Here is what I have learned today:
After a challenging short program, twenty-two year old Viktoria Helgesson's attention turned to her sister who was to skate in the second group. "Of course I hope that she skates much better than I did today," she said. And that she did, younger sister Joshi finished in third place with a strong short program. The sisters are skating together for the first time in a Grand Prix event, and seemed genuinely happy that they could share this experience. Mother Christina was a European Championships competitor "a long time ago". This family is a class act from the word go, and I can only hope that they are both successful in the freeskate tomorrow afternoon.
Speaking of family, Alexe Gilles is the last of her family to be skating on the elite level. Twin sister Piper is in Los Angeles now studying to become an actress, while brother Todd is doing a lot of coaching. Gilles said that it is odd at times being the only one heading to the rink to train, but as a singles skater, she doesn't find it surprising. All of the Gilleses continue to support Alexe's skating, and she is excited to have landed the first triple-triple in a short program competition of her career here in Portland.
Along with the six Americans competing in the dance competition, three others (Canadian Kaitlyn Weaver, and Japan's Cathy and Chris Reed) have competed in the US Figure Skating system. Weaver won the pewter medal on the junior level at the 2006 US Championships with her partner Charles Clavey. At those same championships, the Reeds won the novice gold medal. Not a bad showing by Americans here in Portland!
Paul Poirier explained that he would like to grow some facial hair for Movember, a moustache growing charity drive, but he just can't make it happen. Instead at the end of the month, he will stick on his fu manchu fake moustache that was given to him after he skated an original dance with a fake moustache painted on his face.
After missing the men's short program yesterday, Adrian Schultheiss's coach Evgeni Lutkov was taken to the hospital for an undisclosed illness. He has been treated and released, and rumor has it that he will be present for Adrian's freeskate tonight.