Well, I've been to 6 airports and 3 hotels in the last three days, LOL! (Paula - my roommate - and I spent two days in Paris.) I'm at the Novotel, one of the official hotels, now. It is great! The Palais des Expositions is actually connected to the hotel, so all I need to do to get to the arena is walk outside and down a red-carpet walkway! Cool! :) So far, I know that Alexei Yagudin, Irina Slutskaya, Margus Hernits, Alisa Drei, and Anna Wenzel, among others, are in this hotel.
I've only been here a couple hours, so there's not too much to write yet. The arena is small! Half the size of Hartwall Arena or the Target Center. And the first row isn't really the first row, because there are 4-5 rows of seats in front for officials and media. The entire seating arrangement is pretty crappy. Poop. Oh, well. I've seen 2 pairs practice groups now. Abitbol/Bernadis didn't do much in the way of jumps. Obertas/Palamarchuk look good, and her jumps are VERY strong - I didn't see her miss anything. All the Russians were there, and except for a sloppy lift on Bereznaya/Sikharulidze's part, everyone looked great. Totmianina's short dark hair looks really good on her.
I'll write more later...
Okay, I'm back. :)
The big news is that Bereznaya/Sikharulidze have had to withdraw due to her testing positive for some sort of stimulant (which she had taken recently for bronchitis). That's really too bad, especially since they've come here and even practiced this morning. This definitely opens the door for the other teams.
No one man's practice really stood out today. Alexander Abt touched down on almost every 3axel he tried. Yagudin and Plushenko both landed lots of great combos; Alexei did a 3?/3toe/3loop and a 4toe3toe. He didn't do any jumps in his RT. His new program looks okay, but it's hard to tell how good it is when he does'nt do the whole thing.
In one group, I couldn've sworn this one kid was Takeshi Honda, but it turned out to be the Korean boy, Lee. They look a lot alike. Lee had a lot of popped jumps. Patrick Schmidt is very skinny and reminds me of Gumby. :) He can get into some funky positions.
Only caught the last few minutes of Goebel and Weiss' practice, so I didn't see them do any jumps. Tim caught an edge and fell on his butt doing a back lunge - looked like something I would do, LOL! Stefan Lindemann is such a CUTIE!! He's gonna be getting some flowers from me. :o) He gets great height on his jumps. Some really nice 3axel3toes from him today. Andrejs Vlascenko is using the same old music that he's been using for the past couple seasons. For practice, he wore his '98/99 short program costume. Szabolcs Vidrai's hair is wild; it looks like he stuck his finger in a socket. :o)
The practice rink is kinda cool - it's on the fifth floor of the gym across the street, and it's very bright and sunny. The rink doesn't look full size, though.
There's a guide here called "Le Guide" which talks mostly about the French skaters, but there's a section which has pictures of last year's gold and silver medalists. What's so funny is that it says that Michelle Kwan represents China, LOL!
Not much else to say right now. The draw should be over with, but I myself don't know anything about it yet.
I'll sign off for now...tomorrow will be a 13-hour day at the rink...
Oh, I gave Elvis Stojko his good-luck messages today.
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