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Skate America

It’s been a sports-filled viewing weekend in the house. Our Packers are out but we cheered long and hard for Denver and Ben’s downstairs cheering Arizona too. Not looking good for AZ at the moment… But hey, Seattle and New England are out so I can’t really complain.

After an hour at the gym yesterday, Ben and I got home and I settled into several hours of figure skating. If you aren’t aware, I’m kinda totally obsessed with figure skating and have been since I was itty bitty (i.e. 12). When I was watching Ben came in and was able to clearly follow the different elements and we laughed at some great memories of Skate America. How could I have forgotten to write about this!?!

The first stop in the Grand Prix International series this season was Skate America and my jaw hit the floor when I noticed the event was being held in Milwaukee, WI. How/when does that ever happen?! What an opportunity!! I’ve always wanted to see a major skating event and this was a totally realistic and surprisingly inexpensive way to do it. I told Ben I’d be taking off to Mke for a weekend of skating and (shockingly) he said he’d come along so I wouldn’t have to battle Milwaukee traffic. What. A. Guy.

We had planned on leisurely mornings, skating events, nice dinners out, and then more skating events. We drove down on Friday after work, checked into our hotel and then made our way to the arena.

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I can’t tell you how excited I was. The first event was on Friday afternoon and it was pretty empty (probably because more people were at work). We had all-event tickets and settled in for the first events.

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We sat through the first events and then there was a 90min break where they cleared the stands and made everyone go outside into the pouring rain for their “tailgate” party. It was freezing but we tip-toed out and hopped around to stay warm before I shoved my phone into Ben’s hand, yelled “get a picture, ahhhhh!!!!” and ran off to see some random guy walking through the crowd.

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Random to Ben, maybe, but I knew this face – it was Ryan Bradley, one of the past US Figure Skating Champions. Seriously, don’t we look absolutely adorable together?

I immediately texted the picture to my best bud Kari and we proceeded to send back crazy exclamatory texts like a bunch of crazed teenage girls.

They had a lot of past champions wandering about providing commentary on the events and Ryan was covering the men’s event.

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I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they handle fans. Ryan was so incredibly nice. I saw this weekend that he’s now coaching and it was fun to point him out to Ben. πŸ™‚

Commentators:

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I’ll admit that three days of skating was a little much for Ben but I gave him the camera and he was in charge of photos. Plus I was able to teach him about the elements and help him learn to identify some and I think that made it more interesting to him than just seeing people skate around.

I was fascinated by an up-close look at the scoring sheets. We got to glimpse in on the technical judge’s screen where they review moves and assign point values:

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As well as the scoring monitors of the actual judges:

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You don’t get these views on TV!!!

It was freezing when we left at 11pm Friday (OMG) and we crashed back at the hotel at midnight. After a pancake breakfast and a trip to Walmart for a flannel blanket and some snacks, we headed back for 8 more hours of skating Saturday.

The red glow:

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We caught a glimpse of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski but never were able to get to them for a picture. Boo Hoo. I really wanted one with Tara.

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They had signature ops for the American athletes and when we went to get in line for the ladies it was ridiculous. I looked at Ben and said “I don’t need signatures this much, let’s go”. BUT we were right out of the gates for the men and ice dance teams and I’m so glad because we got to chat with the athletes… and snag a few more pictures.

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Here i am with last year’s US Champion Jason Brown (right) and this year’s silver medalist Max Aaron on the left. Most people were just huddling by Jason but I boldly walked around and said, “I need one with both of you guys, now smile like we love each other”. Ha Ha

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So cool!! And yeah, Jason was incredibly, incredibly nice. I couldn’t believe it but it really makes you want to cheer for people who are sweet and appreciative of fans. Madison Chock, on the other hand, not to much…

Or it could have just been the women in general. I was walking down the hallway and spotted Tanith White dashing away from people so she wouldn’t have to sign autographs or whatever and then just stop in the breezeway(?) so I walked on up and asked for a picture. She didn’t seem thrilled but probably didn’t want to be rude so I got one with her too.

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We couldn’t find a place to eat Saturday night – there were only a few restaurants nearby and ended up waiting 45min for service at a fast food burger chain before grabbing our food and dashing back so we wouldn’t miss the next event.

We saw newly crowned US Champs Kayne and O’Shea:

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US Champ Gracie Gold:

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And Jason Brown πŸ™‚ :

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We stayed late for all the medal ceremonies too…

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And Ben was a wonderful sport through it all. ❀

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It was a LOT of sitting and pretty cold being in a rink for an entire weekend but we had a lot of exciting moments that I’ll always remember. I keep wishing the Winter Games would come back somewhere close so I could go again… I’m guessing those will be a bit pricier so I’ll need to start saving now. Ha Ha

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4 Responses

  1. Well, you know I am pretty darn excited about the Broncos! πŸ˜€

    That sounds like a fun weekend. I only skated a little bit as a kid. Sometimes I watch the Olympics, but not always.

  2. I’ve always enjoyed watching the skating at the Winter Olympics. I really liked skating as a kid and I had blue skates which I thought was so neat. Do you still ice skate?

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