Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Suiting Up in Salzburg

Hello again from Miami senior!

January has definitely been a jam-packed month for the world of synchronized skating! But for me, like many of you out there, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. As for us here at Miami University, we’re all back in the good ole USA and getting started in a new semester of classes (and maybe recovering from some jet lag).

Our final day in Austria was devoted entirely to the long program. We woke up and indulged in our final yummy breakfast at the hotel and began getting ready for official practice. We were 13th to skate in a group of 14 teams, so when we arrived at the rink we were able to watch a few of the other teams before heading to warm-up. I always love to watch teams skate, but it is especially fascinating to see teams from different parts of the world perform. The programs are so unlike any you see in the United States.  

Our first run of the program in official practice was a little shaky, little stumbles here and there, a fumble in the group lift. We exited the ice feeling a little disheartened that our program was not being performed to the fullest potential, a potential we had consistently performed in practices back home. However our coach was not worried about the competition that evening, she was confident in our abilities and gave us a short pep talk in the locker room before we left the rink. We returned to our hotel with a renewed confidence and soon began prep for competition. Before meeting up with our coaches for a video review, we came together as a team and went over the expectations we held for ourselves and talked about what we wanted to accomplish later that evening. When we arrived back at the arena we were focused and ready show our freeskate to an international audience for the first time. Before entering our warm-up area we were approached by several Finnish skaters who asked us to trade the mini American flags we had in our hair for the flags of Finland that they were wearing. It was awesome to see all of the different flags that the skaters had accumulated and were displaying in their hair throughout the evening. Finally, we “suited up” and took the ice for our “Deck of Cards” themed long program. The funny thing was that as soon as our music began, many of the audience members started to sing along with the music even though it is completely instrumental. As it turns out, the piece we skate to was written by several Austrian composers, and lots of people from Europe are familiar with it.
We completed the program and were happy with the performance. However we still feel like we want to grow even more than we have over this past month of competition craziness! Once the senior event ended, all of the teams took the ice for the awards ceremony and were all organized to come together to form the Olympic rings on the ice surface. This was a really awesome sight to see, but of course with this image and with the winter Olympics coming up next month, it brings to mind the ever present question: why not synchro? Over the past year I have definitely seen an increase in interest in this sport we love so much, in both social media (#WhyNotSynchro2018) and even in national news. It is always great to see progress being made towards this goal of having synchronized skating in the Olympic Games, and it is certainly something I hope to see achieved within the next several years.  Until then, we are always honored to have this privilege of representing our country in both international assignments and at the World Championships. Being able to see new places and interact with people from different countries, all while representing the United States is truly one of the greatest opportunities we are offered in this sport.

In closing, we left the beautiful city of Salzburg in the early hours of Sunday morning and headed back to the country and school we love so much. To summarize this trip, I will look to my teammate and fellow DREAMer, Ashley Mulhern who put it so eloquently; “Five countries, 2 buses, 2 planes, 20 skaters, and 22 hours… Finally back to the one country we couldn’t be more proud to represent.”  And now that we are back, Miami Skating is definitely ready and eager get to work over the next few weeks to prepare for the National Championships!

Congratulations to all teams that competed this weekend, either at the Mozart Cup or at the Midwestern and Pacific Sectional Championships, and best of luck to everyone over the next few weeks!

Love & Honor,


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