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  Thursday, February 21, 2002

Final from the Arena--

Gold : Sarah Hughes

Silver: Irina Slutskaya

Bronze: Michelle Kwan

More when I get a decent line--

8:48:49 PM    

It's Shit and Get Time--

The final group's in warm up and I'm forced to blogg from a PDA.  This sucks.  More news and notes as we know something.

I'm sitting next to an un-named previous Olympic Champion- We're watching the warmups and reminded of the old rule: When the content (jumps and spins) are nearly the same-- the winner is the best intrepretative skater.


8:30:11 PM    

Ladies It's ShowTime!

Life and direct from the Salt Lake City Arena...

Practice is over and coaches or parents have stuffed that last little energy packed meal into their stomachs. It's ShowTime-- once in your life shot at the big one.

A picture named WomensPractice2002.jpg

I sat in practice today, surrounded by other skaters and some members of the media who once were skaters. It was wonderful to sit amongst my own kind for a change. While everyone was happy to be together again, there was an air of nervousness. Everyone had been there before and know exactly what is going through the girls heads on the ice. This is "been there-- done that" club. We all know at this point, there is no room for error, no time for focus and concentration to go flying out the window. You'd better have your head on straight and your shit together. This is IT.

Practice went well for all the skaters, but the nervous tension coming off many of the girls was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Some will handle the pressure. Others will not. Michelle, Sasha and Irina took the ice as if they owned the place. Some of this is from great coaching-- some of preparation that leaves nothing to chance. Sarah looked a little tentative, but once she got on the ice she too came on like gangbusters.

Sasha has been well prepared, and John Nix deserves praise for bring such a wonderful skater to the Games. However is it's Sasha's blunter-bust attitude and youthful inexperience that seems to protect her from the internal realization that she is at THE Olympics? God I hope so. At this point is good. I expect to see Sasha on the podium tonight if she holds it together.

Irnina, the little human jumping machine is taking it in. She's a very internal skater-- projection isn't her strong suit. But damn can that girl, er young lady (at 23) jump! Unless she completely falls apart, expect to see her up there on the medal stand as well-- unless pressure blows her.

And now Michelle: Michelle came out on the practice ice like she pops out on the ice to practice as if it's a normal day at Lake Arrowhead. Business as usual for her. Today you could see her sucking it all in and she was comfortable with it. Someone said, "Look at her. She's really drinking it in and you can tell she's happy with it. She'll be fine." Michelle then spotted our little posse up in the stands and waved and said "Hi! I'm glad all of your are here! This is great! I've got an entire section of coaches!" Jeeze. Talk about confidence. Then she whipped off a solid 35-45 minutes of practice working the sections of her program and making damn sure her triple Lutz took off on the right edge right in front of us. When she hit it right in front of us-- she saw the posse nodding like a bunch of happy parents-- and then the couple times it was as solid, she got those visible cues of it wasn't on target and responded like a dutiful student. Once practice was over, she came over to the boards and told everyone thanks for the help-- everyone in the posse wished her good luck, and she headed off to get lunch.

All of us are going back to the hotel to dress for the dinner we are having and then head back for the event. If I can get the computer in tonight, I'll be blogging from the event. I'm going to miss the first group of skaters--

6:53:24 PM    

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