To mark the start of the British Championships, 1-6 December at iceSheffield, today we focus on the current Senior National Champion, Phillip Harris.
Name: Phillip Harris
Arena: Skydome Arena, Coventry
Choreographer and Coach: Juri Bureiko, Marina Serova
On the ice:
Who/what inspired you to step onto the ice and what age? I was not inspired as such, just invited. A friend of mine wanted to go ice skating for his birthday so we went and that was that. I had no idea of the sport that was out there and absolutely no idea it would lead into what is has. Incredible to think that I had 11 years of life without knowing this sport ever existed, and now, I live the sport.
How did you get into figure skating? Like I said above, it was a birthday party. I started lessons a few weeks later because I enjoyed it. I loved roller-blading as a boy, I used to go to the skate park and hit the ramps, so when I stepped on the ice I was quite good at it.
How many hours do you train a week? Probably a good 24 hours per week; two or three sessions a day on the ice five days a week and one or two sessions in the gym four days a week. On top of that, physio sessions, ice baths and foam rolling to recover.
What do you consider your greatest achievement in ice skating? Winning the British Championships last season was an incredible and rewarding achievement for a number of reasons. Not only did I win at what was probably the highest standard ever for that event but more personally I could come back and compete at that standard after withdrawing the year before through injury and missing out on the opportunity to compete at the Olympics. Winning the Nationals also gave me the opportunity to go on and finish 15th at the European Championships, which in itself I am incredibly proud of.
In all honesty I want to go back to 2008 when as an unknown skater from Blackpool I won the Junior Nationals. In no way does it have the same gravitas as winning the senior event but for me it will always be the one where I realised I can really go somewhere in the sport.
How many times have you competed in the Nationals? I think around 10 times; once at each novice, primary (when it was around), junior, then the rest as a senior.
Do you have a skating hero you look up to? Because I spent the first few years only really knowing the skating world inside Blackpool arena and not the full extent of the competitive circuit, I guess the people I looked up to most were the ones around me. They were older and better than I was at that time and I wanted to reach their level and surpass them. The people I trained with were always pushing me, there was a fantastic group of skaters in Blackpool at that time and they probably had more impact on me than anyone else, so I want to thank them all!
Off the ice:
Other than skating what do you like to do in your spare time? I love going to the gym, a few friends and I like to do some crazy stuff and I always get some funny looks for the exercises I'm doing. I also like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen; I have a passion for food and love to cook and it is so satisfying when my friends and family tell me how good it is. Plus I just love to eat myself!
One thing you can’t live without and why? There are so many things I want to say but unfortunately I have to say my phone. It is not because I am obsessed with social media but I use it for everything; work schedule, emails, lesson planning and organising, catching up on the news, reading, writing, listening to music, a timer for the gym, a television, to play games on the plane when travelling, a camera for any situation, not to mention calling family and friends. I have it with me at all times and my business and life relies on having one, so for that reason I cannot live without it!
Favourite band/music: I like all genres of music so to pick a favourite is difficult. It always depends what kind of mood I'm in and can also depend on the day, the time, or even the place. If I'm at the gym for example I will go for something like Foo Fighters or Muse, or a long drive might mean some Rudimental. In all honesty if I enjoy a song, regardless of band or genre, I will listen to it.
Favourite film/TV programme: Again, it depends on how I feel. I do like the most recent Dark Knight trilogy and my friend and I have got tickets for the new Star Wars film. I was hooked on Breaking Bad when I started watching it and have just started The Walking Dead series which is fantastic after only five episodes. When you ask about TV shows I immediately think of my childhood and want to say Dragonball Z, and in all honesty I do go back and reminisce.
Fun fact: Me and my partner have recently bought a miniature sausage dog puppy. His name is Rodney and he has a monkey named Del Boy and a bird named Uncle Albert (these are toys).
Phil’s Mum said: “I believe Phillip is a great skater because of his hard work, dedication and total commitment to his sport and his understanding of what is needed from himself to succeed.”
Published 1st December 2015