By Kelsey Niu and Leah Gens
Long program competition day was finally here. Anticipation, excitement, and nervousness ran through the air as we got ready for official practice. We had skated a strong short program the day before which placed us in third, less than a point away from second, and that put us into a great position to maintain our spot or to even move up. We knew that a lot was riding on our performance tonight, so we pushed hard to skate a solid official.
Official practice felt good – great, even. Our elements were well executed and comfortable, and we were all reassured that we were capable of doing each and every piece of the program right, with the matching extensions, toe point, facials, guiding and connections. We knew there would be little room for mistakes in such a competitive sport.
When we took the ice, we focused on one thing: taking the program one step at a time. Whether it was a crossover or an entire element, every little detail had to be paid attention to, and everything had to be shadowed. We were so close to what we wanted, and we knew that whether we placed on the podium or not would depend on this skate, the right here and right now. We finished the program with a few mistakes, but we recovered well and kept our heads up high. We were happy about the way we skated, but we were still anxious in the kiss and cry. Whispers of encouragement and assurances buzzed around our team while we patiently awaited our scores with big smiles all around. When the voice on the loudspeaker finally came on, we huddled even closer to hear and see our scores.
91.41 was our score, and we were ecstatic. We had improved upon our score from previous competitions by almost 8 points! It was such an amazing feeling to have earned such a great number, and we walked back to the locker room with pride and happiness.
However, there were still 3 teams after us – Dream Edges from Finland, Les Pirouettes from Canada, and Crystal Ice from Russia – so we still did not know if our total score of 140.83 would be enough for us to medal or not. We wanted it so badly. We needed to prove a point that the USA is competitive internationally.
When we finally found that we had won the silver medal, we were absolutely elated. There were smiles on everyone’s faces, and cheers erupted around the room. We are really very proud our skate and our score and couldn’t be happier with how the competition turned out. It felt wonderful to represent the USA, our team, and ourselves in such a positive way. Congratulations to Crystal Ice on two fantastic skates. We are so proud of all of the teams from the US! This was truly an amazing competition and experience, and we are super excited for our upcoming competitions JWQ and Nationals!
Auf Wiedersehen, and bus später!