MORNING - LADIES' PRACTICE
I missed one group 'cause the bus didn't run that early, but here are some comments on the other ladies: (RT means run-through)

Anna Rechnio didn't do any jumps in the RT, but the ones she did afterwards were great with nice height. She looked very good. Sabine Wojtala also had a nice practice, as did Julia Lautowa. Julia Soldatova wore a gorgeous two-toned pink and silver dress and had great, solid jumps today. I was impressed. Viktoria Volchkova had a little rougher time with the 3loop and 3lutz, but still looked pretty good. Lucinda Ruh had awesome spins as usual but most of the jumps just weren't there for her. Maria Butyrskaya did not show up.

Yulia Lavrenchuk is a brunette now. She looks very nice, very sophisticated. Okay practice. Tatiana Malinina was another no-show. Angela Nikodinov looked MUCH stronger than at Nationals; her jumps were very solid, very clean. She seemed happy. Sarah Hughes had a few stumbles but for the most part looked good, and she did land a 3loop3loop. Michelle Kwan was, well, Michelle. Clean RT, perfect jumps. Only trouble I saw were two popped 3loops.
I got the messages to all the American girls. Thank goodness they all left at different times so I handed them to them one by one. Angela seemed very pleased and let me take a close-up picture of her. When I gave Michelle her book of messages, she said "Thank you so much!" Then she flipped through it a little and said "oh my gosh, there's a lot of these!! Which one's yours?" I told her and she said thank you again. Then she posed for a picture for me, and I am SO MAD 'cause it's not gonna turn out - we got one of our rolls of film developed and we apparently had the shutter speed too high, so they came out fuzzy. So I have a few rolls that probably won't turn out. But I guess it's a good thing we found out the problem this early in the week so I have plenty of time for more pics. I'll have to ask Michelle and Angela to pose for me again on Friday or Saturday. I'm sure they won't mind.

Jennifer Robinson started out really strong in her RT but kinda fizzled towards the end. Veronika Dytrtova looked SO much stronger than at Euros. She had an excellent practice and was landing everything. Vorobieva was so-so. Apparently she doesn't speak English 'cause I asked her if she got dizzy in her spins and she gave me a confused, blank look. So I just said "nice spins" and she smiled. :o)

Vanessa Gusmeroli's hair looks lighter. She had a great practice, and the jumps she did in the RT were clean. She changed the ending of her program a little to add a 3toe. I love that program! (The burglar one.) Kaja Hanevold had an awful RT and was having a tough time in general. Caroline Guerke, the 2nd German, is very tall and very skinny, but she had a pretty good day.

Autograph list from today and last night: Richard Callaghan, Julia Lautowa, Sabine Wojtala, Julia Soldatova, Lucinda Ruh, Angela Nikodinov, Yulia Vorobieva, Veronika Dytrtova, and Markus Leminen (who let me take a nice picture of him that won't turn out, either - ARGH!)

AFTERNOON/EVENING
My aunt and I went over to the hotels where the skaters are staying, the Inter-Continental and the Radisson. We were hoping to spot maybe a couple skaters, but it turned out we couldn't look anywhere withOUT seeing one! It was SO neat. As we were walking into the IC, Sarah Abitbol and Stephan Bernadis were walking out. We walked down a hall and near another door, and who was just coming in the door but Timothy Goebel and MICHELLE KWAN. Chatted with them for a sec and got a pic of the two of them, then them with me. Good start! When we got into the Radisson a few minutes later, we caught almost the entire US team. Got pic with Kyoko Ina (I felt like a GIANT at 5'2"), the Hartsells (they let me stand in the middle - they are SO nice), and Sarah Hughes. Stopped and talked to Sarah for five minutes. Lang/Tchernyshev and Chalom/Gates had just walked out the door, and Sarah asked me how they had done (in the CD) and I couldn't even tell her 'cause I wasn't there and hadn't heard anything. But she was in a good mood and kept talking and when I was about to leave and said "well, I won't bother you anymore" she said "you're not bothering me". She really is sweet. Oh, I also got a picture with John Zimmerman (he is SO CUTE, LOL!), and he seemed really happy to have his picture taken. Got one with Lucinda Ruh, too. Skaters were just walking around and in and out the door every few minutes. A lot of them I didn't bother 'cause I could tell they were headed for practice. I should've talked to Fumie Suguri but I didn't realize it was her 'til she was already in the elevator.
Before I go into the men's SP, I'll say that I got a picture with Markus Leminen and also with Elena Bereznaia, who was talking with Todd Eldredge. He must've remembered me from last night 'cause after the pic with Elena, my aunt and I told him not to feel left out 'cause we got him last night and he laughed and said "yeah, I've got you covered!" :o)

Okay, mens' SP:
Didn't take notes on the first group. No one skated great anyway.
Markus Leminen fell on the 3loop and flubbed the 3axel. Sandhu did an excellent 3axel3toe but doubled the lutz. Skornyakov also did a beautiful 3axel3toe but fell on the 3lutz. You should've seen Tatiana Malinina's face when he landed the axel, she was ecstatic! Vidrai had a very ugly costume on but skated okay and got the crowd into the music. Hernits doubled the 3axel and kinda flubbed up a spin.
Guo landed the first and only quad of the night, as well as a 3axel3toe. He got the first standing ovation. Pliuta did the 3axel and 3lutz but fell on the flip. Dinev skated cleanly with a 3axel3toe, 3flip, and 2axel. Murvanidze fell on the 3axel. Meier landed the axel but fell out of the lutz. Lindemann was awesome - I was so happy for him. Skated cleanly with a 3axel, 3lutz3toe, and a 3flip. His smile at the end was priceless!
Goebel almost put his hand down on the 3axel and only did a 2toe after it. Program was okay but nothing exciting. (I still like him though, for taking pictures with me twice!!) Vlascenko did a 3axel2toe, 3lutz, and 2axel. Zivanovic skated great but for a doubled lutz - he landed a 3flip3toe and a 3axel. I actually thought he should've been ahead of Tim. Tobel had the whole arena cheering for him; he did a 3axel3toe(almost), 3lutz, and 2axel. His coach was happy, and he was goofing around with the camera in the kiss n' cry. Liu fell out of the 3axel and landed 2axel and 3lutz. Dmitrenko did a 3axel2toe, 3lutz, and 2axel, but fell on footwork near the end of his program.
Yagudin was not perfect tonight; he fell out of the 3toe in the 3axel combo. I think he was mad. I just love Urmanov's music; he double the toe after the 3axel and also tripped during some footwork. Honda did a 3axel2toe and then slammed into the boards on a 4toe, almost hitting his face. He was okay, though, and was smiling at the end. OMG, Michael Weiss was PERFECT. I've never seen him skate so well. He didn't use that Van Halen medley; he used his free skate music from last year (Beethoven). He had everyone on his feet, and I really thought he should've beaten Yagudin. It will be a very tight race if he skates this well in the FS. Plushenko was also perfect, with much energy, and he really got the crowd going. Definitely deserved the first place. Stojko was good but not great - did a 3axel2toe and 2-footed the quad. I was really surprised he was placed ahead of Weiss. He didn't look too happy in the kiss n' cry.

Okay, I guess that's all for now. I've been up for 20 hours today and only got 3 hours sleep last night, so I think I may just go to bed now. :o) I'll be at the rink all day tomorrow for the ladies' QR and the pairs' FS.

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