by Ciara Athy, Class of 2018
What a whirlwind of a week it has been! I cannot fully express in words the amount of excitement, love, and pride that swells inside of me today, but here it goes: I personally did not know what to expect today, as it was my first time ever competing a long program internationally. I decided to just trust in the process and go into regular competition mode. After some routine hair and make up preparation, we headed to the rink for official practice.
The other teams looked strong and confident, but while watching I wasn’t intimidated. I felt competitive with them, and I wanted them to see our team and feel the same way. We were feeling pretty good as a team after official practice.
Following practice, we had a nice break to settle into the right mind set for competition. Our afternoon consisted of a quick interview with On The Rocks, lunch, yoga, competition makeup, and a little gelato (of course!).
There was a lot of build up prior to competing the long program: our close placement after the short, the past week of practice, the past month of training, and this whole season of skating. The best way to release all my tension was to remember, I am here. I am in Italy, representing my country, about to perform an outstanding long program that we have all come to know and love. And best of all, I have a group of wonderful women close to my heart to take the ice with.
Our mental state was calm, our adrenaline was high, and together we stayed grounded and settled on the ice. Once the music started, we took off and skated beautifully. We showed power, grace, and emotion and finished a lovely free skate. However, no skate is perfect, and tonight we had an unusual fall in our angled intersection. As a team, we took a few minutes to sort our thoughts in the locker room and then lifted each other up to a high level of optimism and positivity.
We use all of our skates as a learning opportunity, but our coaches make sure to go through all of our successes and to build us up. No matter what happens, we love each other and are in this together. That’s what makes us so strong. Today, we can say we made history as we wrapped up our international debut. We are proud of our performances and hope we also made our country proud.
This experience has been unforgettable, and as advised by our team leader Bob Bauer, we will continue to hold our heads high and represent the United States to the best of our ability. Our progress gives me so much drive and motivation to be better as an athlete, a teammate, and a representative of my country.
Finally, we would like to Congratulate Chicago Jazz on their gold medal in the junior division, and Miami University on their silver medal in the senior division. Go Team USA!