Lucas Broussard surpassed his own expectations in the 2022/23 season. Despite having to take time off to recover from a back injury, the American won both of his Junior Grand Prix events and a silver medal at the Junior Grand Prix Final. He then won the US Junior Nationals and placed seventh at Junior Worlds.
In August, Lucas competed at the 2023 Cranberry Cup International. The 17-year-old was hoping to start his new season with a strong showing at his first senior international event. Unfortunately, after two rough skates, he ended in 14th place.
“I’d say [I’m] pretty disappointed,” Lucas acknowledged after the free skate. “But I know that, of course, it was just the first competition and I can’t expect too much for myself. Training has been kind of rough. But, ultimately, I know I can do more.”
A Summer Full of Extremes
In the off-season, Lucas mainly trained at home in Seattle. “I didn’t go to Jump On It camp (an annual event organized for junior skaters on Team USA – AGOE) because I was doing a math class over the summer, so I’ve only been skating in Seattle, and a little bit actually in Canada, at the Richmond Oval. That’s really fun.”
Overall, Lucas said that the training was “very up and down. And very difficult….Working on multiple quads in a program was, of course, super challenging. I’m working on keeping positive when skating isn’t going well, and training over the summer really required me to do this. I also found it unfortunate that I wasn’t skating my best despite not having to keep up with school during most of the summer. That being said, I did learn a lot over the summer.”
“It’s been a summer filled with a lot of work and a lot of leisure,” Lucas added “It’s very extreme. There’s been a lot of both.”
When not training, he enjoyed going swimming with friends. “There’s a beach near my house. And it overlooks Bellevue. It’s really pretty.”
At Cranberry Cup, Lucas fell on a quad toe loop in his short program and popped his Axel into a single. He attempted two quad toes in his Free Skate, two-footing the first, and underrotating and falling on the second.
Despite the jump errors, the quality of Lucas’ skating skills, musicality, and body awareness were evident. He shared at the end of last season that his injury had kept him from being able to do a Biellman spin and he wanted to bring it back, a goal that he has now achieved.
“My back has been feeling good. So, so far, so good. I hope I can keep doing it.” His back is now fully healed, but he is being careful to monitor for any future injury “I’m still kind of paranoid.”
New Programs for 23/24 Season
Both of Lucas’ new programs were choreographed by Corrie Martin, one of his long-time coaches. The short is to “Everybody Hurts” by REM, and the Free Skate to selections from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, recomposed by Max Richter.
“At the start, Corrie thought we might do a waltz for the short and I was totally fine with that. And then, with Corrie and I, it takes a long time for us to really decide what we’re doing. So we started with choreographing the long [first]. We had a few ideas, and then we ultimately decided on the Four Seasons. I wanted Spring and she wanted Summer. So we were just going to do Spring and Summer, but then she was cutting it and she said, ‘I just don’t think Vivaldi would like this.’ So we added Winter.”
“She said that she choreographed it to be a lot happier than she had initially envisioned,” Lucas added. “So we didn’t go the waltz route, and then we were debating between ‘Everybody Hurts’ and a piano piece for the short. She thought that it would be perfect to do REM because it’s very much out of my comfort zone. I’ve never done lyrics, and it’s hard to do well, so it’s a big challenge, but she thought it’d be best if we did lyrics this year.”
The process of finding a Free Skate costume matched the process of choreography, and the end result was “kind of crazy,” Lucas admitted.
“At first we thought, specifically with Spring, that we wanted reds and oranges, more of that color scheme. We were almost completely set on my design and it was red and orange. Then on the last day when we were trying on the fabrics, there were other pieces of fabric that had the designs that I have on it now. I liked it, and it definitely fits better with summer and winter, so I said, ‘Yeah, go for it.’ I didn’t realize that it came with the crochet stuff here” – Lucas gestured across his shoulder – “and I love that, so I’m in love with it. We all really really like it.”
Finding Balance On and Off the Ice
Unusually for an elite skater, Lucas still goes to school full-time in a regular high school, and skates before or after classes. “I just make sure to do all my homework. Really, I just sit there and I tell myself, ‘If I don’t do this homework, the world is going to collapse,’ basically. I really can’t get behind. And thus far, it’s been fine. And I hope in junior year it’ll be okay too. I’ve been doing my SAT stuff over the summer, too. Hopefully, that’ll be done before starting junior spring.”
Lucas shared later that, since school started, he’s found that his junior year, being more academically rigorous, has been challenging. “I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed. The balance I’ve kept between school, skating, and my health will be challenging to keep up this year, so I’m also aiming to continue skating while maintaining my school life and health.”
For fun, Lucas enjoys cooking, and lately, he has a special dish: Spam Musubi. “They’re like rice and marinated spam. My friend’s mom – I think she’s Hawaiian – brings them a lot to the rink and they’re really good and very easy to make. I can’t seem to stop making them, whenever I have time at home and I’m hungry.” Lucas also enjoys going out for bubble tea with friends. His go-to order? Oolong – or a mango smoothie.
Setting Goals for Senior
Lucas is aiming to return to Junior Worlds at the end of this year, but will otherwise compete in Senior, including in his first Grand Prix assignment, Cup of China. At the end of August, Lucas joined the other Team USA senior athletes for Champs Camp.
“My first Champs Camp went about as well as I expected to. It was super fun to be around all the other Team USA athletes who train seriously. I really enjoy practicing with skaters at camps and competitions, and this was no exception. However, because it was my first time being in a training environment with the senior Team USA athlete team, I was pretty intimidated. Overall, the experience was very helpful, and one thing I’ve learned is to take everything with a grain of salt.”
He also received feedback on his jump content, and will be scaling back a little for his next competition. “We thought it would be best to remove one quad toe in the long for the time being. Additionally, at Champs Camp, one piece of feedback I received was to just do a double axel in the short and focus on the quad toe, so that’s the plan for now.”
Lucas shared that his main goal for the season is “to enjoy when I skate because it can definitely be challenging sometimes, but just to enjoy what I’m doing – and improve upon Junior Worlds.”
Next up will be the Nebelhorn Trophy at the end of September, and his goal there will be “to showcase the components of my new programs to the best of my ability.”