The skaters that walked away yesterday as Champions all gave me goosebumps as they performed!
In Pairs, Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin put a spell on the audience. Their Ave Maria free seemed to float an inch above the ice. It was like watching two clouds move wistfully around the rink...just gorgeous! "Masterful" I believe was the word I tweeted. There were even some tears here and there. I've never seen them skate so in tune with each other and the audience...it was an absolute joy to watch! My favorite moment was John grabbing Caitlin at the end and just turning her around having her look at the crowd and the love they were pouring on them. Yep...I was one of the people with tears!
Meryl Davis and Charlie White really had no competition here so they had to find a way to motivate themselves. I was awestruck by the fact that they could have come to Greensboro and just did okay and still won...but didn't. They gave 1000% in their free dance on route to their 3rd title. This has been the year of the Tango and it has taken some time for that Free Dance to grow on me. However, seeing it in person made me appreciate it even more.
Alissa Czisny has been a different skater this year. I was beyond nervous before she skated. She looked confident in the warm-up but we all know the history with Alissa. She skated just like she has been skating all season...with good speed, landed jumps, and a level of artistry few in the field posses. We took a breath with each jump she landed...we didn't dare breathe before hand. You could feel the crowd behind her, wanting her to do this. As she began her final spin, the crowd was already getting to it's feet. I'm calling her Alissa 2.0...the old Alissa seems gone and a new, confident, prepared, and competitive Alissa is here (did you see the fight for that triple loop...Alissa 1.0 would have went down). In 2009, I was like "Did Alissa just win Nationals?" This year I am, "Oh yeah, Alissa won Nationals!"
Other noteworthy performances included Denney and Barrett's bronze. Their year continues to be a little off...but they got a little redemption in the free. The other two Ice Dance teams on the podium, Maia and Alex Shibutani and Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein, both had excellent programs and I think them along with Davis and White represent a very strong Ice Dance presence in Tokyo. And if you get a chance to see...watch Joelle Forte's free. She is so fun to watch and you can tell she really loves what she does.