Thursday, January 19, 2012

U.S Nationals Nostalgia: Greensboro 2011

We've reached our final stop on the trip down Nationals memory lane - Greensboro 2011. I thought Greensboro was an excellent host with great organization, and I loved the quick and easy flights I took there. The host hotel, the Sheraton, was huge and had a great little cafe for cheap breakfast and lunch. And the cafe was adjacent to the lobby, so it was right in the middle of all the action.

Greensboro also had the best setup of any Nationals as far as practice arenas go. The main arena and the practice arena were connected, as was the site of Fan Fest, so we could easily hop from one venue to another. Fan Fest had some cool events, including an appearance by speed skater Joey Cheek. I got to hold his Olympic gold medal!

On to the competition - the men's free skate was phenomenal! It seemed like we were on our feet giving standing ovations the entire afternoon. Some of the most memorable performances for me came from Jason Brown, Ricky Dornbush, and Ross Miner. Watching the young guys step up and lay down perfect, amazing programs was so awesome. And seeing Ricky and Ross's ecstatic faces on the podium was so much fun. Oh, and I can't forget to mention Jonathan Cassar's Schindler's List free skate that had the audience completely captivated. The beauty of Jon's skating plus the haunting music made for a sublime combination.

In ice dance, Meryl Davis and Charlie White continued their winning ways, capturing their third National title, and Maia and Alex Shibutani blew onto the senior scene with two WOW performances. Their feel-good free dance brought the audience to its feet at the end.

After the dance medal ceremony late Saturday night,  I experienced some unexpected drama. My friends and I were waiting to take pictures of the medalists after they'd done all their official duties, and the ushers wanted us to clear the building. Team Canton was still on the ice, taking photos with the kids practicing for the exhibition the next day, and we were waiting for them to make it to the exit. As we stood in the front row, one of the ushers got on his radio and called the police for "crowd control." Because three other girls and I were so dangerous, LOL! We had some good laughs as we high-tailed it out of there.

I hope you've enjoyed this series of Nationals reflections! It's been eleven years of great memories, and I hope San Jose 2012 will bring more great ones. Look for my reports and photos starting Wednesday!

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