Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Grace and Talent on the Ice

This past Saturday my DH took me to see the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which were held in nearby Greensboro, NC.  For as long as I can remember, I have loved to watch the Figure Skating events in the Winter Olympic Games. I was only eight years old when Peggy Fleming won gold at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France; but I still remember how my Mom and I were mesmerized by her swan-like grace, beauty, and skating ability.  Fast forward to 1976 (I was a junior in high school), and my whole family watched the unforgettable Dorothy Hamill win the gold medal in Innsbruck, Austria.  It seemed then that the whole nation fell in love with this talented skater with the charming smile who also launched a new fashion trend with her wedge haircut.  Dorothy remains one of my favorites to this day.  Both of these women are still amazing today.  They have both dealt with breast cancer and both are still supportive of figure skating in the U.S.

Then in 1992, when our son was only two years old, I was thrilled to watch Kristi Yamaguchi win gold for the United States in Albertville, France.  And finally, last year, a lovely young skater named Kim Yu-Na , from South Korea, won gold (the first ever for her country in figure skating) at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.  Her performances were oh so graceful, but energetic and entertaining as well.  (Can you tell I'm already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Olympics?)

The Greensboro event was a pretty big deal for us in North Carolina because it was the first time the U.S. Figure Skating Championships have ever been held in Greensboro. Peggy Fleming skated in Greensboro last week (how I would have loved to see that).  She was also in Greensboro to promote the documentary film "Rise" which tells the story of the 1961 U.S. Figure Skating team who were killed along with their coaches, families, and friends in a plane crash while on their way to the world championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  Fleming's first skating coach was killed in the crash.  It was the loss of a generation of talented skaters, as well as a generation of future coaches.

Well enough of the factual part of this post.  Suffice it to say, I loved hearing the swish of the blades as they cut through the ice and seeing the beautiful costumes worn by the women skaters.  I was so absorbed I wasn't saying much. I think my husband was worried that I wasn't enjoying it until I told him I was too excited to talk (which is an unusual occurrence, to say the least).  We had a great time watching the skaters, and DH got to give his new camera a serious workout.

After the skating event, we picked up our son outside his dorm and took him to dinner with us at one of our very favorite restaurants.  A good time was had by all!

This couple won first place in the pairs figure skating championship this year.  They skated a flawless performance.

This is Meryl Davis and Charlie White, silver medal winners for ice dancing last year in Vancouver.  They were also the ice dancing champions this year.
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