Monday, July 13, 2009

The Final Stretch

I realized this weekend that I better finish writing about my last trip before we head out on our next trip in a few weeks, otherwise I'd have no hope of ever catching up. Just two more skating posts after this one and I'm done!

Friday was a long day, starting with the ladies' short program at 8:30 am or thereabouts. With almost 50 entries, there were lots of zamboni breaks.

While some of the lower-ranked ladies skated inside, the mens' champions had a public medal ceremony just outside the arena. This feature was unique to Worlds. Judging by the crowds, the fans seemed to love it.

R and I opted to make a quick trip to Starbucks at L.A. Live and watched the festivities from across the street.Remember Brian Joubert (far right), who ended up in third place after some silly mistakes? He looked awful at the ceremony. Clearly someone had been drowning their sorrows the previous night.

When we walked back into the arena we glanced over our shoulders and had a Michelle Kwan sighting! The Kween wasn't scheduled to provide commentary until the following day, but she was there to take some notes on the top female competitors. Maybe she's trying to assess her chances for a comeback? One can only hope!!! I did feel slightly bad for some of the competitors though, since at certain points more people in our area were watching the Kween rather than whoever was on the ice.

Joining her in the booth was the legendary Dick Button. Uncle Dick has received some criticism for being too mean (he once infamously referred to a well-liked skater as a "refrigerator break" during a prime-time broadcast), but he just gets feistier and more un-PC with age. Consider him the Simon Cowell of skating commentators.

America's hopes rested on the shoulders of its reigning national champion, Alissa Czisny. Unfortunately, however, her shoulders could not handle the pressure. When she is on, she is truly an elegant, beautiful skater with unbelievable spins. But she is classified, with good reason, as a headcase. It's a shame. I hope that she is ale to straighten out her issues before the Olympic season begins.

As much as I love the sport, I know that one cannot live on skating alone. So I left the arena in the late afternoon to meet up with 10YearsTogether at the Wilshire Grand hotel. Coincidentally, that was the official hotel for all the skaters and officials.
We walked over to Chaya and got a head start on snacking while waiting for the other fab ladies (and one cool dude). If you are ever looking for a good happy hour location, Chaya would fit the bill. Much more food and several more drinks eventually made their way to the table, but I completely forgot about taking pictures once we all started talking.

Mr. Monkey took the official group picture. From left to right: Weezermonkey, 10YT, me, Insomniac, Wan and PinkObssessed.

As much as I wanted to stay, I had to tear myself away from the group and head back to Staples for the ice dance finals. As usual, the ice dance discipline provided the most interesting costumes. Roger took one look at the Israeli ice dance team during warm-ups and figured out that they were skating to Jesus Christ Superstar. Eventually the jumbotron confirmed his suspicion. The man is psychic.

The baby Italians had cute and slightly preppy outfits for their performance set to Love Story.

The French team continued to take its design inspiration from hookers. During one of the breaks I spied Frank Carroll in the next section over. Between his own accomplishments as a skater, the skaters he has coached to the most elite levels and the sheer number of years he has been entrenched in the sport, I truly hope he writes a book someday. I would snap it up in a heartbeat. With all the behind-the-scenes info he is sure to have, I'm sure it would be a scintillating read. The American teams did not disappoint. Belbin & Agosto performed passionately to Tosca. In light of the fact that they had sat out most of the season due to Ben having a major back injury, they were phenomenal. There was only one slight moment of hesitation before one of the lifts, which I probabky wouldn't have even noticed had we not been sitting so close.

Davis & White had an outstanding performance that sadly turned out to be the biggest "wuz robbed" moment of the competition. They finished just off the podium, despite the fact that they skated a difficult piece brilliantly and brought the crowd to its feet. The crowd actually booed when their scores were posted; they deserved much higher. But Meryl & Charlie, ever the class act, did not complain and instead attempted to quietly shush their booing fans while being broadcast over the jumbotron from the Kiss n' Cry area.

The final standings. The Russians were on top despite an underwhelming performance. And the Canadian team, who have been on the scene longer than Davis & White, just edged them out for third place. The more things change in ice dancing, the more things stay the same. My friend Lois was so disgusted with the judging that she boycotted the medals ceremony. I don't think she was the only one.