Thursday, March 15, 2012

Worlds 2009 Nostalgia: Part IV

Welcome back to my "reflections on 2009 Worlds" series! Friday started out fantastically. I slept in after my late night on Thursday, opting to skip most of the ladies' short program. On my way down to the Wilshire Grand lobby, I shared an elevator with Frank Carroll, and we both headed to the same place - the gift shop to look for a newspaper. I wanted to see what the L.A. Times had to say about Evan Lysacek's big win. Guess Frank wanted to read about his student's triumph, too! We soon discovered the shop was sold out of papers.

I went across the street to Starbucks to find a newspaper and spent the rest of the morning lounging in the lobby and watching the sights (including a totally random but very enjoyable look at Brian Joubert's abs). Before noon, my sister and I went to California Pizza Kitchen again for lunch since it was a Lenten Friday and we couldn't eat meat.

After lunch we walked to the "Star Plaza" outside Staples Center for the men's small medal ceremony. We found a spot along the barricade and got a nice sunburn while we waited almost an hour for the ceremony to begin. Evan and Patrick were all smiles, and Brian was his usual charming self. The guys signed some autographs afterward, but the crowd was chaotic, so we scooted out of the masses and over to the Convention Center for ice dance practice.

It felt so good at practice to be out of the sun. My nervous energy was starting to ramp up, thinking about that night's free dance. Everyone looked solid at practice, and the most noteworthy item was Meryl Davis wore a dress she hadn't worn in competition. We had to get over to Staples to cheer on Alissa Czisny and Rachel Flatt, so we ran over there and found seats a few rows up from our usual first-row ones. Trifun Zivanovic was sitting a couple of rows in front of us. I don't remember much about that event except I enjoyed seeing Joannie Rochette and Mao Asada skate.

We grabbed salads from the McDonald's concession stand for dinner and went outside to eat because we thought it would be warmer than the arena. Wrong. It was windy and not so warm. We walked around to find a sunny spot and had to settle for sitting on the sidewalk near the street. Once we went back inside and settled into our seats for the free dance, I began getting even more jittery as I considered the possibility of Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto winning gold and Meryl Davis/Charlie White winning bronze. By the time the final flight took the ice for the warm-up, I was literally shaking. I texted my friend (who was sitting across the arena) - "I'm feeling short of breath" and she replied that she felt the same.

Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir skated first. I was in love with their Pink Floyd program the first time I saw it on YouTube, and it's still one of my favorites of theirs, but that night I thought Tessa and Scott's lack of training time showed. The program didn't look seasoned enough. Tanith and Ben followed, and even though I was never a fan of their Tosca program, I thought they skated the heck out of it. They couldn't have done any more. Meryl and Charlie were next, and they gave an emotional and powerful performance that will never be forgotten. The crowd was already rising before the program ended. I thought for sure the bronze medal was theirs. But it was not meant to be. Oksana Domnina/Maxim Shabalin skated next, and they looked slow and labored but made no visible mistakes. I had a bad feeling my hopes were about to be crushed again. And I was right, as the judges gave them high marks. Jana Khoklova/Sergei Novitski were the final couple to skate, but I have no idea how they skated because I was too distraught over the results to pay attention.

After the medal ceremony, we retreated to the hotel bar, which was once again super crowded. We ended up on our bench from Thursday night and drowned our sorrows in our cocktails. The bar bouncer continued to scrutinize the skaters who tried to gain entrance. Ben's age was questioned, and Meryl was turned away because she didn't have her ID with her. The usual crew was roaming around in the lobby, including our old friend Samuel Contesti. We ended the night earlier than the prior evening as exhaustion started to catch up to us.

Part V will cover my final day in L.A. - an eventful Friends of Figure Skating reception, the dance small medal ceremony, Yu-Na mania outside Staples, and finally finding a seat in the bar.

Here are my Friday photos:

2009 Worlds - Friday Events

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