Friday, October 10, 2008

Alexe Gilles: One Tall Order

When it comes to knowing “3 Things” about current U.S. Junior Champion Alexe Gilles, here’s what I feel like telling you outright:

1) She’s tall!
2) She just won gold at Junior Grand Prix South Africa!
3) Did I happen to mention she’s TALL!

You’ll have to excuse my excitement, but in my mind, it really is newsworthy that Gilles checks in at a stately 5 feet 7 inches (that’s approximately 2 meters, I believe). She may not be THE tallest lady to ever compete among the elite—Lisa-Marie Allen comes to mind as one who is likely to hold that distinctive title—but once Gilles enters the senior ranks, she’ll be an inch above Carolina Kostner… three inches above Kimmie Meissner… and a solid 5 to 8 inches above most of the others. And she’s only 16-- she might not even be done growing!

As someone who pretty much lost the small array of jumps she DID have when she reached 5’7” (en route to being 5’10 ½”), I just have to marvel at “giants” like Gilles. Even if she only makes it to the final flight at Nationals one time, she’ll prove to a wide audience of so-called lanky young girls that you don’t have to be a pixie to succeed in figure skating. (And likewise, you don’t have to learn to play basketball if you don’t really want to!)

So anyway… two other things to know about Ms. Gilles (for real this time):

1) She has two other sibs in skating—and they’re both ice dancers, though partnered with others.

2) Jill Trenary is listed among her coaches.

And one more thing—her free skate music is simply noted to be “bongo music”, which I found amusing… and then refreshing, after watching her in action at this year’s Liberty Open (the
Clip of the Day ). No warhorses here!

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