The National Championships!

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Skater-Me… about 20 years ago

Many of you know the early part of my life.

Long before I was a wife, a stepmother, a pet-Mummy, a veterinarian, a writer, a blogger, a bling-slinger and a wanna-be golfer I was a competitive and then professional figure skater.

What a fun world it was.

And what fun for me this weekend with both the US and Canadian national championships being contested at the same time!

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My former coach/mentor, the late Dr.Hellmut May.

Full disclosure on my part: I never made it to the Canadian National Championships. Hell, I never made it to Western Canadians.

But I competed at a national level and I tried my best and that was back in the 6.0 judging system and I was fairly well-known and respected.

And I passed every Gold test I tried and I guest-skated and I traveled twice to Japan with the Beautiful People to perform in professional ice shows.

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My first tour in southern Japan… can you spot one of Gracie Gold’s main people in this picture?

And I stay connected through friends I trained & competed with, my former students, former coaches of my own and colleagues and its wonderful when the National Championships roll around!

I am thrilled that Gracie Gold reclaimed her US National Title.

The girl is amazing. She oozes talent, finesse, class and style. She is young and bright and cheery and yet can fight through the fact she singled her opening triple lutz in the short program putting her in 2nd place to skate lights-out in her long program and win the gold.

Firebird, indeed.

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Canada’s former national champion, Kaetlyn Osmond (not my photo)

And I’m bummed that the lovely young Kaetlyn Osmond once again is not Canada’s national champion. She is a maritime girl who trains in Alberta under one of my dearest skating friends growing up, Ravi Walia. She has sass and spunk and fabulous technique and is a presence on the ice.

But it wasn’t her year.

She did place 3rd, however…good enough for a trip to Four Continents and the back-up spot on the World’s team.

While I haven’t watched the Canadian programs yet, I am intrigued by the situation in the pairs discipline.

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Duhamel & Radford on their way to another National title and hopefully another World one, too! (not my photo)

Meghan (the vegan) Duhamel and Eric Radford are Canada’s national champs once again. They are both veterans of the sport. Definitely “getting up there.”

Particularly when you consider that he is a giant and she is a midget and he tosses her on incredible throw quads and they can still somehow manage side by side triple lutzes. Their arsenal is amazing.

Part of their secret is the fact they have been together for so long.

Too may pair and ice dance teams break up without fighting through difficult or non-gold-medal times. Longevity yields trust, unison and greatness.

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Ilyushechkina & Moscovitch, bronze medalists for Canada this year! (I LOVE that dress!) (not my picture)

Part of the drama on the Canadian pairs scene involves the 3rd place team of Dylan Moscovitch and Lubov Ilyushechkina.

Dylan and Kristin Moore-Towers were national champs and placed 4th in the World two years running. They were fabulous and had such fun programs and obviously some world level cred.

Following the last Olympic year, though, Kristin called it quits, saying she wanted someone committed to 2 more Olympic cycles. Dylan, himself is no spring chicken and was only up for 1 more cycle. Kristin found a new partner in a high ranking Canuck (whose current partner was too tall) and Dylan went on the hunt. He was considered the sad sack in this case, being older and dumped but there are always 2 sides to every story and more than one reason Kristin moved on.

Regardless, Dylan teamed up with Lubov, who loves Canada but hadn’t competed for Russia since her parter, Nodari dumped her a couple of years prior. Russia released her to represent Canada and damned if they aren’t beating Kristin and her partner now! They are off to the World Championships, even!

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My hob-nobbing brunch with a bunch of Olympians from the US and Canada in Salt Lake City, including Paige Lawrence & Rudi Sweigers and Dylan Moscovitch and Kristin Moore-Towers on my right. Special nod to Liam Firus on my left because….

The men’s event provided much less drama in Canada. Patrick Chan is back after 2 years of not-competing. Dude still has his quads and finesse but he’s an even more passionate performer, if you can believe it.

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P-Chiddy, mid air at Canadian Nationals this weekend. He’s baaaaaaaack! (not my picture)

With young guns like Javier Fernandez and Yuzuru Hanyu taking charge of the world a lot of people wondered about Chan coming back. Chan, who trains with a lesser known coach (who was the mom of his girlfriend, not sure if that’s the status these days) after dumping one of the top technicians in the US as a coach a few years ago most definitely can keep up on the ice and his maturity may take him back to the top of the World podium yet again.

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North Vancouver’s Lium Firus, 2nd in Canada!

I am so proud to see Liam Firus heading back to World’s as Canada’s #2 man. The fact he grew up in North Vancouver (where I lived when I trained there) is pretty special but its also neat that he was part of our SLC brunch crew a couple of years ago.

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Weaver & Poje… beautiful dancers! (not my picture)

No surprise when Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje took the National ice dance title in Canada again. They are just Beautiful. And Beautiful People. His mom is Beautiful. They dance Beautifully, wear Beautiful costumes and make you feel Beautiful watching them. No real drama there (they are a couple if you were wondering).

American ice dance, however was something different.

The Shibutanis are back on top! Its fabulous!

The once World bronze-medalists had been overshadowed by teammates Chock & Bates but they crushed it yesterday with their jaw-droppingly incredible Coldplay free dance. I had tears! I replayed it! I love it!

Maia and Alex Shibutani are siblings, which can get weird in the often love-inspired world of ice dance.

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My brother & I with our own ice dance finesse. Our red & black duds were perfect for the Fiesta Tango and, hey, we did actually win the bronze medal at the BC championships at the pre-novice level!

I love how the Shibs skate and how true they are to themselves. They have grown up in front of the figure skating world’s eyes and they looked so mature last night.

I’m not a huge Chock & Bates fan, though. She is way too over-dramatic (even for ice dance! Reminds me of Bestemianova in the 80s!) and he bugs me because he dumped Emily Samuelson after she waited a year for his broken ankle to heal. Break-ups and drama. It never seems to end in figure skating.

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Getting ready before a guest-skating appearance somewhere in the 90’s.

As for the US pairs teams, it was exciting to see the young Florida team nail everything in their program to take their first national title. They were fearless, landing a huge throw triple-flip near the end of the program and I see big things for Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea.

They beat the former champs, Scimeca and Knierem, who are real-life couple. Alexa needs to eat, though. She looks way thinner this year and while it may be why they can do that huge quadruple split-twist (skate backwards, reach back and tap your toepick between his legs, he throws you up in the air, you split your legs then rotate horizontally and spin 4 times in the air and he catches you, preferably with both hands and not his head or chest and you smile all pretty) it still isn’t right.

Figure skating hasn’t come very far in the skinny-girl department.

Going through puberty in spandex doesn’t help.

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My first ice show in Japan!

I do think that Gracie, Polina Edmunds, Kaetlyn, Ashley Wagner and Meghan all have fabulous looks, though, and maybe they will be role models for younger girls who want to be skaters.

Like Katarina Witt and Midori Ito were for me.

The American men are competing today so I have nothing on that. I have my thoughts, though… Max Aaron has finally listened to his critics and worked on his artistry. I wish he would work on a new look as far as his skinny pants go but lets work on one thing at a time. Jason Brown isn’t in the mix due to injury. He brings an exuberant breath of fresh air to the scene but he will need a quad to remain competitive with the global boys. I’m not a huge fan of Adam Rippon’s hair style but he is a beautiful skater and I want him to live up to his potential.

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Synchro has come a long way since the Grand Forks Figure Skating Club’s precision team competed in the 80’s. (Me, front row, 2nd from the right)

The weekend of sparkle and drama and glitter and grit and cameras and triple axels and pair combination spins and Shibutani brilliance and seeing friends on TV was a lovely distraction from the fact we started little Loki on phenobarbital for her increasingly frequent and severe seizure activity.

Basically, she’s stoned.

And still blind.

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Loki & I this summer in Bismarck

The buzz will disappear over the next week but there is just something hilariously endearing about her licking Gampy’s foot intensely, slowly, lovingly for over 15 minutes and jonesen’ for the piece of sausage she knew was on my plate.

And sometime while I was writing this she took a shit in the hallway by the kitchen.

That part wasn’t so much hilarious as accepted.

I wish nothing but the best of luck to the Canadian and American teams heading to Boston in March for the World Championships! Stay tuned for more info, musings, results and glitz! (Is it any wonder I sling bling now?)

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Skating has always been a huge part of my life!

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The cast of my first ice show in Japan.

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The on-ice characters of the very first Raise The Roof in North Dakota!

6 thoughts on “The National Championships!

    • Thank-you, Cindy! She is snoring away next to me right now. Most dogs (and people!) are only fuzzy the first few days. She is still herself and very cuddly when she’s with us, loving her food and chew toys we give her. Just hoping we can minimize the seizures. We send our love!

  1. I’m happy that Adam Rippon went back to his more normal hair color for the long program and I was happy he skated so well and so emotionally but I am still a bit surprised at his total points. Amazed that I witnessed a 4-quad routine by such a young, promising man who also showed artistry. Max Aaron didn’t let me down as far as his pants went and I was excited to see him fight for everything!

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