His anxiety was evident as he warmed up for Saturday’s finals of the juvenile boys division. He kept falling.
“He couldn’t land his jumps in warmups. You could see he was very nervous,” said Ilona Melnichenko, Torgashev’s mother and Panthers Figure Skating Club coach. “He’s just 9 years old, and he’s telling me it’s so much pressure. I just told him to go skate like in practice.”
Torgashev overcame the jitters and skated like a seasoned veteran to earn the bronze medal in competition with skaters as much as three years older. His score of 49.85 was a personal best. He didn’t attempt a double axel, which some of the older skaters featured, but his jumps were flawless and his spins superlative.
“I was really nervous; I had so much pressure on myself. My mom calmed me down,” Torgashev said. “I’m really proud of myself. All the boys a lot older than me did what they can do, and I did what I can do.
“My dream is to get 50 points next year.”
Torgashev’s medal was another step in the PFSC’s emergence as an elite program.
“They all did a big improvement from regionals and from the whole season,” Melnichenko said of the PFSC group. “We look at it as another competition for them, a learning experience. It’s like they’re climbing stairs. I want to say thank you to the parents. They all believe in what we’re doing.”
Melnichenko and husband Artem Torgashev, Andrew’s dad, are former Soviet National Team skaters and part of an impressive coaching staff at the PFSC, based at Saveology Iceplex.
Meanwhile, Andrew Torgashev had some more business to attend to in Utah. He was planning to celebrate his medal with a trip to the mountains Sunday for his first attempt at snowboarding.
“I think it’s really fun seeing snow for first time, and tomorrow I’m going to play around with it,” he said.
Complete results from Junior Nationals are at Icenetwork.com