Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reporter on ice, Pt. 2

It is Sunday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.

After seven days and more hours than I'd care to count, my work is nearly finished at the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

As I write this, the Senior Men's free skate is at its midway point with a performance by Adam Rippon. He was in 12th place after Friday's short program and out of the running for a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Rippon is 19-year-old Pennsylanian competing for the first time in the Senior Men's division after winning the 2008 U.S. Junior Championship last year. Remember the name. He is an up-and-comer.

Many up-and-comers have left their marks on this championship, including gold medal winners Kiri Baga (Novice Ladies), Joshua Farris (Novice Men), Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager (Novice Ice Dancing) and Ross Miner (Junion Men).

At a time when this sport is being dominated by teenagers, 21-year-old Alissa Czisny of Bowling Green skated to a popular victory in the Senior Ladies.

Czisny is a technically polished skater who has had trouble executing jumps during the 12 years she has competed in national and international events. She was spectacular in Thursday's short program. Despite a fall in Saturday's free skate, her point total was high enough for her to claim a first national championship.

During the seven days here, I have spent almost as much time people-watching as watching the competition. As was the case in 2000, when this event was held at what then was called Gund Arena, the fans here have been a show unto themselves in the best way.

Here is one last thought from my perch overlooking the ice surface. Should any of you armchair admirals harbor a thought that figure skaters aren't "real'' athletes, by all means get up off your duffs and rent some ice time. Then, lace on a pair of skates and attempt a triple axel while gliding across the ice at 15 miles-per-hour.

When you regain consciousness.....

David S. Glasier


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