In the days following the world championships, Kirsten Moore-Towers began to think about her future.
She dug deep for the answers.
She and pair partner Dylan Moscovitch had spoken about committing to another four years, for one more Olympics. But Moore-Towers, still only 21, began to feel that she wanted to do two more, when her partner would be 37 years old. And what that meant was mind-crushing. If she wanted to do two more Olympics, she felt it would be in her best interests to start with somebody new right now.
“It was quite difficult, especially since Dylan and I had a great relationship,” she said of the decision to end a partnership that had taken them to the top echelons of the sport (third in the free skate at the world championships). “I think with the eight years difference, we’re at a very different place in our lives.
“We grew differently. We started when I was 16, and Dylan was 24, and certainly I knew that I grew up a great deal within our partnership. And I definitely have Dylan to thank for a big part of that. He really did help me to become the person that I am. I personally feel that I am still growing.
“But I didn’t think that the longevity of Dylan and I made any sense any more. I thought that I wanted to have an opportunity to start with someone new.”
She had come home from the world championships in Japan feeling positive. She wanted to continue with Moscovitch, she said. “We had said in sort of the heat of the moment that at the Olympics we wanted to keep going for another four years.”
But then it came time to plan for the coming year, get programs together, have the pre-season chat with the coaches. She made the decision to leave the partnership entirely on her own, she said. She knows she took people by surprise. Coaches Kristy and Kris Wirtz didn’t know about it. Their choreographer didn’t know. Moore-Towers spoke with her parents about it and some of her friends. “I really felt strongly that it was a good decision for myself,” she said. “And I haven’t regretted it since.”
She’s already had a couple of tryouts, and skated with them a couple of times. “Both of them have been very, very good,” she said. “I think I have a couple of good options.”
She just has to make sure that the partner agrees to skate with her, she said. “It’s not all my decision.” And she’ll have to consult with coaches Kristy and Kris Wirtz to get their take on the future of the partnership. “It’s not always about the skating,” Moore-Towers said. “Obviously, it’s the biggest part, but we need to get along. And I need to be able to see that we’ll be able to work together for an extended period of time. That’s a huge aspect.”
Perhaps, she said, that’s the biggest reason that teams don’t stay together as long as they used to. Maybe they didn’t discuss their goals at the beginning of the partnership. Maybe their ideas about things turn out to be different. “We really need to make sure we’re on the same page,” Moore-Towers said.
Moore-Towers is being realistic about this sea-change in her skating career. She doesn’t expect to get results right away with a new partner. She doesn’t expect to jump back to world-podium contender this coming season or even the one after that. “But I am making this decision with the hopes that one day, I can do something better,” she said.
“It’s definitely a climb,” she said. “It’s not going to come easy and it’s not going to come fast. We’re going to have to work on it a long time and rebuild some credibility and explore new paths and new options. And hopefully we’ll get there.”
One thing she knows for sure: Moscovitch had one of the best work ethics she’s ever seen, ever, in her life. She looks for someone who she can have fun with, but who will also be willing to train hard, and try new things and have the same goals. “Those are the only people that I’m looking at,” she said.
It was a gutsy move and a calculated risk. It’s not so different elsewhere in the world, where partnerships are dissolving and reforming. Stay tuned for more pair adventures.