By Samantha Pearsal
The Chicago Jazz is absolutely thrilled to finally be in France! After landing in Paris Wednesday morning, we looked forward to beginning our journey with a little sightseeing. Because the vast majority of our team has never been to France before, seeing remarkable sights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe was extremely exciting and breathtaking. While on our tour of Paris, we learned a lot from our tour guide about the history of the extraordinary monuments, and bought many souvenirs to bring back to our loved ones in the United States. Because many of us found it difficult to sleep on the eight hour plane ride to France, we all fell asleep on the two hour bus ride to Rouen, so we would be well rested for our practice later that night.
After eating dinner at our favorite restaurant in Rouen, Pizza Pai, we walked to the ice rink to stretch before our practice. We were fortunate enough to watch some of Marigold Ice Unity’s practice when we arrived at the rink. Their posture, presentation, and skating skills are phenomenal, and we hope to apply this visual lesson to our practices from now on. Our practice that night went very well, which left us feeling prepared and looking forward to skate the next day.
We awoke Thursday morning after a great night’s sleep ready for the long day ahead of us. The breakfast at our hotel was fantastic, which left us satisfied and focused for our two practices that morning. We arrived at the rink just in time to watch our fellow Team USA members practice. “Each team looked very prepared, and we’re ecstatic that the US is looking so strong at this competition,” Chicago Jazz team members Maria Gilfoyle and Kristin D’Antonio said. We were able to tweak minor aspects of our programs at each of our practices, leaving us with a determined and prepared state of mind for official practice and the short program competition the next day. The rest of our day was spent as a Team walking around Rouen, shopping, and taking in the marvelous sites the town has to offer. We also walked in the French Cup Team Parade and participated in the flash mob later that night. It was an awesome experience to walk around Rouen representing our country with the Haydenettes, Lexettes, and Crystalettes. After the parade, we participated in a flash mob and a dance party with skaters from other countries, which was a complete blast. While two of our teammates went to draw our starting number for the short program, the rest of our team returned to the hotel anticipating their return and ready to get a good night’s rest for our competitive debut in France.
We drew starting order number nine, and cannot wait to compete in front of the French audience tomorrow.
Bon soir et à demain!