Monday, February 3, 2014

Au Revoir, la France! Recap on Our French Cup Experience

What an honor it was to be offered the privilege of being a part of the 20th French Cup Synchronized Skating Competition!  The amazing week started on Tuesday when we landed at the Paris-de Gaulle Airport.  Our tour guide, Desiree, led us to our bus and took us on our tour of Paris. The first stop of the day was lunch at the Hard Rock Café-Paris. We were then shown many beautiful historical monuments like the Arc De Triomphe, the Notre Dame, the Palais de Justice-Paris, the Lock Bridge, and many more.  Our favorite part of the tour was when we had the opportunity to not only see the EiffelTower, but to also be able to go to the very top.  The beautiful panoramic views of the “most romantic city in the world” were breathtaking.  Soon after our exploration of the Eiffel Tower, Desiree took us to shop at one of the most famous streets in the world; the Champs Elysee.  Before we knew it, we were loading our bus with shopping bags in one hand and a quick Parisian dinner in the other.  It was time to continue to Rouen.

As Wednesday arrived, we headed down to the lobby for a nice team breakfast.  Soon after, we were off to the competition rink for our first practice.  It was really nice to be able to get familiar with the ice and our surroundings.  We were really happy with what we had put out there especially after an eight-hour flight and a long day of touring.  Dinnertime quickly approached and we went to our favorite pizzeria, Pizza Pai, where we also celebrated a teammate's birthday.  We surprised her with a cute card and some really good cake.  It was a fun night. 

Wednesday quickly blended into Thursday and we were up at breakfast and quickly at the rink for the next practice.  With another solid practice under our feet, we were feeling very confident in what we had to offer.  We were so excited for the competition to finally begin.  With a two-hour break, we headed back into the city of Rouen for a quick lunch and some more exploration and shopping time.  We had another successful practice that same day that left us feeling better than we did at our earlier practice.  It was nice to hear our coach, Holly, telling us how proud she was of our consistency and teamwork.  With those last practices under our belt before competition, it was time for the competitor’s parade.  It was exciting to walk the streets of Rouen with all the other competitors from different countries around the world.  It ended with a fun flashmob in front of the Palais de Justice-Rouen.  It was a blast! When that was finishing up, Katilyn and I made our way into the building for the draw ceremony with Holly.  After the welcoming speeches, the ceremony began and we found ourselves walking up to this adorable little macaroon stand where we picked a random blue macaroon. The number we’d be skating was on the bottom.  We were ecstatic that we picked twelfth to skate in the short.   We then joined our team at dinner and told them the news about the skating order for the short program.
Competition day quickly snuck up on us and we were boarding the bus for our official practice.  We met up with our team leader, Rick Perez, our team doctor, Carrie, and helping hand, Lois Long, who all gave us encouraging speeches.  Our official practice left us with positive vibes and feelings of readiness and confidence.  We were eager to show everyone a great short program.  We returned to the hotel for rest time, a quick lunch, and then got ready for the competition.  When the primping was finished, we put on our beautiful dresses and hit the road.  We took the ice and the atmosphere was incredible.  It was filled with school children, families, teams, and other spectators.  The two minutes and fifty seconds flew by and before we knew it, we were in the kiss and cry receiving our scores.  We were extremely pleased with our performance and couldn’t wait to show everyone our free skate. The long day ended with a quick dinner back at the hotel and everyone was so happy to get to bed.
Saturday was more or less the same as Friday.  We woke up and went to official practice after our breakfast.  With a quick warm-up, we were lacing our skates for our last practice in France.  Although it was not a perfect practice, we felt good about saving our best performance for later that night.  Like Friday, we arrived back at the hotel for some rest time and a quick lunch.  It was then time to primp for our unique long program.  With our crazy makeup and zig-zag parts, we walked out of the hotel to our bus.  It was time to take the opportunity to show everyone how much we had improved.  While we still did not have a perfect skate, we were incredibly proud that we had two clean skates, and overall, a successful week.  As the competition ended, we ended the day with a quick celebration with our families at dinner.  It was nice to see them after the long week. 
Congratulations to all the teams who competed this week, it was truly a great competition!  We were so thrilled that we were able to compete with some of the best teams in the world.  We want to thank Rick Perez, Lois Long, Cathy Dalton, Carrie (our awesome team doctor), our coaches, managers, and families for all of their support and love.  The Crystallettes are proud of all the immense work everyone has put forward and we cannot wait until the next competition.  Next stop, NATIONALS!!! Can’t wait to see everyone!

Au Revoir,
Sharon and Katilyn

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