This was my first skating competition and I enjoyed every minute of it. I also had the privilege of meeting some of the board members. It is so neat to be able to meet the people that you have corresponded with for a while.
To take in the full flavor of the competition, I attended the practices from Thursday on. Most of the time I got up from 5-5:30 am and was at the rink by 7:30 and would stay until 10:00 pm or whenever the competition was over. I would get to bed by 12:00 and then start the whole routine over the next day.
I thought watching the practices would make the competition boring but it was just as exciting. It was also interesting watching the coaches with their skaters. The biggest surprise was watching Yukina Ota's practice and when she performed her short program, you wouldn't have known that that was what she had practiced. She was just wonderful in her short program with a few surprises. Another surprise was watching Evgeni practice. Laura, Princess Leppard, I thought of you many times while watching him. Evgeni had a very rough practice. He fell a couple of times and I was surprised to see that he would blush when he did. I love his short program. It is to flamenco music and he does such a wonderful job. I will say that I hope they make some adjustments to the music because just when he gets into the footwork (flamenco style) the music changes. It didn't seem to flow real smooth. I know it's early and by Worlds they will have it all fine-tuned. During the short program I noticed that he was skating very cautiously.
It was such a joy for me to watch Sasha Cohen practice. She is really very serious about her skating and I see such a big improvement in her this year. Prior to her practice she came out to the boards and just looked around the rink. Some of the fans rushed over to get pictures and autographs and Sasha very politely told them no, not right now she was concentrating. She stood there for at least 20-30 minutes. I wasn't very far away from her and off to the side so I was able to get a couple of pictures without bothering her. Some of the fans just don't realize that this is the skaters work time and some fans would call them over to the boards and ask for pictures and autographs. I noticed that many of the skaters don't make eye contact just so they can get their practice time in. Evgeni had finished his practice and started to leave when some of the fans asked for autographs and pictures. He was doing this for quite a bit of time when Mishin yelled at him across the rink to get going. It was kind of funny to watch Evgeni stop what he was doing and leave immediately.
Shen & Zhao were also a pleasure to watch practice. They really work hard and they have beautiful programs. They have such style and grace. I am just not pleased that they didn't win the gold.
One of the funny things that happened was prior to the ladies short program, they announced that they were having technical difficulties and would have to fix the problem before the competition started. The ladies started looking for their coats and jumping around to stay warm. Coaches were running every which way looking for their skater's coats. Tatiana being the mother hen took her fur coat off and put it on Sasha. There Sasha was walking around with Tatiana's coat on. It was so funny.
The WOW skate of the competition was by Kevin Van Der Perren. He did a triple, triple, triple in his long program. The crowd went wild. Kevin is coached by Nikoli Morosov and as Kevin skated by Nikoli, he was yelling at Kevin, I'm not sure was he was saying but Nikoli had a big smile on his face and after that when Kevin would jump, Nikoli was jumping right along with him. It was so hard to watch Kevin and Nikoli but it was worth it trying to.
I know that we have had many threads on bad costumes but you are not going to believe Chait and Sakhnovski's costumes. They are clowns and I can't really describe their costumes, you will have to see them to believe it. I think they will win the prize for the worst. I see there is a thread already on costumes. Also, I didn’t think that they were well received at all by the fans. I am surprised that this team trains with Tatiana. Her dancers are for the most part dressed elegantly so I am wondering why these awful costumes.
One of my most wonderful memories of Skate Canada was when Alexei came to the competition. He was there to make a formal announcement of his retirement from eligible skating. He skated his Memorial program, which I don't think has any jumps in it but he skated it with such passion. After reading some other reports today, apparently there are jumps, I was so busy trying to get pictures and watch I did miss some of the program. Then he skated his Racing program and it was so sad to watch this program because he couldn't keep up the speed let alone do the jumps. For me, it was kind of heartbreaking to see him leave or forced to leave competitive skating. He did say he has lots of plans so I hope he will be happy with whatever he chooses to do.
I just wanted to share some of my impressions of the event with you.