This is the first year
I have seen Champions on Ice more than once. The first time was
April 14 in Philadelphia, then June 1 in East Rutherford, NJ, and
finally, August 3 in Las Vegas.
There are so many reviews
of every show, that I will just write a summary of all three shows,
and some things I noticed that took place off-ice. I just wanted
to get my Las Vegas backstage report up first, and then Iíll write
about the actual skating when I get a chance.
First, let me make it
clear I did not go to Las Vegas just to see the show, LOL. We were
planning to go out there for about a week, and it just so happened
to coincide with the day COI would be out there. Of all the shows,
I think this was the best one, other than several skaters missing.
There were very few mistakes that I can remember. Even though we
sat closer (row number wise) in the NJ show, it seemed like we were
closer to the ice here. Maybe part of the reason was in the Vegas
show, there werenít any boards?
Wait, let me rewind
a second for some COI references before the show! As you are leaving
the gate area in the Las Vegas airport, there is this big screen
that advertises shows at the MGM Grand. As we walked past, they
were showing the commercial for COI! After a long flight, that was
nice to see. Also, when you are driving from the airport to the
hotels, thereís a billboard for the show that has a picture of Michelle,
Irina, and another skater I couldnít see because of my angle in
the cab. In addition, in the hotel room, they give you a free magazine
called Showbiz, which has a full page ad for COI, with a pic of
Michelle, Irina and Tim. Finally, outside of the MGM, the commercial
is showing on their HUGE screen. So exciting. :) I kept trying to
take a picture of the sign when they showed Michelle up there...thank
goodness I had a digital camera, or I probably would have wasted
a roll on that alone! I did finally get one during
the day, and one
at night. You have no idea how long it took me to get it, LOL.
I was supposed to have
backstage passes, but they werenít left for me. To make a long story
short, let me just say we had some good luck (I still canít believe
our timing!) in order to finally get the passes that I was supposed
to get. So, a huge thanks to everyone that made it happen. :) I
was at the show with my mom, and online friend Ginny, and was happy
to have been able to get 3 passes so we all could go backstage.
So, after the show is
over, we make our way to the other side of the arena, where we are
supposed to meet before being led backstage. We got there just in
time...as soon as we got there, they were taking us backstage. So,
we ended up towards the front of the line (last year, since I was
towards the middle, I could see who was coming in advance, get ready
etc.) It was different than when I went backstage
last year in Philadelphia. There was no rope, so it seemed more
open, an opportunity to talk with the skaters, rather than just
a line, you know? Also, backstage this time was a hallway, and it
was really bright. In Philadelphia, you went down into the basement
or something, and it was pretty dark. Before I forget, let me say
that instead of getting a program, and having the skaters sign that,
I brought with me pictures I had taken at various events (Nationals,
COI from this year and years past, etc). I thought it would be more
personal for me and the skaters. All the pictures were 4x6, except
the picture of Michelle. For that, I enlarged a picture I took at
Nationals, of her spiral
during practice, to an 8x10.
Right after we got backstage,
I see Danny Kwan walk by. Then, I see Naomi Lang and Angela Nikodinov
(no she was not in the show, but I have heard she watches the show
a lot) walk by. I look around at everyone standing there doing nothing,
and ask the security guy, what just happened? LOL, I asked if they
were coming back. He said you have to call their names. So I see
Naomi way down the line, and couldnít believe I missed her. I didnít
know if I should try to go down the line to catch her or what, but
I stayed put. I also couldnít believe I missed Angela. She looked
beautiful, BTW. Her hair was curly, it looked adorable. I was upset
I missed her, and that I didnít bring one of the pics I took from
Nationals (I have some great
pictures of her from that event!), in case she came back. Oh
well, she never came back. Anyway, as we are standing there, not
believing we just let two skaters walk past us, a petite girl casually
walks by, with a big hat, carrying skates in her hands. I tell my
mom to take the pic of Michelle out of the envelope, in case Michelle
goes by fast or something. Then, the guy next to me says, ďMichelle
just passed by.Ē I kind of stare at him like, do you really think
I would let Michelle just pass me by? And I look up see the
back of the girl I mentioned before and know itís Michelle. Ginny,
my mom, and I just stare at each other. I think Ginny and I started
laughing, not believing after all of this, we missed Michelle! I
have no idea why I found this so funny, but I couldnít stop laughing.
My momís upset, but I think, oh well, what can we do now?
Then, I see Ann Patrice
McDonough. When I saw she was in the show, I was really happy I
decided to bring a picture
of her I took at Nationals. I wasnít sure she would be there,
but I was hoping! As soon as I saw her, I called her name (should
I have called ďAnn PatriceĒ or ďAPĒ or ďAnnĒ? Iím not sure, but
I yelled ďAnn PatriceĒ), and she came over. She signed my picture,
and I stupidly didnít ask for a picture, LOL. Then she kept walking.
So then I see Lou, a
security guard with the tour. I know thatís who he is because Iíve
seen his picture online, and Iíve heard nice stories about him on
the forum, how heís helped get things to Michelle, etc. So, I figure,
what do I have to lose? I ask him, ďare you Lou?Ē And he says yes.
So I asked about Michelle, and he said she was in a rush because
she had to catch a plane (the next day I realized of course, she
flew to LA for the Teen Choice Awards.) I somehow explain how we
came from NJ, and I have a site (I think I said that), and I think
I kind of shoved the pic of Michelle in his face. LOL, OK, I didnít,
but I know I showed it to him, and he said ďWow! Well, Iíll see
what I can do.Ē I, at that pointm thought Michelle had left...
Then, Naomi comes by
again! Yea! I yell her name, and she comes over. I ask her to sign
the picture of I have from 2001 Nationals of her and Peter with
their medals, and then I ask for a picture. All these skaters are
so beautiful closeup. Hmm, I should have asked her about Angela.
After she left, I said something to the people around me that I
shouldnít be the only one yelling the skaters names, LOL. At some
point around this time, Nicole apparently walked by. I was saying
towards the end of the night the skaters I hadnít seen yet, and
my mom said she saw her pass by around the time we missed Michelle.
Then Timothy Goebel
came our way. He signed my picture
from Nationals and I asked him for a picture. He put his arm
around me, and I finally got a nice picture of Tim (none of my Tim
picture seem to come out right, for some reason!) I think I blurted
something about congratulating him on his great season, but maybe
it never came out, LOL. After Tim, I saw Victor Kraatz, and he signed
picture from NJ COI. He looks so different with his new haircut.
I never saw Shae Lynn, so I must have missed her.
Then, Lou came back
to us, and told us to follow him, and the next thing we know, weíre
right by Michelle! I actually had something planned to say, but
that all went out of my head, and I just put my picture by her,
and she signed it. I asked for a picture, and she said sure. I didnít
even move close to her, I have no idea why, LOL. She looks great
in the picture, but Iím at a weird angle, so I look horrible. Anyway,
then she moved away. I actually had something else I wanted to get
signed, and like I said, I didnít even say anything, not my name,
nothing about my site or the forum, nothing. I could have even moved
farther down the line to try to catch her again, but I didnít, I
just went back to where we were originally. I canít believe myself.
Anyway, then I saw Peter
Tchernyshev, and I called his name. He said heíd be over soon. A
little while later, Michael Weiss came by, and he signed my picture
from Nationals. My mom asked about his kids, and he said theyíve
been in bed for hours. I got a picture with him, and for some reason,
thatís the only picture that came out strangely dark. Right after
Michael came Elvis Stojko. He was the only one I didnít have a great
picture to get signed (thatís my fault because I have a great
digital picture of him from the NJ COI that I didnít get printed
out by mistake.) So, the picture I have is from the finale in Philadelphia,
and you can hardly see that itís him, but he signed it anyway. ;)
Then I got my picture taken with him (it was not dark like Michaelís
picture was, so it was a weird camera quirk I guess.), and so did
Then Surya Bonaly came
by. The two guys next to me must have been huge fans of hers (maybe
they knew her?), they gave her flowers and everything. It was really
nice. She talked with them for a while. Then she came over to us,
and she signed the picture
I had from NJ COI. She commented on what a nice picture it was,
and asked where it was from. I told her it was from the New Jersey
show, and that this was the third show Iíve seen. I think she kind
of exclaimed ďNew Jersey, wow!Ē She took a long time to sign the
picture (I noticed I said that last year, too!), not only signing
her name, but the year, a ying yang sign, and a skate blade. :)
And then I got a picture with her.
Then, Peter finally
came by us. I showed him my picture from last yearís Nationals that
Naomi had already signed. He really liked the picture. I actually
have what seems like a million copies of this picture, and if I
had known he liked it so much, I would have brought a copy for him.
Anyway, I said something like ďItís from last yearís Nationals,
which you know, obviously.Ē LOL, I say such stupid things! He asked
if I was at Nationals last year, and I said that Iíve been at the
last two Nationals. Also, as he was signing the picture, I told
him I heard about the coaching change and congratulated him on that.
He said ďyea, thank you!Ē After getting the picture, my mom said
something about how they deserve a gold medal. On another note,
I noticed both Naomi and Peter both wrote ďUSAĒ under their names.
I had seen Viktor Petrenko
earlier, and he was standing against the wall across from me for
a while. So, I finally went up to him and asked him to sign my picture
(I think itís from 1998 COI, itís not really the best picture),
and got a picture with him. Around this time, Lou was walking by,
saw us, and said something like, "see, did I help or what?"
Yes, he did. :)
Irina Slutskaya was next.
Iíve noticed it throughout the tour, but I love her hair, the way
sheís growing it out. It looks adorable. She seems so different
when you see her off the ice. On the ice she looks so powerful,
but standing next to her, sheís so small. She signed a pic I took
at the NJ
show, and I got a picture with her.
After Surya, Isabelle
Brasseur came by, and she signed a picture I had of her and Llyod
Eisler from 1998 COI. I didnít get a chance to get a picture with
her though. After going back to my spot from getting a picture with
Viktor, I saw Llyod had passed us already, and was with Isabelle,
talking with a few people. I moved towards them, and saw Llyod had
this huge bandage over his forearm. I only heard the end of the
story, so Iím not sure exactly what happened, but I think he sliced
some tendons and ligaments or something? Unbelievable, especially
considering how they were able to skate with an injury like that.
I was just standing there, not wanting to interrupt, and the woman
standing next to Llyod told me to go ahead. So I went over, and
he signed my picture.
Next was Philippe Candeloro.
I had two color pens, black and silver, since some pictures had
black backgrounds, and some had light backgrounds. Philippe started
signing with his own pen (black), and I said he could use the silver
one if it was better (I gave most the silver pen before they signed,
but I didnít get a chance this time). But, he said it was too late,
he already started signing with that pen. It was funnier when it
happened than me telling it I guess, LOL. Ginny and I both got in
a picture with him.
Around this time, Michelleís
mom passed by holding Michelleís dog. Iím not a dog person, but
thatís one adorable dog. :) My mom tried to get a picture of the
two of them, but she could never get the right angle. Next was Rudy
Galindo. I had a picture from the Philadelphia COI show, when he
did his costume change right in front of us. He looked at the picture,
and said something about what a cute picture it was, or something
to that effect. He asked where it was from, and I said which show
it was, again how it was the 3rd show Iíd seen. He had the same
reaction Surya had about that, ďwow!Ē So he was looking at the picture,
trying to decide where to sign, and he joked ďI guess Iíll sign
it over the white haired ladyís head.Ē And Ginny (who does not have
white hair, LOL) was laughing, I think she said something (?) and
Rudy said ďoh, thatís not you is it?Ē and we laughed no. So we all
had a good laugh about that. That is where he signed the picture,
BTW, and he only signed the picture ďRudy.Ē And then I got my picture
taken with him.
I saw Oksana Kazakova
signing some autographs, so I went over and she signed the picture
I had from the NJ show. A little later on, Artur Dmitriev walked
by us, and I just caught him. He looked at my picture, and commented
like the others, asking where it was from. As he signed, he said
it was a really nice picture.
We stayed around a little
while after that, but they had all left. Some skaters we missed
were Evgeni Plushenko (I saw him, but he passed by as we were with
another skater, I forget who though), Elizabeth Punsalan & Jerod
Swallow (I saw him around a lot, but I must have missed when he
walked by us. I never saw her), Irina Grigorian (I saw her, but
must have missed when she was near us. Sheís so tall, especially
for a skater! I was upset at that point I didnít have with me this
picture of her I took during the NJ show), Dan Hollander (didnít
see him at all, obviously I missed him), and Vladimir Besedin &
Oleksiy Polishuk (I saw them, but didnít get an autograph or picture.)
We all had so much fun.
Even if we hadnít gotten any pictures or autographs, just seeing
the skaters being so nice is so much fun. After we left, you walk
outside towards the hotel. I know most of the skaters were staying
there for the night, and I guess some others at the show thought
so too. There were a lot of fans sitting along where you have to
walk to get into the hotel. I saw Elvis walk through, and sign autographs.
A couple days after
the show, we were in the airport waiting to leave. We saw Isabelle
Brasseur, Rocky Marval, and their daughter, who is absolutely adorable.
Rocky and their daughter were on our (hour and a half delayed) plane.
She was very well behaved on the plane, BTW. :) In the airport,
she was running around a bit, and my mom joked to Isabelle that
she should put skates on her. Isabelle laughed and said that she
should be wearing her skates, so she could catch her!
Hope you enjoyed my
backstage Las Vegas report. I know I always forget/miss something
by the time I write these up. Hopefully if thereís something I miss,
Iíll remember it by the time I finish writing my report of the actual
Check out my
pictures from the show and backstage!
Last updated August
/ Reviews and Reports
Photo © Heather Winfield