Alissa Czisny (born on June 25, 1987 in Bowling Green, Ohio) is a former American competitive ice skater.
She is the 2010 Grand Prix Final champion, a two-time Skate Canada champion (2005, 2010), the 2011 Skate America champion, and a two-time U.S. national champion (2009, 2011).
Alissa began skating when she was a year in a half years old when she and her sister, Amber, accompanied their mother to the ice skating rink because they didn't want to stay at home with a babysitter.
In 1998, Julianne Berlin became Alissa's coach. Early in her career, Theresa McKendry was her main choreographer (assisted by Amber).
Alissa finished 4th in her Grand Prix debut at 2004 Skate America, to which she was invited to participate in after Michelle Kwan withdrew from it.
Alissa first gained international attention when she won the gold medal at the 2005 Skate Canada International and silver at the 2005 Skate America where she received a standing ovation for her free program. She qualified for the 2005–06 Grand Prix Final and placed sixth.
Alissa went on to the 2006 U.S. Championships in St. Louis, where she finished seventh overall. She was one of four figure skaters featured on the 2006 TLC series, "Ice Diaries."
Alissa began the season at the 2006 Skate Canada International where she placed fourth. She also competed at the 2006 Cup of Russia in November.
At the 2007 U.S. Championships, she was in fifth after the short program, but went on to win the free skate to win the bronze medal and the final U.S. spot to the 2007 World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
At the World Championships, Alissa finished 15th.
At the 2009 U.S. Championships, she won the short program by over five points; she finished third in the long program but won the gold medal due to her lead from the short.
Alissa won her first national title, ahead of Rachael Flatt and Caroline Zhang. She earned her second trip to the Four Continents and the World Championships, in which she finished ninth and eleventh, respectively.
In the 2009–10 Grand Prix season, Alissa placed fourth at the 2009 Rostelecom Cup and won the silver medal at the 2009 Skate Canada International.
Alissa placed tenth at the 2010 U.S. Championships; as a result, she did not make the Olympic team and financial support to help cover her mid-five-figure training expenses was cut. She also found out her sister had cancer (which is in remission as of 2011).
Alissa considered retiring from figure skating, but her mentors Brian Boitano and Linda Leaver encouraged her to continue.
In February of 2010, Alissa left coach Julianne Berlin, who had coached her for twelve years.
In May of 2010, she said that she would remain at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with new coaches Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen.
Alissa reworked her jump technique with the help of her new coaches, who also helped her with her mental approach. She noted, "I finally realized that my results in skating didn't define who I am as a person."
Alissa began the 2010–11 season by winning the 2010 Skate Canada International, earning her first gold medal on the Grand Prix series since winning 2005 Skate Canada. She also won Midwestern Sectionals, qualifying her to compete at US Nationals in 2011.
She won bronze at her second Grand Prix event, 2010 Trophée Eric Bompard, which combined with her Skate Canada result qualified her for the Grand Prix Final.
At the 2010–11 Grand Prix Final, she won the short program with 63.76 points and placed third in the long program with a new personal best of 116.99 points. She won her first Grand Prix Final title with a new personal best combined total of 180.75 points.
At the 2011 U.S. Championships, Alissa placed second in the short program with 62.50 and then placed first in the free skate with 128.74, giving her a combined total of 191.24 to win the gold.
Alissa won her second national gold medal, finishing 7.86 points ahead of the defending champion Rachael Flatt; it was the first time since Michelle Kwan's ninth win in 2005 that a ladies' single skater won more than one U.S. national title
She placed fifth at the 2011 World Championships, her best ever result at the event.
During the off-season, Alissa skated in a number of shows.
In 2011, she also made a brief appearance in a Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler and Detroit and starred in Chrysler's Perseverance video.
In the 2011–12 season, Alissa was assigned to 2011 Skate America and 2011 Trophée Eric Bompard as her Grand Prix events.
She won the gold medal at Skate America and bronze at Trophee Bompard and was first in the free program at Bompard with 121.90 points, setting a new personal best international free skate score.
She qualified for the Grand Prix Final. She sustained a calf injury during a practice session on December 8, explaining "it was the way I picked on a flip jump."
After team doctors determined that she would not make the injury worse, Alissa went on to compete and finished 5th at the event. She won the silver medal at the 2012 U.S. Championships.
After the 2012 Challenge Cup, where she took bronze, she decided not to include the double axel-triple toe combination in her program at Worlds.
After falling twice in the short program and five times in the free skate, Alissa placed 22nd overall at the 2012 World Championships.
Alissa was invited to the World Team Trophy, but her coach Jason Dungjen declined and Gracie Gold was selected to go instead.
In May of 2012, an MRI revealed that she had a torn labrum in her left hip; she said she would not have competed at Worlds if she had known she was injured.
After undergoing surgery on June 6, 2012 in Nashville, Alissa began physical therapy the next day and after a month, she no longer needed crutches.
In the 2012–13 season, Alissa received an assignment to the NHK Trophy, but withdrew from the competition in order to continue her recovery from surgery. She hoped to compete at the 2013 U.S. Championships.
On January 12, 2013 at the 2013 Fox Cities Invitational in Appleton, Wisconsin, she dislocated her left hip after falling on a triple flip. She was taken to a hospital where her hip was moved back into alignment. Her withdrawal from the U.S. Championships was confirmed.
In April 2013, Alissa resumed her regular training schedule at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
In preparation for the 2013–14 season, Alissa skated two sessions per day, gradually increasing the difficulty of her jumps and spins and aiming to add a triple-triple jump combination to her long program.
Alissa worked regularly with an off-ice trainer and underwent physical therapy daily.
With the goal of earning a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team, she made her comeback at the 2014 Eastern Great Lakes Regional Championships and won the gold medal with a total score of 145.12 after placing first in both segments.
This qualified Alissa for the Midwestern Sectionals in November, but she withdrew and ended her season because she did not feel fully recovered.
In June of 2014, Alissa decided to retire from competitive figure skating, saying she would continue to skate in shows and work as a coach.
In June of 2016, she underwent surgery due to a torn labrum in her right hip.
|Season||Short program||Free skating||Exhibition|
1996–97 to 2003–04Edit
|ISU Junior Grand Prix Final||5th|
|Triglav Trophy||1st J|
|U.S. Championships||2nd J||11th||10th||12th|
|Midwest Sectionals||5th I||9th J||1st J||2nd||2nd||2nd|
|EGL Regionals||4th V||1st I||10th N||3rd J||1st J||2nd||1st|
| Levels: V = Juvenile; I = Intermediate; N = Novice; J = Junior|
EGL = Eastern Great Lakes
2004–05 to 2013–14Edit
|Cup of China||9th|
|Cup of Russia||9th||4th||4th|
|EGL = Eastern Great Lakes; WD = Withdrew|
Unlike most skaters, Alissa spins and jumps clockwise; she is known for her excellent spins.
"When I was younger, my sister and I always practiced our spins together. We would spin for hours, seeing who could hold their spin longer and/or who could spin faster. We also tried to come up with as many variations as possible."
Of the jumps, she is least confident on the triple salchow.
Alissa was born together with a fraternal twin sister, Amber in Sylvania, Ohio.
She is a summa cum laude graduate of Bowling Green State University where she was on a full academic scholarship and majored in international studies, French and Russian.
Alissa took online classes due to her skating. She also expressed interest in learning Japanese.
Alissa is a vegetarian and a Christian. She took ballet lessons from a young age to improve her flexibility and strength.