Hello Friends!

It’s Karina today—the non-ginger half of the team—blogging from beautiful Utah, filling you in on the behind-the-scenes action at the US International Classic.

Two years ago (our first season together!), Joe and I took part in the Novice and Junior Challenge Skate event that coincides with the international event that we are now taking part in. Being back in the setting of an early point in my ice-dancing career has made me feel quite sentimental, and it’s fun to see some of the younger athletes cheering us on, knowing that I was doing the same not long ago. Two years ago, Joe and I both only imagined ourselves taking the ice here again, and so far, it has been every bit as exciting as I had pictured.

Our day started off nicely—not too early, with plenty of time before our twenty minute warm-up to wake up and get ready for the day. I’m not always a morning person, but with the sunshine peaking over the mountains outside our hotel, and a competition-day playlist set, I was out of bed, doing my hair and makeup, and dancing around my hotel room in no time.

Our warm-up practice went pretty smoothly, and we enjoyed the final opportunity before the short to get our feet underneath us. We were both excited heading into the competition in the afternoon. Since we drew second, we were set to begin right at the start of the event. Taking the ice, I couldn’t help but smile, hearing cheers from family and teammates in the audience. The atmosphere of competing representing the United States in our home country has been wonderful.

Our skate, though not without flaws, went fairly well. We definitely improved in several areas since our last summer competition, and we are proud of the direction the program is heading. I know following today’s skate, I am feeling excited and confident to take on the free tomorrow.

A nice perk of drawing second was getting to watch the rest of the teams. Short dance this year has brought lots of diversity amidst a variety of blues, hip hop, and swing combinations, so it was fun to have a first-look at some of the material people were debuting for the season. Following the event, all of the athletes met for the draw. Joe was a really great partner and offered to draw for us since I get quite nervous when I have to. We’ll be skating eighth tomorrow for the free dance, so look out for us then if you’re watching!

I’m heading to get some sleep before the busy day for us tomorrow. I just want to close with a big congrats to the U.S. pairs teams who earned silver and bronze today, and the U.S. men who also took home two medals and each gave it their all with some really strong skates!

Go Team USA!