In preparing for the long program competition, we knew we wanted to skate an exceptional long program in order to finish strong at the French Cup. Our official practice Saturday morning went very well, and we were consistently performing all of our elements in time with the music and with full facials. We returned to our hotel to have breakfast and nap before starting our hair and makeup for the long program competition.
We warmed up at the hotel by doing our ballet and flooring our free program. It was essential to polish any details off the ice so that our program on the ice would look sharp as well. After feeling satisfied with our program off the ice, we left the hotel to meet our bus driver so he could take us to the competition. However, something incredibly unexpected happened on our short bus ride to the competition arena. As we were en route, our bus was forced to stop extremely suddenly, just barely preventing a car crash. A couple of us were flung from our seats, leaving many of us with extreme headaches, and few of us with worse injuries. It definitely shook all of us up, but our team is incredibly strong, and we knew that we would pull it together to perform our long program.
Stepping into the competition arena was extremely exhilarating. The stands were almost packed, which inspired us to perform for each and every audience member. Despite minor issues, our long program was solid. We were proud of ourselves considering how rattled we all were going into the long program. We ended up placing tenth overall, satisfied with our performances and leaving French Cup with much to work on before Nationals and Junior Challenge Cup next month.
After our skate, we headed into the stands to watch the remaining Junior teams and the Senior division later that night. We visited with our parents, who embraced us and expressed their immense pride. While sitting in the stands with our fellow junior USA team, Lexettes, we befriended and traded “toothpick hair flags” with some girls on the Finnish, British, and Canadian teams, which was an awesome experience. Dancing along with the entire arena and being displayed on the jumbo-tron was also so much fun. The atmosphere in the rink was extremely energetic, which made the competition that much more exciting. It was also an unbelievable feeling cheering on the Haydenettes and the Crystallettes alongside the Lexettes. The sense of patriotism and pride in our cheering section was unparalleled.
Upon returning to the hotel, we admired the gifts we had received from other teams at the competition, packed, and went to bed. French Cup was an unbelievable experience for the entire Chicago Jazz Junior team, and we are truly blessed to have earned this opportunity. Thank you to all our coaches, chaperones, and parents for making this international assignment truly unforgettable.