Sunday, January 8, 2012

U.S. Nationals Nostalgia: St. Louis 2006

Nationals 2006 in St. Louis had some never-before-seen moments that brought even more excitement to the already highly-charged Olympic year competition. One of those moments was the reunion of all the American Olympic champions, as seen in the photo to the left. This was a very emotional scene, seeing all the greats together for the first time.

Another moment of history came in the pairs free skate when Rena Inoue and John Baldwin completed the first throw triple axel. I almost leaped out of my seat when Rena landed the move, and my camera fell to the floor (it was unharmed, thank goodness!). I was also excited that Aaron Parchem made the Olympic team with Marcy Hinzmann since he'd narrowly missed making it in 2002 with Stephanie Kalesavich. There was a new pair team, Tiffany Scott and Rusty Fein, who I wish would've skated more than one season together. I thought they had a really unique style. Here's a photo of them after practice . . . notice Yuko Kavaguti and Tamara Moskvina in the background! Yuko skated with Devin Patrick at Nationals that year.

Ice dance had seen an offseason of shake-ups with a couple of new high-profile partnerships being formed. Brent Bommentre had parted ways with Kendra Goodwin, and he was now teamed with Kim Navarro. They had great chemistry from Day One, and their Michael Buble free dance was the performance of the night. The other new partnership was Jamie Silverstein and Ryan O'Meara. I'd been an uber-fan of Jamie and her former partner Justin Pekarek, and I was crushed when they split before the 2000-2001 season. When she and Ryan earned the third spot on the Olympic team, I screamed right along with her!

The focus in the men's event was once again on Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek, but Matt Savoie stole the show in the free skate. His program to music from The Mission captivated the audience with its sensitive choreography. Matt sat in fourth place behind Michael Weiss after the short program. Mike skated last in the free skate, and I felt like I couldn't breathe while waiting for his scores. Finally, they came up and showed Matt had finished third and made the Olympic team. Another second chance taken advantage of!

The ladies' event wasn't quite the same without Michelle Kwan, who'd withdrawn due to injury. All I wanted was for Kimmie Meissner to earn a spot on the Olympic team, and that she did. The big talk at the event was whether Michelle would get a medical bye to the Olympics. She did but of course never competed since she reinjured herself at the Games.

When I was looking through my photos from the event, I found this video I took at the men's free skate warm-up. It shows Nick Laroche, Rohene Ward, Ryan Jahnke, Parker Pennington, Michael Villareal, and Scott Smith signing autographs. And you can hear the lady next to me fangirling over Scott.

Next up will be Spokane 2007 - a city filled with figure skating mania, a dream pairs podium, Evan Lysacek's jaw-dropping free skate, and Meryl Davis and Charlie White make a splash.


  1. Sasha won that year :) I remember she was really ill that week but performed well in winning her first title.