All blogs by Melanie Hoyt

Saturday, January 16, 2010

full circle…

In 2005, I sat in the second row at the John Labatt Centre in London and watched Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison’s short program. It was the first time I’d ever seen them skate. They were coming back from an injury and withdrew after a sixth-place short program, so it wasn’t their best competition, but they made an impression on me. In the five years since then, I’ve followed them through triumphs and heartbreaks, from a world championship medal to lackluster competitions. I’ve always rooted for them, because I fondly remember the sassy young pair that dazzled in London.

So when the music ended and Jess put her hands to her face like she couldn’t believe they’d finally put everything together again, I felt like an old friend had returned. I hope this wasn’t their season’s peak; there’s still room for improvement, but it would be incredible if they could build on this free skate for their next competition. The announcement won’t come until about 6:15 this evening, but based on their 15-point victory, I think it’s safe to say that Dube & Davison have earned their second Olympic team berth.

I hope this afternoon’s thrilling free skates are just a glimpse of what else is to come. After an incredible day of skating yesterday, expectations are high, but so many of the pairs lived up to them. Hole & Johnson, Moore-Towers & Moscovitch, and Brodeur & Mattatall all had great performances and set the stage for the battle between the final three pairs. Based on the injury she sustained at Skate America last fall, Meagan Duhamel should not have even been here, but she fought hard all week and at the end of their skate, she and Craig looked so proud of what they had done. I think the look on her face when she landed the second throw was one of my favourite moments of the day so far. And speaking of injuries, 2008 Canadian Champions Anabelle Langlois & Cody Hay have made a statement with this year’s comeback. Despite problems on both jumping passes, they also fought through their program and ended up with enough points to easily stay ahead of Duhamel & Buntin for the silver medal.

In other news, I’ve been exhausting myself trying (and failing) to stay caught up with photos, but they’re coming eventually, as well as reports from the dance events. It’s hard to believe that one of the senior events is already finished. Where has the week gone?!
posted by IDC Staff at 3:57 PM

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dance Nerd

You know you’re early when you get to the rink for the novice free dance before the media room opens.

posted by IDC Staff at 6:05 AM

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Competition Junkie!

This morning, I got to “sleep in.”

It’s funny that, when at skating competitions, I think that 8:00 is sleeping in. It’s also strange when the dancers aren’t the first event in the morning, so I wasn’t sure what to do with myself for half the day. I got caught up on photos from yesterday and ended up shooting both junior and novice pairs.

One thing that has changed for me since my first accredited Canadians in 2008 is how many people recognize me now. I’ve chatted with skaters, coaches, skaters’ parents, and even the parents of one of the judges. The best moment of the day was when I walked by Kathryn Leak and her mom this afternoon, before the junior compulsory dance. Kathryn said hello, but her mom yelled as I walked by, “Competition junkie!” I was still laughing when I got back to the media room because, after thinking about, I realized that this is the fifth competition this season where I’ve seen Kathryn. And I love that about my “job!” I know I say it all the time, but it really is such a privilege to be able to see the dancers progress throughout the season. I hope they are all proud of how far they have come.

I have to give props in this entry to the women in the media centre here at Western Fair — they’ve been so accommodating, as well as entertaining. I’m also loving the beautiful lighting and the Olympic-sized ice here. It’s a great venue for Junior Nationals.

However, no props for the lack of Starbucks on my route from my hotel to the rink in the morning. Thankfully, the media centre staff came through for me again and helped me plan an adjusted course for tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, it’s going to be a busy day! I’m at Western Fair for the novice free dance in the morning, then over to the John Labatt Centre to catch some senior practice, then back to Western Fair for the junior FD, back to Western Fair for more senior practices, to the airport to pick up my first roommate for the week, and finally, back to Western Fair for the midnight novice medal ceremony.

Yeah, I’m definitely going to need that Starbucks.
posted by IDC Staff at 6:19 PM

Monday, January 11, 2010

The journey begins

Five years ago, it took a cancelled flight to Buffalo, a reroute into Toronto, and a drive through a southwestern Ontario blizzard to get me to my first Canadian Championships. I missed the compulsory dance and the ladies short program. So yesterday, as I prepared to return to Canadians in the same city, I wasn’t going to take any chances with London’s weather. Today’s forecast called for snow, starting early in the morning, so I decided to drive up last night.

Of course, there wasn’t any snow until late in the morning, but I know that if I’d been driving this morning, the snow would have come early.

So I got here last night, checked into my room at a “guest house,” discovered that “private half-bath” does not include a shower, got lost twice on the way to the rink this morning, fell on my face on my way to registration, discovered that they didn’t have a credential for me, and was only 10 minutes late for 7 a.m. dance practice. It’s been an eventful day.

Oh yes, and I forgot my phone charger at my friend’s house in Michigan, so I had to go out and buy a new one. Special thanks to the guy at Future Shop for telling me where to find one when he didn’t have the right model in stock.

Perhaps it was a good thing, then, that I was informed when I tried to enter Rink 2 that the media is not allowed in the practice rink. I’d been planning on shooting as many dance practices as I could, but this means that I can cross out five practices between today and Thursday from my schedule.

It’s great to be here, especially after missing Canadians last year. I want to put in a petition to keep Canadians within driving distance of Chicago, but I’m not sure how all the provinces besides Ontario would like that!

I was able to shoot junior practice this morning and novice compulsory practice this evening, since both of those were in the big rink. Most of the girls wore their dresses for the Argentine Tango during the practice, so it was funny to see the Silver Samba done without the usual neon fabrics. There were definitely some nerves present in both practices today. I hope everyone’s first-day jitters are gone now, and I’m looking forward to a great competition.

Oh, and I’ve already taken 1,943 photos today. The competition hasn’t even started yet. Any bets on how many I’ll take by Sunday?

posted by IDC Staff at 6:36 PM