Hey everyone! So excited to get to blog for ice-dance.com this week! Tory and I teamed up in June of last year, and through lots of hard work, we are fortunate enough to represent the USA this season! Hopefully you all enjoy the JGP experience through the eyes of us newbies. 

The trip started out relatively smooth, except for Tory getting stopped for the contents of her bag. Not her skates though—her 3.5-oz Chobani was apparently suspect (TSA, keeping America safe one yogurt at a time), but nothing else held us up. The flight to Chicago went without a hitch, where the team doc, Dr. Schlecht, joined us. From there began the extremely long connection to Vienna. The plane was decked out with free access to new movies, games, and even in-flight exercises on a touch screen device that I had way too much fun with. 

After four movies, much out of seat visitation, and a few hours of lapsing in and out of consciousness, we landed in Vienna and met up with fellow Team USA member Nathan Chen and officials John Cole and Hal Marron. One short flight later, and we landed in Belarus! What a beautiful country. We got to appreciate a rural landscape with forests and a scattered town or two on the bus ride to Minsk. While the tidy countryside and changing leaves were beautiful, the city doesn’t disappoint. The buildings are elaborate and gleaming, as is the competition arena. Polina Edmunds has been here since last night, so after meeting up with her, Team USA is almost assembled here. We’re all pretty exhausted, but raring to go after a good night’s rest. First practice is tomorrow! Thanks for reading, talk to you all soon!

– Joe Johnson