Sean Rabbitt of Team USA
Sean Rabbitt ages like wine: keeps getting better with age.
His age isn't a hindrance to his progress as a figure skater, as he describes himself as a “late bloomer” in terms of skating. He is continuously motivated by his own expectations and by his fans and those around him. Despite any setbacks he may face, Sean pushes forward, no matter what. I really believe that I got to know Sean better through this set of questions I sent him, and I hope you get to know this star better as well!
Q: Can you tell me about yourself and how you got to where you are today?
Sean Rabbitt: My name is Sean Rabbitt, I'm 29, from Yorba Linda, [California], and started skating in Anaheim, [California], and was 8th at the 2019 US Championships.
Q: How did you become involved in skating in the first place? What age were you?
Sean Rabbitt: I was 3 when I started skating. My mom was looking for something for me and my brother to do, my grandma (her mom) loved figure skating and so we saw an opportunity to try through our city program and 26 years later, still going strong!
Q: Who or what motivates you to continue, even when you feel like giving up?
Sean Rabbitt: I think one of my biggest motivations is my will to succeed beyond expectation, and also the people supporting me. I have never been someone to take no for an answer so I think I want to continue to push the envelope as far as I can on my terms. As I am writing this, my mom is reading an old baby journal from when I was born, I kid you not, she just said "at 10 months old baby Sean will not give up till he gets his way." So there you have it! Haha, the other thing is I have an amazing group of supporters, and beyond that I have a lot of skaters that look up to me, that gives me motivation to continue for them!
Q: What does a normal practice day at the rink look like?
Sean Rabbitt: A normal day would consist of 2 hours of on ice training, off-ice warming up and training, and a lot of teaching. I will get to the rink 40 min before my practice, warm up for 30, then get on the ice for an hour. After that is a 1 hour break, a quick off-ice warm up again, and then another hour on the ice. After that training is finished I teaching for another 2-4 hours and then off to the gym before heading home!
Q: Do you have any goals for the upcoming season?
Sean Rabbitt: I have some personal goals I have set out for myself to achieve, but this season the biggest goal is to love skating! I think that's why I have been able to skate for so long is because I just love it. Last year, although successful on paper, I didn't feel as though I did it with love. It was more just me trying to get through the season. I want to enjoy the roots of my skating that has taken me this far, and that something that with pressure to be your best physically and mentally isn't easy to do to be honest, but that is my ultimate goal!
Q: Do you have any specific long-term goals?
Sean Rabbitt: I want to instill the same passion I have for skating in the skaters I work with. I think that 6.0 system allowed for a lot of creativity in people skating and they could really become their own character, IJS has a tendency to make people seem the same so I want to try and teach skaters to embrace their joy for the sport and show that. I also want to be on a Japanese variety show! That is an ultimate goal of mine.
Q: Are you planning to train any new elements to place into your programs?
Sean Rabbitt: I have changed the order of a few jumps, to make it harder in the second half and gain more half way mark bonus points. Otherwise, I have an equation that works well and has done me good so I am sticking to that.
Q: How is training your 3A going?
Sean Rabbitt: I have put on some muscle and been re-working the jump as well as trying it a lot on the pole harness and it’s been very successful so we will keep training it and see if it will be ready for competitions.
Q: What music will you be skating to for your short and long programs?
Sean Rabbitt: My short program is Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot. It’s something I have always wanted to skate to and I feel I have the maturity and the elegance that the music requires. My freeskate is Espana Cani. It’s a Spanish piece known for ice dancing and ballroom dances Paso Doble but its very strong and "spicy" so I am excited for this!
Q: Is there a “dream” piece of music you want to skate to?
Sean Rabbitt: My short program has always been a piece that when I hear it I get chills. Every skater I have seen skate to it successfully brings me to become speechless (and we all know I can talk a lot) and so I have dreamed of skating to this piece.
Q: What does it mean to you to represent the United States in figure skating?
Sean Rabbitt: It is a huge honor. Its something I take a lot of pride in, and I can't really put into words my prideful feelings. I can say, I remember when I went to my first competition internationally, and they announced "representing the United States of America," it’s like the world stopped and that’s all I could hear, it was this moment of "I did it" and also motivation! It is something that I will never forget!
Q: What is your self-choreography process like?
Sean Rabbitt: It’s a mess! Haha. It’s definitely easier to choreograph for someone else than myself, but regardless I keep the process the same. I usually play the music on the ice and kind of get a feel for things, then I take it home and cut the music based on the parts I felt work best. After that, I write the elements out in order, then I start to choreograph. Funny thing is my FS for this season, I choreographed the parts I felt really inspired by and then kind of went back and filled in the blankets, a style that was a first for me, but proved to workout! Usually I start at the beginning and work to the end.
Q: What are your plans for the next few years?
Sean Rabbitt: That’s a hard one to answer as you never know what a new day can bring. By that, I mean life can change overnight and you just never know. If all goes to plan, I would like to keep skating/coaching, but would love to do more traveling and teaching in places I have yet to go. Also, I would love to try and break into the Japanese TV world, specifically be on a Japanese variety show!
Q: Where is your favorite place to train?
Sean Rabbitt: I have to say, I don't really have one! I think that the coaches and skaters make the environment what it is. You could have a beautiful rink with a negative environment or a old, not so pretty rink with an amazing group of people that make it the best place to train. So I love to train anywhere with an awesome group of people.
Q: What was your favorite competition of your senior years so far?
Sean Rabbitt: By far, my first international competition, the 2015 Autumn Classic. It’s an experience I will never forget, and something that I feel I worked so hard to achieve.
Q: Why do you love figure skating?
Sean Rabbitt: I love the art that goes into figure skating. You can create anything, literally anything with your edges, body movements, jumps and spins. I think it is so unique. Furthermore, it gives people joy, and that is something I love being able to do!
Q: Who is someone you’d love to train or skate with?
Sean Rabbitt: Hands down Daisuke Takahashi....end of story!
Q: What do you strive for every time you skate or work out?
Sean Rabbitt: I strive for consistency! I want to be as consistent and reliable as possible and so I try to not only be consistent with my jumps or programs but also consistent with my mindset and also the way I approach my daily life and training! I think it helps to build a strong foundation for anything you do, in or outside of skating.
Q: What do you enjoy most about skating at Great Parks Ice in Irvine, California?
Sean Rabbitt: The facility is state of the art, it has everything we need and it’s beautiful. The surrounding area is also really nice and has a nice variety of places to eat and things to do. As far as the rink, like I said earlier, it’s all about the people you're surrounded with and I am so lucky to be among a positive and outgoing group of skaters and coaches there. It makes training fun!
Q: What was your favorite part about skating in the 2019 Four Continents Championship gala?
Sean Rabbitt: Skating for a hometown crowd amongst some of the best athletes in the world. It’s hard in the US to be on the same ice as a lot of those skaters, even if you're just as good or better than some of them, sometimes you just don't get the chance or maybe once in your life because the US has so many amazing skaters in itself. So to skate with such an elite group in front of a hometown crowd was such a treat and a reward!
Q: How do you de-stress?
Sean Rabbitt: COFFEE!!!!! It is seriously the one thing that I go to when I need to wake up, pump up, or de-stress with. The aroma is so relaxing for me and I feel like it helps me to take a second, and just enjoy a simple moment. It sounds silly but it’s seriously the best way for me to just "chill." It also sounds funny but I love to go to Japan, even for 3 or 4 days away (I have done that several times) just a few days out of the rink in a place I like to go and just change the pace for a bit. It’s a great reset for me.
Q: What do you like to do with family on your free time?
Sean Rabbitt: We like to just hang out. We are not much into going out or seeing a movie, we literally just hang out and talk and chill and I think spending that quality time is always nice especially given how busy all of our schedules (not just mine) can be.
Q: What is the reason behind learning the Japanese language?
Sean Rabbitt: I love Japan. Japan is seriously my favorite country (sorry USA with the close second) but I love going there and I love the culture, the manors, the thought to detail...so many things. My brother and I grew up learning about Japan first from Pokemon and from there it stemmed into us both learning about the culture and wanting to learn the language.
Q: What is your favorite thing about traveling to different countries?
Sean Rabbitt: It’s fun to see the cultures, see how people live, eat, work, travel around. I think it can really teach you a lot about the differences of people’s lives and make you more aware of small things. I also enjoy learning about the history of the culture and of course...THE FOOD!!!
Q: What do you love about visiting Japan?
Sean Rabbitt: As I said in the last one, the food! Haha. Food is so good and also the people there are so kind and really will do anything to help you, even if there is a language barrier. I love to just go to Japan and see my friends there and eat with them and really do the same thing I would do in the USA. I am beyond the tourist attractions these days so now its like my relaxing second home!
Q: Who are some people that you feel inspired by, either by their lifestyle or skating?
Sean Rabbitt: I am really motivated by athletes of all types. I think someone who has a goal and works hard to achieve that goal but also stays humble and down to earth is something I really look up to in many athletes. I really look up to people who also are not born with money, and have to work hard outside of their sport to support themselves but still do an amazing job at going in and training hard everyday!
Q: What is a word that you'd use to describe your skating journey?
Sean Rabbitt: Hmmmmm..... I have thought about this one a lot since you sent me this....and I still can't really come up with a word. I would say three words: rollercoaster, rewarding, humbling.
Q: What are your favorite things to eat, whether that is American, Japanese, or another country’s food?
Sean Rabbitt: When I come home from travels, I love to eat In N Out. In Japan, I love REAL sushi (not the different named rolls we have in the US) and in Korea, I love Korean BBQ!!!
Q: What advice would you give to a senior skater in any country?
Sean Rabbitt: Remember why you're still skating and how you got to this point. Too many people forget that they skate because they loved it, we all still do, but at Senior, it kind of becomes a job and it's hard to remember the core reason why we started. I think remembering that and identifying reasons why you like to skate is so important as you get into the senior ranks.
Q: What advice would you want to give to your younger self and your future self?
Sean Rabbitt: Keep working hard and know that your time will come. I think being a late bloomer in the sport, I wouldn't change anything now, but it's hard to see your friends progress before you and have their success before you. I am glad I finally have my own moments and my own successes but took a lot of time.
Q: What would you like to say to fans who will read this interview?
Sean Rabbitt: I appreciate every single one of them. Although I have 16k followers on Instagram and a lot on Twitter and Facebook, I try to reply to every single message I receive. It takes a lot of time but my theory is that I wouldn't be where I am without their support and their love for me. I really appreciate them!!!
Thank you to Sean Rabbitt for allowing me to conduct this interview! I hope you all enjoyed this set of questions and learned more about this wonderful skater!