By Michelle Rose and Flora Sugarman
Some might think the best part about our trip to Sweden was medaling. Others might think it was skating two of the best programs we have ever skated. Some people might even think it was the delicious breakfast spread we enjoyed every morning. All of these were aspects of our trip that contributed to making it such an amazing adventure, but what really topped everything else was simply the experience of representing the United States of America.
Our journey began after a long night of travelling when we arrived in Sweden with a full day ahead of us. With the help of a nap, we got through our first unofficial practice looking strong and confident. We met our team leaders, Karin Sherr and Bob Bauer, and they gave us some helpful feedback on our skating—especially considering the fact that we had made some major changes to our short program just days before we left.
The following morning, we headed out bright and early to experience the city of Gothenburg firsthand. Even though most of the stores were closed, we were able to cross off most of the items on our shopping lists: Swedish chocolate, Swedish chocolate, and more Swedish chocolate. The scenery was stunning, especially in the hour that the sun began to rise. Once we arrived back at the hotel, we prepared for our next unofficial practice. We headed to the rink, put our skates on rink-side, and stepped onto the ice for two hours of hard work. Bob and Karin were there the whole time to provide us with more insight and motivation.
Finally, the day to compete the short arrived. We woke up with bright eyes, hungry for the amazing skate that lay ahead. It all started with official practice. We skated two programs just the way we wanted to, powerful and expressive. Our goal for the short program has been to not only skate for technical points but to also capture the rebellious side of our music: to “rock this town.” When it came time to compete, we knew exactly what it would take to put out the best program we could perform. As we prepared to take the ice, we were able to stay calm and focused as our coach Geri gave us some last words of wisdom. Just from the atmosphere in the locker room, we could already tell it was going to be a great skate. The program flew by, and hitting the ending pose was surreal. When we stood in the kiss and cry, we waved hello to all of our friends, family, and fellow Synchroettes watching on the live stream. As we heard the other USA teams cheering in the crowd, we were reminded once again of how lucky we are to have so much support. Hearing our scores at that moment heightened our excitement, and we walked to the locker room proud to be members of Team USA.
Sitting in third place, we started the day of the long competition fresh and more determined than ever. After a somewhat shaky official practice, we were ready to rally and show everyone what we could bring to the ice. Hearing “The Synchroettes representing the United States of America,” gave us the extra boost we needed to skate with pride and intensity.
We fought through all of our elements and skated to tell the story of our music. At the end of the program, we could not resist the urge to go in for a group hug right on the ice. We then skated off and stood in the kiss and cry, reminding each other that no matter how many points we received, we were proud of what we left on the ice. We knew we would always have the memory of this moment to share and remember for the rest of our lives.
Second place, and boy did it feel great. When our results were announced, it felt like all our hard work had paid off. The honor of bringing home a medal for our country overwhelmed us in that moment, and we felt a part of something much greater than ourselves. Standing next to our talented competitors at the awards ceremony made us even more honored to be in Sweden. We stood tall and proud of what we had accomplished, and we soaked in every moment of it. Looking at our flag, standing with our coaches, we knew we had achieved this triumph as a team.