worlds 2016: a figure skating fan's dream comes true
Two years ago, Boston hosted Nationals for figure skating, and Ian and I went to the exhibition where we saw the entire US Olympic team, as well as every single US Olympic champion. #bestillmyheart
This year, Boston hosted Worlds, and once again we snagged tickets to the exhibition. I watched every moment of the competition that I could catch on TV in anticipation. (This required kicking Ian out of the house for March Madness viewing, because I figured a sports bar wouldn't carry figure skating. Just a guess.)
The day of the exhibition, we arrived early at the Garden and inadvertently bumped into the small medals ceremony for the pairs and ladies free skate (the top three finishers in the free skate, not to be confused with the overall top three finishers). After the awards were handed out, the medalists stuck around for a Q&A with the audience. Most of the questions came from elementary school girls, and I tried to imagine what it would have been like for 10-year-old Anna to have the opportunity to ask Michelle Kwan or Nancy Kerrigan a question (it would have probably involved tears and maybe passing out before actually saying anything). After they headed backstage to prepare for the exhibition, we made our way to our seats.
Exhibition performances may not be packed with technical difficulty, but they make up for it with fun and personality. It's fascinating to see what skaters choose to perform when they're freed from the requirements of competition and are skating simply because they love it. And I feel honored to have seen so many of the big names in figure skating, as well as up-and-coming skaters with lots of promise. I was especially excited to see Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, whose competition performances left me transfixed, Papadakis and Cizerone of France, who set a new world record score for their free dance, and Patrick Chan of Canada, who's one of my favorites (perhaps in part because like Michelle Kwan, Olympic gold continues to elude him). Not to mention Yuzuru Hanyu, Mao Asada, and the Shibutanis. And I was in awe of 2016 World gold medalist Javier Fernandez of Spain. He's powerful but also brilliantly artistic in every last detail, and reminds me of Michelle Kwan at her best. I couldn't think of a more perfect skater to top off the Exhibition of Champions.
Helsinki 2017, anyone?