MICHELLE IS IN THE HOUSE!!!!!
I have great news for all of you! Here goes: I got to the Target
Center right as the doors opened and found out that Michelle is
in Qualifying Group A #18 (long program). That meant that she would
be skating in 15 minutes!! YEAH, I didn't miss her. I saw her dad
outside as I walked in and said "Hello". I asked him how she was
doing and he said "OK". I was a little curious at that response!
I got in there and there weren't that many people in the stands.
I sat close to where I could get her autograph and was very close
to the ice. When she finally appeared we all gasped with excitement.
"There she is!" was whispered all around. Some cheered quietly and
everyone smiled. I think that having to wait all this time to see
her made today even more exciting. She looked very beautiful and
relaxed. There were some media people there but because of the early
hour it was relatively quiet. She took the ice and was announced
and we cheered as loud as we could. She smiled and seemed to enjoy
the very partisan crowd.
She warmed up a few
single jumps and then began to knock off all the triples and the
2 axel. She landed a few clean 3 lutz, 2 toe combos. (from now one
I am going to use these abbreviations for jumps) x=axel, z=lutz,
f=flip, l=loop, s=salchow, t=toe.
As Michelle was practicing
I saw Midori Ito walking around in the stands. I recognized her
immediately (she is almost smaller than Tara) and got her autograph!
I then decided to go
over to where Frank was so I could see her face close up and get
a few pictures. I saw them working together and she seemed to be
having a good time. At one point my friend heard Frank say "Now
skate like a bat out of hell" and she said "OK"! When she did her
run-through she did everything perfect except for doubling the loop.
I also noticed that she replaced the 3l 2t with the old 3t 2t.
She later singled an
axel and did do the 3l 2t combo. She did not fall once in this practice
session! After they were done I got in position for an autograph
(I brought her book with) and was able to see her very close. When
she was signing my book she looked at me and I told her that I consider
it a gift every time I get to see her skate. She seemed flattered
and pleased and said "Thank you". I smiled and said "No, Thank you!"
It was so exciting to talk to her! She was so lovely and gracious
to everyone! Frank finally came and took her away before she could
The next group included
Vanessa Gusmerolli, Maria B, Yankun Du, Silvia (ITA) and a few others.
I cheered when Vanessa came out and she smiled at me. She didn't
exactly have a great practice but I still like her anyway! Silvia
landed a few nice jumps but mostly impressed us with the beauty
in her appearance and skating. Yankun fell a lot and seemed discouraged.
Tanja was back and as
beautiful as ever. Her run-through was a little ragged including
a fall and a popped axel. She got the other triples though (including
the 3l) and still smiled through it all.
I saw Brian Boitano
show up in the announce booth and got very excited. I hoped to get
his autograph but didn't know how or when.
I left and went to parade
and unfortunately saw Meno & Sand as they were taking their final
bows at the end of their practice. They look good and I got their
autographs afterwards. Apparently we heard from others who saw them
skate that they skated well and Ina & Dungjen had an awesome practice
including several side by side 3t's.
I saw a few men today
too. Yagudin landed a 4t, 3x 3t, 3f 3t, and all the others perfectly
as well. He had a very good death drop not quite a Boitano but very
The Canadian pairs were
not particularly impressive but Xue & Hongbo were! They could medal
here especially if Ina & Dungjen falter. They have the best 3t's
around and a great 2 and 3 twist.
I went back to the beginning
of the men's qualifying competition and saw Dick Button in the announce
booth. It was fun to see him for real. BTW, he looks bigger than
Zagorodniuk (UKR) skated
well and landed 3x 2t, tano z, 3f, 3l, 3s and popped something probably
3t. His scores were between 5.2-5.8. I think he is in 3rd place
in the men's group A. Weiss, Shmerkin and Cousins were next. Weiss
was first and skated great! GO USA!! He fell on the 3x in warm-up
but then landed it right after. In the performance he landed everything
including the 4z (2 footed though) He had a 3t 3t and 3x 2t. The
only problem was a scary landing on the 3l. He smiled and obviously
didn't seen too concerned. He seemed to run out of gas at the end
but landed a 3z no problem. The crowd was waving flags and cheering
him loudly. He is after all the first American to compete at these
worlds and he represented us well! CONGRATS MICHAEL! His scores
were 5.4-5.8. He stayed in first until you-know-who skated (later....)
Stephen Cousins had
a pretty good skate but stumbled on his 3x. The crowd loves him
here and his scores were 4.8-5.5.
I went back to parade
to see Michelle and saw the end of the OD practice with Krylova
& Ovsiannikov. They looked great and I caught them afterwards for
autographs. I asked her about the OD music and she didn't know what
the name was nor did he!! BTW, She is very tall compared to the
other skaters. I watched Michelle stretch and warm up with Frank
from an observation level sort-of and she was only about 10 feet
away from us and behind the glass and down about 10 feet. It was
fun to watch her interact with him. They were joking around and
having fun. She had on a wonderful sleeveless dress that was black
crushed velvet with some green smoothed into it, very classy. She
took to the ice and again the crowd went wild. Her run-through of
the short was absolutely perfect and gorgeous. She fell on one 3z
and stepped out of another but all the others were perfect and many
in combination with the 2t. I haven't seen her try any 3 3 combo's
at all yet. I found out from a reliable source that Todd did great
at qualifying, did not do a quad but is solidly in first place with
mostly 5.7-5.9 marks. He even got a standing ovation!
When I came back to
the Target Center I walked past Dick Button talking to Todd's mom
but didn't recognized him right away (his back was to me) when I
was going up the stairs I saw him and went back down to get his
autograph. He obliged and I joked with him about his picture on
his id badge. He is winking and trying to look silly!
I then went upstairs
to try to see if Brian was still around and believe it or not I
almost literally ran into him. He was rushing somewhere and I saw
him and said "Brian, Hi, can I get your autograph" He said there
was an emergency and said he'd be back. He did come back (how sweet)
and signed his book for me. He talked with my friend Laura & I for
a while and was very nice. What an honor!!
I saw Alexander Zhulin
but couldn't get his autograph. He must be coaching / choreographing
for someone here??? I also saw Nina Petrenko but no baby and no
Viktor. I must say that it is hard to watch the skating sometimes
when you've got Boitano, Button, Heiss, Underhill, Ito, Doug Leigh,
Alexsei Mishin, Cathy Casey & Galina hanging around!!!!
Plushenko did great
in the qualifying and also got a standing ovation. As of 2 days
ago he wasn't even going to be competing but now that Ilya withdrew
he's in! Watch out world here all 15 years of him comes! He was
amazing and landed perfectly a 4t, 3x 3t, 3z 3t, 3f, 3l & 3s, His
Biellman spin is getting better and was very good tonight. His scores
were almost all 5.7-5.9! The poor Mexican guy didn't even land one
clean triple, It was so sad!! The crowd tried to cheer him on but
he was last place for sure. He skated with about half the speed
of all the other skaters and looked scared to death.
Guo Zhengsin (CHN) landed
2 clean 4t's and 2 3x's but was still at the bottom of the list
I noticed that there
are even microphones to capture crown noise here!
Last of the noteworthy
skaters was Alexsei Yagudin who landed everything perfectly as well.
including 3x 3t, 3z 3t, 3x, 3z, 3s & 3l (no quad). He only is in
second place behind Plushenko in group B.
I can't believe how
many famous people are here, I am going crazy!!!
I will get to see Katia
and Kurt tomorrow, are you jealous???? :)
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Photo © Heather Winfield