December 2002

Happy Holidays from SKATING!
Smart Ones Skate America

What a Skate America this was!

  • Two triple Axels by up-and-coming ladies;
  • Michelle Kwan stepping in at the last minute;
  • An Olympic champion in tears facing what might be the end of an illustrious career;
  • A new marking system that changes the way scores are displayed;
  • An amazing ice dancing result - the status quo which normally seems irrevocably written in concrete was shattered;
  • A record-breaking attendance

The beginning of a post-Olympic season can be a letdown. Top stars turn professional and leave a void that up-and-comers may not be ready to fill. But fans who made the trip to Spokane, Wash., Oct. 24-27, for Smart Ones Skate America got more than their money's worth. And a lot of people made that trek. The overall attendance was 28,664, shattering the previous record of 26,588 set back in 1986 in Portland, Maine.

"We were worried about the dropouts," said Toby Steward, co-chair of the local organizing committee. "Normally all the U.S. champions come to Skate America. But we exceeded all of our expectations. It's been kind of like a big wedding where you can't wait to go back and look at the photographs because you've been too busy to take it all in."

Of the U.S. champions, only ice dancers Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev were originally entered, and they withdrew due to an injury to Lang. Pairs champions Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman chose not to compete in the eligible ranks this year. Though Michelle Kwan and Todd Eldredge have both kept their eligibility, neither planned to enter any Grand Prix events.

Other top names pulled out right before the event. World ice dancing silver medalists Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz of Canada withdrew because of her Achilles tendonitis. Then, Olympic champion Sarah Hughes tore a muscle the week before the event, and Kwan graciously agreed to fill in.

Read about all of the action at the premier international event held in the U.S. in the December issue - and see some of the event's best photos from Paul and Michelle Harvath!

Also featured in this issue ...

Skate Canada: Sasha Wins Gold
by Marge Reynolds

Skate Canada lacked the ladies triple Axels from Smart Ones Skate America, but Sasha Cohen sparkled as she won her first senior Grand Prix title in Quebec, Canada. The ISU's future scoring system also underwent a test at the second Grand Prix event of the season.

Jenny Kirk: Making the Right Choices
by Amy Rosewater

The 2002 Four Continents champion is moving in the right direction after leaving her home in Massachusetts to train with Richard Callaghan in Michigan. Find out how she's adjusted to all the changes in her life.

2003 World Championships: More Than Just a Competition
by Amy Rosewater

When the World Figure Skating Championships come to Washington, D.C., March 24-30 at the MCI Center, skating fans will not only get a chance to see some of the sport's greats, but they will also be helping the growth of the sport in the nation's capital.

Takeoff: Katie Beriau
by Jenny Driscoll

Competing against skaters from 27 high schools at the New England High School Figure Skating Championships last year, Katie Beriau captured the senior ladies title. Meet this up-and-coming skater and find out how she's kept both school and skating a priority.

Adult Skating: Adults Prepare for New Season
by Michele Cooper

If you're an adult skater, this is your chance to find out the ins and outs of the adult sectional competitions and learn what plans are underway for the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 9-12.

In Synch: Just One of the Guys
by Joanne-Theresa Vassallo

Although there weren't many males competing at the 2002 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, the ones that do participate find it is a great outlet to participate in the sport they love.