by Ashley Mulhern and Chandler Carroll
There are only a small number synchronized skaters who are able to say that they have represented the United States of America as part of Team USA. There are an even smaller number of skaters who ever have the opportunity to represent their country and their university at the same time. Our teammates and ourselves can proudly say that we are part of that very small group of skaters. This is an honor unlike anything else and one of the things we love the most about international competitions. We all have such and incredible love for the USA and are extremely honored to be able to compete on its behalf, as well as to honor Miami University and all that it stands for. It is always so fun to see our clothing blend together, combining our already red and white Miami Skating clothes with the reds, whites, and blues of our Team USA warm ups.
We have spent the last several weeks back in Oxford, OH, sacrificing much of the winter break that our classmates have with their families, to take our training to the next level after having the holidays off. Our practices at home all built up to leaving for Austria before second semester officially began. We were very excited, with 12 of us competing in Salzburg the previous year, 5 skaters competing at another international within the past 3 years, and 2 skaters experiencing international competition for the very first time.
Throughout our travels, that same excitement continued, and reminded us to stay present, in the moment, and enjoy each and every minute of the opportunity that we were given. We had a blast documenting much of our trip with our new found love of the “selfie stick” that made the journey overseas with us. Our momentum constantly built over the course of the week, traveling from freezing cold rinks in Germany, to official practice, and into competition. Our assistant team leader Collette Nygren brought something up after one of our practices that greatly resonated with us all. She told us to perform everything bigger and bolder, daring the judges not give us the scores we deserve for our program components. This is what sets the top countries apart from the U.S. Our team seemed to take that advice and run with it. From a bold short program skate, to having a blast skating an expressive free program, we were extremely proud of the way that we came out and attacked both competition run-throughs head on and did it for ourselves, as well as for the entertainment of the whole arena and those watching at home.
In the end, it’s all about the experience you have out there and the memories you make, that will stick with you, your teammates, and your fans forever. Right next to that, is doing what it takes to help ensure that, that American flag rises up when all is skated and done. One of our other absolute favorite things about competing internationally is the unity of the U.S. teams as a larger team with a common goal. That goal is to be on the podium and bring home medals to add to the international count. We were extremely proud to be a part of accomplishing that goal at the Mozart Cup by bringing a bronze medal back to the United States among a competitive field of teams.
Our next journey will be training this month to be even bigger and bolder in our skating. We are all very motivated, excited, and ready to thrive on our progression and keep pushing past our limits until it is time to leave for Nationals.
Love & Honor for the USA,
Chandler Carroll and Ashley Mulhern