Day 4 & 5:
“Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.” –Alex Karras
Yesterday morning, we started off our day with the usual breakfast buffet. The highlight of the breakfast was the French toast with powdered sugar and the good good Nutella. On the way to official practice, our team leader Bob Bauer surprised us with a few funky dance moves! At practice, we did one full long program run-through and repeated a few sections. While there were some things to improve on, we felt prepared for the competition later that night.
After practice, we returned to the hotel for video review and lunch. We were really excited to have some chocolate covered cookies. We then rested to prepare for the competition. For the long program, we wear two braids in our hair, and this required about two and a half hours of preparation. Having the braids is a fun change because we are so used to competing in our usual buns.
Once we got to the rink, we had a quick dance party before starting in the warm up area. Getting on the ice was really special because we skated right after Chicago Jazz, the other Team USA Junior team. The crowd was already amped, and Chicago Jazz was chanting “USA” for us. When we hit our ending pose, we knew we had given it our all. Hearing that we placed first overall in the kiss and cry, we became overcome with joy. It was a mixture of pride, tears, and unity. It was so special to win such a competitive international competition and to see that all of our hard work had paid off. Hearing the national anthem at awards is something that we will cherish forever.
Despite our long day of travel today, we stayed up late last night doing the two things we love almost as much as skating…eating and singing! We want to wish all teams the best of luck throughout this international season!