Friday, February 1, 2013

2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

I, Michelle McCormick, worshiper of all things sparkly, got to attend an event that was a billion times better than any Super Bowl:  THE 2013 U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS!!

A mere three hours from my home in rural Nebraska, this year’s championships were held in Omaha.  Not that Omaha particularly cared, sorry to say. The Century Link Center was far from filled on any particular day and there didn't seem to be much promotion of the event.  I’ve lived in Nebraska my entire life, and I can't say I'm surprised. The only way you'd sell out a skating event in this state would be to strap blades to our football team's feet.  But hey, I’m not here to comment on Nebraska’s obsession with all things pigskin.  Let's talk SKATING!

I am not a skater, but I LOVE THE SPORT!!! I idolized two women when I was growing up: Dorothy Hamill and Lindsay Wagner, the Bionic Woman. On any given day in the 1976, you could find nine year-old me racing around the neighborhood in slow motion muttering ddddddd (you know, the bionic sound) or fine tuning my double axel on the front lawn. So it goes without saying, when the national championships came to my home state, I was in attendance.

I don't have the time or space to tell you about all the wonderful skating I saw. Let me just leave it at this: like any other sport, figure skating is a billion times more awesome to watch LIVE than on television. On TV, you can’t feel the emotional vibration of thousands of people reacting to a skater's triumphs or tribulations. On TV, you won't have an off-duty coach patiently explain why the jump you just ogled over actually sucked in the judges' eyes.  Best of all, when you show up in person, you get to rub elbows with the stars of the skating world.

Past and present skating celebrities were everywhere during this year's championships: Kristi Yamaguchi, Paul Wylie, Rudy Galindo, Brian Boitano, Michael Weiss, Sarah Hughes, Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, and Sasha Cohen, as well as the current field of competitors who signed tirelessly at autograph sessions. Most of the skaters were true ambassadors for their sport; gracious, accommodating, and surprisingly accessible:

 Paul Wylie (my fav!)

 Brian Boitano

 Rudy Galindo

Kristi Yamaguchi and her mom
(Check out Kristi's adorable clothing line:+tsu-ya)

Sasha Cohen

2013 Pairs Competitors

To sum it up, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships were everything I’d hoped they’d be and more. I had such a great time, I’m planning on taking my entire family to the 2014 Championships in Boston to cheer on my new favorite, Gracie Gold. 

Oh yeah…I also got my picture with Warren Buffett at the championships, which is perfect since he figures predominantly in my Priscilla Willa chapter books I write for eight to ten year olds. Skate on! 


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