Hello from Debrecen!

Today was our final Short Dance event of the season, and while it was St. Patrick’s Day home in America, there was no shortage of good luck here in Hungary.

We started the day with our official warmup, which was held in our skate order groupings.  We got the sense of how interconnected our sport can be as we shared the ice with two teams that have trained in Novi periodically over the past season (the Italians and the Canadians) plus the Korean team that is coached by a former Igor Shpilband student (Aaron Lowe).  It is pretty remarkable that one individual can create a chain reaction in the development of the sport and have such a far-reaching impact on ice dance.

We felt a little anxious during the warmup — all the excitement of finally getting to compete is hard to contain — but we were pleased with our level of energy and commitment to the program segments.  Following rest and a meal back at the hotel,  we were finally ready to compete.    The audience was very enthusiastic for all the dancers.  The arena was filled with elderly people and school children, as the local organizing committee has done an amazing job of promoting this event throughout Debrecen.

We took the ice for our final performance of “My Sweet and Tender Beast” and enjoyed every moment of the program.  We’ve worked really hard on the NtCiSt element since Nationals and were rewarded with Level 3 and high GOEs on it here.  Our signature straight line lift got a little wonky on the setup and we made an adjustment on the fly in Ellie’s body position, preserving our Level 4 difficulty and earning (+) GOEs, even though we weren’t able to show off Ellie’s statuesque and flexible body extensions for the photographers!  Our score was just a few hundredths lower than at Logrono, and we left the Kiss and Cry area pleased with our skate.

As soon as the last group took the ice, a chain reaction of unusual circumstances occurred.  Predictions based from the JGP season and the JGP Final didn’t materialize, as some teams skated better than expected, others missed levels, and another fell.  When the accounting was done, Team USA has a hearty lead in 1st and 2nd places.  There is roughly a 6 point drop with a virtual 6-way tie for 3rd place.  There are only 1.5 points between 3rd place and 8th place with teams from Russia, France and us in that mix!  Saturday’s Free Dance is sure to be explosive with any number of permutations possible for the podium outcome.

We have already hinted numerous times during this blog as to the identity of today’s Hungarian Innovation, (chain reaction, energy, explosive, permutation). Leo Szilard was a Hungarian physicist who conceived of the nuclear chain reaction in 1933 and patented the idea for the nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi.

Thanks for reading!

Ellie & Alex