Joe again! This time covering the day of free.

As our warm up was at 10:35, we got to sleep in until almost 8 (which is most definitely sleeping in for us, considering our usual 5:30 alarm for training). Let me just say here and now, to whomever at US Figure Skating organized a host hotel in which a Starbucks was in the lobby – you’re a genius. And I love you. We had our coffee, went back up, and then once we were ready to go we all hopped on the shuttle and headed over for the 20 minute [warm up].    The warm up went well, and the men bonded after the practice about the worst costumes we ever had to wear (mine was a velvet onesie with a mandarin collar that was so un-breathable it took a team of my competitors to pry me out of the sweaty thing after my program). A two hour break and a nap later, the event began.

Our 5 minute [warmup] went without incident or collision, which is always a lovely place to start. We had a fairly long break before we had to skate, as we were last to go, so we stayed warm by pacing and singing badly to whatever erratic background music played between skates. The DJ at this event seemed to have one of those “I listen to everything” music libraries, because everything from bluegrass to acoustic guitar versions of rap songs were playing in between while people waited for scores. Our skate came up, and I know it’s cliché, but I swear there is still nothing quite better than hearing “representing the United States of America” before you skate. The free dance was a blast, truly. The program is a personal favorite, and even with the mistake at the end, we felt good about what we’d done. We’re gonna leave Salt Lake with a lot learned, and accomplished. We went up and cheered on the last group while we stretched. Maddie and Zach were wonderful and ethereal as usual; there was rapt attention from all sides during their skate. Karina and I also really enjoyed the Japanese couple of Kana and Chris, they were so sharp and musical and really fun to watch.

The event having finished, Karina, I, and our families went and had some of the best Italian food you can imagine, and 5 courses later I can safely say I’m probably not going to be able to eat again until Tuesday. After this family dinner, we went to the team dinner, and sat with the athletes, team leaders and medical team, and had an incredible evening. I really do love these people, they’re all so supportive of one another and we all really do like to see each other do the best we can. I’ll be sad to leave them, but I know we’ll all see each other again soon!

As I’m writing from Sunday, the morning of travel, this is our last entry! I know there were only 3, but it’s still been fun keeping up with you all. Thanks for putting up with my long-winded rambling, if you made it all the way to the end. Go Team USA!

Joe

P.S. I didn’t mention why I brought up Jason Brown in the first entry. He was my roommate and a beacon of energy and sunshine.

P.P.S. That bit about not eating until Tuesday was a lie. I have already eaten since. I love eating.