We've reached the final installment in my look back at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships. To start my last day in Los Angeles, we did a little bit of sightseeing on Hollywood Boulevard. The usual freaky people dressed in costumes were out in force. I'd seen the Walk of Fame and Mann's Chinese Theater before, so we didn't spend too much time there. We took the subway back downtown and walked directly over to the ESPN Zone to get in line for the Friends of Figure Skating reception.
The event was packed with supporters excited to mingle with members of Team USA. After everyone sampled the buffet, a group of athletes - Meryl Davis/Charlie White, Emily Samuelson/Evan Bates, Caydee Denney/Jeremy Barrett, Keauna McLaughlin/Rockne Brubaker, and Brandon Mroz - stood up and spoke briefly to the group. Then the head of the FOFS auctioned off a dinner with Meryl and Charlie, and my friend (with me egging her on) won it along with another lady. We were so excited that we'd get to have dinner with them at 2010 Nationals in Spokane.
Evan Lysacek arrived to great applause and he said a few words. We had to go outside to stake out a spot for the ice dance small medal ceremony, so we couldn't stick around to talk to him. It was another scorcher in "Star Plaza" as we waited for the ceremony. Since Meryl and Charlie had finished third in the free dance, they were invited along with the medalists, so four teams squeezed onto the stage. The Q&A was a lot of fun, and the skaters answered quite a few questions from the crowd. After the ceremony ended, we chatted with a few of the skaters' families and got photos with our favorite dance coach Igor Shpilband. Then it was off to Lawry's Carvery in the L.A. Live complex to get out of the sun and relax with a cold glass of lemonade.
On the walk back to Staples for the ladies' free skate, we ran into some rabid Yu-Na Kim fans handing out Korean flags. We also saw Nick Verreos from Project Runway - our first celebrity sighting of the week! After Alissa Czisny skated, we went in search of food options on the concourse and came upon Evan and Frank Carroll sitting at an autograph booth. Since everyone was in their seats watching the competition, there was no line at the booth, so we walked right up and got to talk to them. I told Evan how I'd been a fan of his since I saw him at 2001 Nationals. He was very nice and obviously still riding the high of his world title.
The highlight of the ladies' competition for me was Rachel Flatt's performance. We left before the medal ceremony and finally found a table in the bar since it was only 8:30. There wasn't much happening except some Canadian skaters playing pool next to our table. We moved out into the lobby later and of course Samuel Contesti and his crew were out there. Around one in the morning my friends and I said our sad goodbyes since I wasn't staying for the Exhibition on Sunday. Thanks to both my old and new friends, it was one of the best trips ever!