Graham staying cool this summer

Although the mercury is rising as summer continues to roll on, Shelley’s Mathew Graham remains focused on the ice.

The figure skater and incoming junior at Shelley High School ended the month of June by competing in the Broadmoor Open from June 25 to 28 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The event drew talent such as Olympian Jason Brown and four-time national medalist Marai Nagasu. Graham won the men’s novice division and set personal bests.

“It was pretty big,” Graham said in a phone interview Wednesday with the Post Register. “A lot of my competitors were national level skaters. To get first at this competition was a big confidence boost for the rest of the season.”

Graham has split time between rinks in Sun Valley, where he was headed later Wednesday, Logan, Utah, and Ogden, Utah, ever since school ended in May. He spends up to five days in Ogden to train with his coaches, Karel and Amanda Kovar, and makes day trips to Sun Valley and Logan when he is in Idaho. Along with ice time to work on triples, Graham keeps a rigorous off-ice training schedule of running, ballet and core conditioning.

“I’ve got two triples down,” Graham said. “I’m working on the other triples now. I’ve also been running a lot of programs just so I can get into really good shape and sharpen up my choreography.”

Graham is now preparing for a July 15 competition in Philadelphia. With his second season at the novice level upcoming, Graham has set higher goals for himself.

“I’m going to four competitions before Regionals,” Graham said. “I would like to place in the top four in all of those competitions. I would also like to make it to nationals this year.”

Other local winter athletes are staying busy this summer. Olympic snowboarder Jessika Jenson of Rigby confirmed with the Post Register via text message that she signed with the 2014-15 U.S. Snowboarding team in May. She leaves for Whistler, British Columbia, next week to begin on-snow training with the other national team members.

Coming up locally

Several events coinciding with July 4th are scheduled throughout the weekend.

The ninth annual FireKracker 5K begins at 7:15 a.m. Friday at Tautphaus Park. The course follows the parade route.

The 18th annual Sawtelle Stampede Fun Run half marathon, 10k, 5k walk/run and 1k kids run/walk takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday in Island Park. The courses use Caribou-Targhee National Forest service roads.

The Color in Motion 5k comes to Rexburg on Saturday. Race time is 9 a.m. at Porter Park.

Team USA update

I missed out on this big piece of news while I was out of the office from mid to late June, but it is worth sharing. The United States Olympic Committee narrowed its shortlist of potential 2024 Summer Olympic host city candidates to San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. on June 13. According to gamesbids.com, the USOC members will make a final decision on whether or not to move forward with a 2024 bid in early 2015.

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