For 2010 Skate America, it was back to the popular Pacific Northwest I went! Portland is one of my favorite cities because it's so green and easy to get around with the free MAX light rail downtown. The weather there in November wasn't fabulous (cold and rainy), but at least we didn't have an ice storm like we did during 2005 Nationals!
In a post-Olympic year, there's always a lot of shuffling and new faces on the scene, but it was a familiar face who showed us he was better than ever. Daisuke Takahashi's Latin short program had the crowd whooping and on its feet. I think he and Jeremy Abbott are the two best dancers in skating. In Daisuke's program, he commanded every step, every movement, and I could feel the energy he put into it. The other thrill in the men's event that year was Armin Mahbanoozadeh's free skate. We were screaming like crazy for him, and he looked so excited to win the bronze medal.
I don't recall anything about the ladies' event. I was probably wandering around the concourse during the competition. I know most people see the ladies as the "premier" event, but since Michelle Kwan and then Kimmie Meissner retired, I've lost a lot of interest.
On to the pairs - Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy were again the winners, and they did their beautiful "Nella Fantasia" exhibition. 2010 was the year Wenjing Sui/Cong Han were at SA, and we had to watch them practice the quad throw at practice. It seemed like every time they tried it, there was near disaster. On one attempt, Sui crashed head-first into the boards in front of us, and I had a flashback to Tatiana Totmianina in Pittsburgh 2004. It was very scary and made us not want to attend pairs practice anymore!
Meryl Davis and Charlie White had a fall in their new tango free dance but were still able to easily win the event. Maia and Alex Shibutani had won bronze at NHK Trophy, and they captured another surprise bronze, beating Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje. They were quickly proving that they were serious contenders at the senior level. Lynn Kriengkrairut/Logan Giulietti-Schmitt had two outstanding performances, including their awesome Muse free dance - one of my recent favorite programs!
Next up will be the final installment in the series - Ontario 2011, the Skate America where no one came!