So sorry we haven’t managed to give you an update in a few days. Thursday was practice day and to be honest, nothing really happened. The practice was in the middle of the day, so not really much time to do anything before, other than breakfast, shower, warm up, etc. Then afterwards we were done around 2pm. As we had an early morning practice on Friday, we just had a short walk into the town centre to find some dinner, and then returned home to prepare for the following day. The practice was ok, but we took a bit of a fall, unfortunately. A wrist, a head, and an elbow took a bit of a bashing, I’m afraid, but nothing too serious.

Friday was Free Dance day! We were at the rink for 6am to warm up and get our body ready to go on the 7.15am practice. The practice went well, but boy, did it feel early! We then didn’t compete until 9pm, so extra sleep, a good meal, a walk, and a short nap were all in order to prepare for the evening. We skated 5th, and that was 1st of the second warmup group. That was great, as the competition was delayed slightly. It was getting late and there was no time for contemplation. We got on and went for it! We felt we skated well. Perhaps a little more safe than Dortmund 5 days earlier, but it seems that the judges were not impressed, as we got 15 points lower on the Free Dance alone, in comparison to a few days before. We have no idea why the marks were so low and cannot really comment until we get chance to watch our video back. We were somewhat amused by the announcer, however, who said after we skated, “Louise and Owen finish in 12th place.” ??? Quite bizarre, given that only four couples had skated before us! Anyway, we took the hit on the chin and we are not put off by it. Do you know what, we are not World Champions, so there is so much more we need to do and work on. Onwards and upwards, we reckon.

We were delighted to see that, in our opinion, the right couple won—Lynn and Logan from the USA, also skating to Adele and doing a fine job. They are a couple we admire for their perseverance and hard work, and genuinely, it is always a pleasure to compete alongside them. Behind them, everyone was very tightly scored together with some odd results, in our opinion. For example a 2nd in the SD and a 10th in the FD got 2nd overall, and the FD results in general were nothing like the SD. I mean, of course that is ice dance and the way the judging system works, but unexpected to say the least.

Saturday brought a strange turn of events! We got up late, relaxed, took our time, all excited to have two days off. My plan was to go and buy A LOT of Lindt chocolate and eat ice cream for a couple of hours, however, someone had other ideas. We popped back to the rink to say thank you to people and watch our teammates in their free programme. As we walked in the rink we were greeted not by a, “Hello,” but by a, “We would like you to do the gala tonight, will you?” WHAT? But we were going to eat chocolate and ice cream for a day! Nevertheless we made the huge sacrifice 😉 and returned back to the hotel to collect skates and costumes for the Ice Challenge gala 2012.

What a pleasure it was! We were delighted to take part, really. After speaking with our coach Galit, she advised us to try the FD again as we have only performed it twice and it is still only a month old. Reluctantly, we agreed. She was right, but we were petrified! No preparation and a full FD in spotlights, etc! It was great though. The crowd, the lights, and the atmosphere were all worth it! Many great performances by the athletes such as the craaaazy Misha Ge (what a guy!), our lovely gold medallist Jenna McCorkell (who we are very proud of), and a cast full of ‘Heroes,’ which was the theme for the show. It really was our pleasure to take part.

So what happens now? Well actually, we will stay in Graz until Thursday. The next stop for us is the Pavel Roman Trophy in the Czech Republic, starting next Friday. We will stay here and train as we have everything we need, and then meet up with Galit on Thursday, ready to go again.

Despite the results being completely the opposite from what we had hoped, we have had a very enjoyable week. For Owen and I, this season potentially feels like it was over before it began. We are trying to make the best of it and we believe that things happen for a reason. Perhaps the delays, changes, and obstacles are so we can prepare early for Olympic season. Who knows? We know that we are doing the best we can and finally, after many months of soul searching and fighting the system, we are loving our skating again and our passion is back. We were told this week, “As God closes a door, he opens a window. Believe! Everything will come good, you’ll see.” Fingers crossed…

Thank you for having us write for you this week and happy skating.

Lots of love,
Louise (& Owen)