Behind Every Great Skater - Megan Faulkner, Tara's coach
Megan Faulkner, Tara's long time and current coach from Houston, TX, has coached Tara for the better part of a decade now, a partnership that began well before Tara's victory at the Olympics in 1998. This interview is the first in our series of exciting articles that we will be bringing you here at TaraFans.com. Megan took the time to share her insights with us on a variety of topics spanning Tara's entire career, from roller skating at age three, to her current professional life.
Steve: When did you first start working with Tara and what could she already do as a skater? Did she show any strengths or weaknesses due to her previous background in roller skating as a child?
Megan:I started working with Tara November of 1991. She could do the axel, double sal and toe, and cheated double flip and lutz. She didn't have a double loop as that is the last jump that roller skaters learn. From roller skating she was a very strong spinner.
Steve: What was Tara's first event under your leadership?
Megan:Skate Dallas in April 1992.
Steve: How often did Tara practice leading up to the Olympics in Nagano? How often does she practice now that she is a professional?
Megan:For her professional engagements, Tara skates about 1-2 hours per day when she is in Houston. When she is out of town it depends on what ice is available with her schedule.
Steve: What about your nerves, and Tara's, going into the short and long programs at the Olympics?
Megan:I learned many years ago that getting nervous was worthless if the skater I was working with had trained well for the competition. Then even if they don't skate well, at least we had done everything possible to get ready and if they did well of course it was because they trained properly.
Steve: Along with Tara's reaction, what thoughts went through your mind as Tara's scores appeared and you realized that she had won the gold medal at the Olympics, becoming the youngest Olympic Gold Medalist in history, and you being her coach?
Megan:I knew after the first set of marks that Tara had won. I had watched Michelle skate and knew her marks, and then that enough of Tara's were better to have her win. Even so, I was still shocked and amazed and thrilled. I think the quote that Christine Brennan had in her book [Edge of Glory] was the best -- it had to do with the Christmas tree at the Galleria that she knew Tara and I had skated around.
Steve: What were your thoughts on Tara turning professional?
Megan:I thought it was a very intelligent decision for someone so young to make. She put so much thought into all the ramifications of her decision and came up with the best situation for her and her family.
Steve: How do you go about selecting music and costumes and how long does it usually take the two of you?
Megan:Every year it has been different and this year Lori Nichols picked out her pieces and Jef Billings will do her costumes again.
Steve: What does Tara like to do when she's not skating?
Megan:Tara enjoys cooking, and shopping most. After she skates she will often go through the Galleria or lately she will check out some of the antique stores for things for her house.
Steve: What specific things are you and Tara currently working on? What new goals do you have, and along with that, what effect has Tara's hip surgery had on her? Does she have all of her jumps back yet and does she still experience pain in any of her jumps or other elements?
Megan:We have been working hard all summer on getting her hip stronger. We didn't know how much we could do on it at the begining so (Tara) did a lot of jump repetitions one day and couldn't jump the next. So that took a couple of weeks and then it was just strength and getting the double loop so we could get the triple for the tour this year. And she did the triple loop this week. So that was our big summer goal! She does still get pain in her hip and soreness but it is getting better.
Steve: Finally, Megan, perhaps one of the most interesting and exciting questions I could ask you. What is it like to be Tara's coach?
Megan:It has been such an incredible experience because we have been together for such a long time. She is such an easy person to work with because she is so dedicated to improving both her skating and herself.
Steve: Thank you very much, Megan, for your time and for this great time we've shared. I know that Tara's fans will enjoy this interview greatly and will find this to be another compliment to this upcoming year.
This interview Copyright © . Steve is President and Founder of TaraFans.com.