we have.
Q: Did you know right away you had broken something?
No, I didn’t know! No one breaks their ankle skating. It was such a
weird thing. I tried to walk on it and that didn’t work and we went to
get an x-ray, because it was really swollen. I thought, there is no way,
maybe I just .. . it’s unfortunate, I’ll probably have to take a couple
of weeks off, maybe some (time) before Nationals. These were the things
that were going through my head. And then when the doctor told me I
broke my fibula and it was displaced and I was likely to have surgery,
it was so shocking. It was very sad for me. Not so much for the season,
but just not being able to skate. It’s part of our lives. It’s what we
do and what we love to do. That was really scary to not know how things
were going to go and then after we realized that – not long, maybe
within a couple of hours - we realized that it wouldn’t help us to feel
bad ourselves, be depressed. We had to start to think positive, thinking
of all the things I could do to make it better and to make it faster. I
kept the same mentality the whole eight weeks. I think that’s half the
reason why we were able to do it, because we had such strong
Q: I heard you were much ahead of schedule in your recovery.
Very much. My recovery was probably four weeks faster. When I asked the
surgeon, I asked so many surgeons, doctors, everybody, ‘do you think I
can make it back for Worlds?’ – ‘When are Worlds?’ – ‘March’ – ‘This
year?’ I was like, ‘yes’, and they were like, mhm, no. They said, you’ll
be on the ice but you won’t be any good. That was what they were
telling me. I was thinking, I’ll try. I’ll just try. I have to do this
rehab anyway, regardless of what competition we make it back for. If I
want to make it back, I have to do this very diligently. And so half
time almost made it more important in the fact that every moment was
very efficient, very scheduled. My physiotherapist was incredible. She
gave me a schedule from morning to night every single day. I was busy
all through the day when I was doing after I had got my stitches out and
do rehab. It was a full-time job. I think that with that determination
and that ability to have the time to devote to it was very, very
valuable. We shocked everybody. The doctors were like, there is now way,
we can’t believe it. That was pretty cool.
Q: When did you get back on the ice?
February 7, I stepped foot on the ice. Obviously I lost all my muscle
from my hip all the way down. It was very, very strange to skate with
one leg normal and one leg weak, very weak. It was probably a couple of
weeks until we were able to skate, even to be able to start doing
programs even like to be able to do the steps of the program. And so I’d
say training-wise had two and a half weeks of attempted run-throughs.
Q: What did you do while Kaitlyn was off the ice?
While she was doing her recovery job I was just trying to ensure that
I’d be in the best shape possible to help her when she got on to the
ice. I knew when she got on the ice her leg wouldn’t be as strong as it
was. So I needed to do anything I could to help that. I was back in
Detroit skating every day, ensuring that I improved as much as I could
and kept the momentum going so that when she gets on the ice we just can
be together as quick as possible. A lot of solo polkas.
Kaitlyn: He sent me videos of him and Anjelika (Krylova, coach) doing Polka and footwork and stuff.
Q: So you were in Canada.
Yes. It was also very difficult, because we spend so much time together
and my best opportunity for rehab was in Toronto.
Andrew: And my best opportunity to skate was in Detroit.
So it was very weird to be apart from him and also from our group and
from Pasquale (Camerlengo, coach). So Pasquale made me promise I’d send
them a picture every single day of my progress, of what I was doing and
so now we have like 50, 60 pictures of showing every day and how much I
got better. It’s cool. That at least helped us to stay a little bit more
up to date.
Q: You got a lot of support then from everybody around you.
Yes, unbelievable support. We went to Canadian Nationals in January,
because it was in Mississauga, which is very close to Toronto. I was
still on crutches at that time. We went to do some media stuff, but that
support from the Canadian audience was incredible. It made me feel so
good and helped me stay motivated and know that there are people behind
us all the way no matter what the outcome.
Q: Your training mates, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, were in a similar situation. How did you support each other?
I think there was one thing that was good for us to be in the same
situation. I think we both knew how hard it was. We kind of supported
each other throughout the process and tried to help each other to get
through that difficult time. Obviously we had different situations, but
it was definitely nice to be in a similar situation with people that are
trying to go for the same opportunities as we.
We knew exactly what the other person was going through. Whether it was
attempted run-throughs or not being able to skate on the session the
whole time, it was nice to have them there and hopefully vice versa just
to have someone to share the experience with. Even though it was a
horrible … not horrible, but obviously not the most ideal (experience).
It was good for both of us.
You made it back to Worlds and it was very successful. Can you recall
how you felt competing at Worlds in Canada and doing so well?
It is so hard even to describe what it was like. Once we got there
though we kind of forgot about everything. I was having treatment every
day, but we forgot the lack of run throughs. It wasn’t about the number
of things we had done or the amount of hours we’ve been on, how many
days I had skated. It was just the fact that we had made it there and
once we were in London, we were like, we officially did it. We didn’t
believe it until we were there in the hotel, ready to skate.
Q: Right, there were rumours until the last minute that you’d withdraw.
We even didn’t know. Mike Slipchuk came the week before and gave the
official okay. He was able to tell the board (of Skate Canada) they’re
ready to go. It was days before we had to leave. But it was so
incredible, every step we took, we felt like we were so joyful. I think
that’s only an experience we could get from having that taken away,
having that dream of skating at home at World possible not be able to
come true. And so to be there and to imagine that’s the exact moment
that we’ve been dreaming of this whole rehab was incredible. We created
our own reality. And to do our programs (so well), we were even shocked.
We were like, did that just happen, did we just do that? Those were two
of the best run throughs we’ve done all year. It was just so
exhilarating. Every day got better than the last and it was incredible,
something I’ll never ever forget.
Q: For you it was even almost in front of your doorstep, very close to your hometown of Waterloo.
It was very close to our hometown and I think that was one thing that
definitely made it a lot more special, being in the rink and seeing
friends and family around the rink just supporting you and being in that
atmosphere with an amazing crowd. The crowd was just electric and that
just helped us through the experience and we enjoyed the experience that
And they knew what we had been through, so we feel like we shared that
moment with them. They were there with us. Even on the practices the
audience was packed, you know, every day was so exciting.
Q: Now you had the World Team Trophy for the first time. How do you feel about it?
It definitely is a different experience and a different feeling about
the competition. It’s cool. I’m very glad that we got the opportunity to
be a part of this and to enjoy the experience of being part of a team
event as opposed to an individual event, because it is definitely a
I think it is really great practice going into the next year. It is not
often that you do a competition that you’d never done before. We’re
getting used to doing Grand Prix, Nationals, Four Continents, Worlds,
and then to be like, what to expect? It was different. It’s so much fun.
We always dreamed about doing this event, but we never were given the
opportunity, there’s only one dance team and of course Tessa and Scott
have been doing it the past two years. So it was so exciting especially
this season for us to get out again, give our programs one more time to
be performed. It was the perfect cap to the season, maybe we didn’t
skate the best technically whatever, but we have enjoyed ourselves so
much. I think that’s something we can take away from this and not
remember necessarily the result.
Do you think events like the World Team Trophy are the future of figure
skating? Is this a new direction the sport should take?
I think the team event is a good idea. It brings a different panache to
the sport and I feel like it’s good for figure skating. I think it
brings excitement and interest from different audience members as well.
I think anything new is good. I think this is also more relatable in
terms of broader sport field, there is the relay in speed skating, there
is team pursuit, in swimming all these things that make skating a
little bit more well rounded in that sense. I wouldn’t go to this
instead of what we have, but I think it’s really cool to have different
options and some different facets of our sport. And we had a ball. Just
being out there and rooting everyone on, because we don’t get that
opportunity during normal competitions. Usually we stay focused on
ourselves and you don’t want to stay out late, but this is an
opportunity for us to really become a member of the team and the
audience even. It’s been a lot of fun.
Q: For sure then you hope to be a part of the team event in Sotchi.
Kaitlyn: Of course.
Q: Some people are a bit wary, thinking it might be too much.
We have experience, and I also think any opportunity for us to get out
on the ice in Sotchi the more the better. We didn’t do the Grand Prix
Final this year and also we’ve done like the qualifying event at Worlds
and that proved very successful for us. It’s just time to get out there.
It’s enough time in between the two events, so it doesn’t affect the
single events. I think it’s great to be exposed to the atmosphere
beforehand so you can get used to it.
I think in dance it is a week, so it is the perfect amount of time to
do it and come down. I like the idea also the way you could trade
someone in so that it is not one team has to do both.
Q: You said each season is a learning experience. How you feel you have grown as persons in this year?
It’s amazing I think that our first World Championship was in the same
arena (in fact it was in another arena in Tokyo, T.F.) and to see how
far we’ve come since that, how we’ve grown as people, not just as
skaters, but as people is just amazing. I think it’s a testament to the
sport and the experiences that we’ve gained throughout our career. It
shows that we’ve come through adversity and that we kind of become
better people from it.
I think that our career is kind of (being) underdogs, we’ve been the
fighters always battling to get what we want. But we’ve done it, we’ve
never given up. I feel like every bad thing has turned into a good thing
and this season especially we learned why we do this, why do we want
keep doing this, it’s because it makes us happy. The feeling of sharing
something together, travelling the world, having that feeling of
accomplishment, having so many people support you, that’s what we live
for, that moment on the ice we know everything you’ve worked for is
appreciated. I think that we’ve grown so much coming from Worlds in 2007
to now, we’ve become professionals and it’s cool to go from the babies
to… I wouldn’t say the veterans, not yet – just to the top group at
Worlds. That’s exactly what we’ve wanted for ourselves. I wouldn’t trade
our journey for the world, even though maybe it’s been different than
everyone else’s, it’s really taught us so much. We feel like we’ve maybe
shown an example to other people. That’s really the ultimate gift you
can get is inspiring others.
Q: What’s next now for you?
I’m going right home and having surgery to take my plate and screws out
because it’s really not the most comfortable thing in my life. The
doctor said April is the earliest you can have it out and so I said,
okay, April it is. I don’t want to deal with this for a whole other
year. It’s really been not the best way to train. It’s extremely
uncomfortable (when I train). The boot has so much friction against the
screws and they are right underneath the skin and so we had to develop a
way so pad it, make sure that there is not anything touching my skin
where the screws are. That took a long time to figure it out. Either
way, we figured it out, we’re able to train, we’re able to do it, we
competed. But this is it. No more! And then probably we come back to the
ice and do some choreography.
Q: How long do you need to recover from the surgery?
It is hard to say. It is always hard to predict how long rehab will
take. For me, I think mine will be quicker than normal (laughs), but
we’re anticipating probably around four weeks or so before I’m back on
the ice being able to be normal again. So it’s a lot quicker than the
last one. And no more crutches. So we’ll get back on the ice probably,
do some choreography, get going a little bit and then take a break,
because we definitely need a mental break from this even though we had
the two months gap in our season. But it’s time that we can relax a
little bit, think of something else and start fresh.
Q: What are your plans for vacation? Where do you want to go?
Kaitlyn: I don’t know!
Andrew: Somewhere warm.
Between Worlds and here and now going home and preparing everything
gets to exciting, but we haven’t planned that yet. We’re kind of last
minute people, so we could decide in three days, Mexico! We haven’t
really decided yet, but somewhere warm, that’s for sure.
Q: But you go together?
Usually, yes. We have our group of friends is very tight. The past two
years we’ve gone with a little group from the Detroit Skating Club. It’s
so much fun. You work so hard together and then you’re able to relax.
We come from all over the world and we won’t necessarily be able to stay
like this forever. So we really try to appreciate the moment as we have
it. They are really our friends; that’s a very unique feel at Detroit
Q: Now Patrick Chan has joined you. He made comments about how he appreciated the atmosphere at Detroit Skating Club.
Kaitlyn: It’s a very productive, very fruitful atmosphere.
Q: Do you have any ideas, dreams of programs you would like to do next season?
I usually take it a season at a time. Since the season wasn’t
completed, I haven’t really thought about next year’s programs, but
Kaitlyn doesn’t like to let her brain rest, so she…
Of course you dream, it’s your little world. You hear music and you
think, oh, that would be a good music. I got a file of all music to
Q: For the next 100 years.
I’m like a big skating fan. When I got hurt, I started listening,
because we didn’t think there would be more of the season. I was like,
we could start on next year. There were two parts of the brain, next
year and this year. So we definitely have some ideas. I think it’s
necessary to really think of it in advance. We started this season kind
of late last year, so we got some ideas and now we have the time to
think about those and thinking that through, because it is very, very
important what we choose.
Q: But it is usually you that suggest something?
Usually we try to bring our own ideas so that we’re invested
emotionally into it, but a lot of times we get some directions from
coaches as well, but initial ideas usually come from either of us.
Yes, it depends on the year, some that we’ve brought, some Pasquale,
some Shae-Lynn (Bourne) has. Shae-Lynn is still very much involved in
that aspect, decision making and planning. It really depends. Everybody
kind looks at it as a group and the best music wins.
Q: I remember last year, a fan suggested the free dance music to you.
Yes, a fan suggested “Je suis malade” anonymously. He revealed himself
halfway through the year. He still actually sends us a lot of music
suggestions. He is a really, really great guy, but I don’t know how
often that’s ever happened that you get an idea from a fan, but it was
perfect for us last year.
Q: This year’s program was beautiful as well, with a different kind of emotion.
Kaitlyn: This is what we like to do, we like to push our boundaries, especially before next year. See what we can pull off.
Q: Now the focus is obviously on Sotchi and on being on the Olympic team. But what are your plans beyond Sotchi?
We usually sit down and talk about it for a year at a time. We haven’t
thought about past next season. We’ll sit down and figure that out I
think when it comes to that point. I think we have our own thoughts of
what we want to do, but haven’t really sat down and figured out exactly
We don’t like to get too far ahead of ourselves. I think that we
definitely haven’t reached our peak yet and we’re still on the rise.
We’re young-ish, I just had my (24 th ) birthday… There are so many youngsters coming up. We haven’t decided, but we don’t want to cut off our potential.
Q: Where do you see your strength as a couple?
I think one of our good strength is throughout connection both mentally
and emotionally, I think. Because we’re such great friends, we can get
along with each other so that we can train well, because we have so much
fun together. But also it shows in our skating, because we can
emotionally invest in each other and I think it comes across to the
Each program we have to tell a story. I think that’s a bit of an acting
component. I like that about us, it helps to make our skating
memorable. We may not be the fastest, we may not be the deepest or
cleanest or whatever, but in recent seasons people remember us by how we
made them feel. I think that’s very valuable and I’d rather take that
over doing the cleanest footwork in the world or whatever. Of course we
want to do both! That I think is our strength and I think we can only
grow on that as well.
Q: Where do you see your weakness?
I think one thing that we’ve had trouble with that season was through
consistency of our levels. So that’s one thing we’re definitely going to
address through the summer months to ensure that we have the strength
in our elements to perform them at all times, because there has been
some ups and downs with that. That’s one thing we need to work on.
I’ll be doing stroking exercises for the next six months for sure, just
to build up the technical aspect, because when you have that everything
that you add on top of it can be more comfortable and more visible,
because (a) great technical base is so important. We’ve grown
technically each year, but it’s going to be very important when
everything is so detailed and the points that separate third place and
fifth place is so small. You cannot leave any points on the table. We’ve
grown a lot to increase our component mark, but we have to make sure
that our technical mark is so consistent. That’s where we lost a few
places this year, but again, it’s the learning experience and knowing
what’s best for us and be a little bit more mathematical.
Some people complain that ice dance because of that focus on technique
is losing it’s attractiveness. How do you feel about that?
There is always give and take with the new system. It’s brought a lot
of accountability to the skaters so that we have something to come back
to with our technical aspect, but I think we still have freedom in
emotions. It’s making skaters and choreographers become even more
intricate in their thoughts so that we can push the boundaries of our
I think that generally it’s more technical for sure, it’s a bit more
complicated, but I think that is what separates the best teams, the good
teams from the great teams is the ability for the audience to forget
that they’re even doing required elements and become so lost in the
program and I think that’s something you can see with Tessa and Scott.
That’s something I’ve always loved about them since they were juniors.
I’ve loved them for a long time. That’s something to work towards and I
think they have the best balance of that. I think it’s a great way to
separate teams. It makes you become more creative and maybe we don’t
have the freedom that we’re used to. But I think when you do create
something special within the system it’s more valued and people can
appreciate something that’s really hits the mark of both aspects of
Q: If Kaitlyn goes to an isolated island and she can take three things, what does she take?
Andrew: Her cell phone…
Andrew: Her bed and…the zombie juice.
It’s a smoothie with green so everyone at the rink calls it zombie
juice. I changed my diet a bit after the injury trying to get really fit
really fast. It’s like spinach and protein and grapes and apples and
there is a million different things in there. But I wouldn’t bring that
to an isolated island.
Q: So you don’t quite agree with what he picked. What does he take?
He would take… this is hard. He would think practically. He would take
food and music like i-pod or some sort of music. He would take something
to do with cars, either his car – I don’t know if that counts as a
thing you can take to an isolated island, but he loves cars and building
things. He has that engineer mind. He’d probably like it, no one to
bother him while he does his car thing and builds motors and stuff like
Q: Do you agree?
Kaitlyn: Maybe your helicopter thing? He has a remote helicopter that he loves. Or he’d take Patrick Chan. He might do that.
Andrew: That would be fun.
Q: Thank you very much for the interview and all the best for the summer and next season.