Day 2 here in Espoo, and no signs of our horses anywhere.
We had our first practice today, which went well. It’s always good to get that first practice in, and make sure your legs made it with you on the plane! The rink is great, and we hear that the all-event tickets for the competition have completely sold out. So, it should be a great turn out over the next couple of days.
We also had the official draw tonight, which was a whole crazy awesome experience. I don’t even know where to begin…We were not told much of anything about the draw, but the only thing we knew was that it was going to be held in some shopping center. So, at around 6:00PM everyone hopped on the bus, and it took us about 15 minutes to get to the mall. We walked into the front doors, and there was a huge line of girls each holding one ballon. We followed the line, and it lead us around the corner to a stage surrounded by people with a huge screen behind it. There were a group of girls dancing on the stage, there was a girl from the circus who preformed after them, and there were a few TV cameras around. So, we knew right off the bat that this was not your grandmas draw ceremony.
Once all the skaters and coaches filed in the official draw ceremony began. They announced that they were trying out a few new things this year. The first is that they were going to open up the draw to the public, to try and involve all the people of Helsinki. The second was that they wanted to try and make Finland the worlds most moving country, so they set up stationary bikes and offered free admission to the event for anyone who would bike 2,100 meters. Lastly, they wanted to try and combine both art and sport, by bringing in a famous Finnish painter to add an extra twist to the ceremony. Once your name and discipline was called, you walked up onto the stage, drew your skate order, and they put it up on the big screen. After you drew you were escorted over to the painter who asked us to paint our skate order on this huge white canvas. After the whole draw was over, they were going to auction off the painting with all the competitors skate orders to raise money for the homeless children of Finland. It was such a cool addition to the ceremony! After we painted, we were given a tote bag and paper with our Finnish identities written on them!! The identities were based off of our names translation into the Finnish language. A woman from the LOC came over to us and explained our identities and their meanings in further detail. Of course, I will fill you in on everyones Finnish alter egos. So, Stasia’s identity is a frosty sky goddess (so she is pretty much Elsa), Adam’s identity is the king of the forest, Colin’s identity is the heroic smith of the twilight, and Samantha’s identity is the glimmering twilight ocean, and plot twist, the woman told us that Colin and Samantha’s identities are husband and wife! The whole thing is rather scandalous, but they are both in relationships now so it looks like its not meant to be for their Finnish alter egos.
Like we said before it was just a crazy awesome experience. We doubt we will ever attend a draw party that will top this one!
One more day of practice tomorrow! Then its on to competition!
Until next time
-Colin & Stasia