Monday, June 15, 2009

Let's Start At The Very Beginning

Because as Fraulein Maria sang in The Sound of Music, it's a very good place to start. When you read you may begin with A-B-C, but when you attend a skating competition you begin at the practice sessions. And this is exactly where I started my week at Worlds, watching the ladies take the practice ice at Staples on Monday night. As far as practice sessions go, it was fairly uneventful with the exception of being rather crowded for a practice session.

Even though she has not competed since 2005, Michelle Kwan still garnered one of the first posters put up in the arena. (Disclaimer for all photos: Click to enlarge and see details. Can you believe I didn't discover the manual zoom until 3 weeks after the event!?!)

The next morning I woke up early so I could leisurely stroll over to Staples, which would become my home away from home for the following five days. That was probably a good thing since I was woefully underwhelmed with my room at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel.

I actually bypassed the main arena so that I could meet up with my friend at the mens' practice session being held next door at the L.A. Convention Center. We were amazed that they built an ice surface so quickly after the Adult/Porn Expo that had concluded just two days earlier.

Brian Joubert of France seemed to be the most accessible top-level skater all week, both to the media and his fans.

Finally it was time to head back to Staples and find our seats. We were pleased to find out that we were seated just over the judges' shoulders.

Competition ice, ready to be skated on.
And we're off! The first skaters to take the ice were the ice dancers, skating this year's compulsory dance, the Paso Doble. In compulsory dance, the skaters do two rounds of the same exact pattern. They have a little bit of leeway at the start and the end to personalize it, but otherwise it is all exactly.the.same. In other words, it can get pretty damn boring quickly. The Paso Doble however, is probably the most exciting compulsory dance, so at least we had that to keep us going.

A lot of the guys seemed to be channeling Edward from Twilight. I'm not sure how or why vampires = Paso Doble. This guy took the award for most Edward-iest.
The Russian team of Domnina and Shabalin were the one of the favorites heading in to the competition. I thought their opening pose was pretty kick ass. I can't say I've ever rested my skate blade on someone's neck, but it sounds sort of cool. Hmmm, maybe this is where the Twilight connection comes in??
The top American ice dancers, Belbin and Agosto, took the ice shortly after their rivals. In a weird "only in ice skating" twist, both teams have the same coach and train at the same facility.
Another American team, Davis and White, also drew a lot of attention. They haven't been skating at the senior level very long, but they made a splashy debut last year and have been considered serious contenders ever since. One or two decades ago, it would have been impossible for such a young team to be ranked so highly. Figure skating judging may still have a long way to go, but it really has come a long way already.
After all the compulsory dances were over, we all walked over to L.A. Live for dinner. The "we" refers to some great people I met -- some years ago, some just this year -- through FSU. From left to right: A, her fabulous mom, C, V & R.
We were lured in by Yard House's 50% off happy hour drinks and appetizers. I've never been a huge fan of any of the entrees I've tried there previously, but the appetizers were surprisingly good.

Crab Cakes:

Seared Ahi:

Mango Martini:
After dinner we headed back to Staples for the Pairs' Short Program. Apparently I didn't take any photos during that segment. I think R and I were clutching each other in fear way too much. There wasn't much else one could do while watching many of the pair teams launch into throw jumps or rotating lifts. Thankfully there were no spectacular crashes.


10yearstogether said...

I'm glad you're blogging about this! I am still pretty impressed that you took a week of vacation for worlds - that's dedication.

amber said...

I'm giggling at all the skating Edwards that were out there. ;)

Serendipite said...

Welcome back!

A Feminist Gold Digger said...

Your ice skating posts crack my shit up.

{grace} said...

I'm LMAO at the Edward Cullen comparison.

Despite my best efforts, I am now obsessed with Twilight and am on the 2nd book, so I actually got the Edward reference, lol.