Craziness at the Campbell's Cup, Part II

by Michelle Wojdyla, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online

Check out photos from the Campbell's Cup

Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon of Canada

7:40 a.m.
Nap is over and time to get back to the arena.

8:03 a.m.
And on my first try, I find the right place to park! A 5K walk for breast cancer is about to start, so I'm glad I got in before they closed off the streets.

8:04 a.m.
A very charming and incredibly handsome man offers to help me get over to the skaters' entrance. I find out later he is one of the Cincinnati Cyclones. Did I mention he's incredibly handsome? And a gentleman. Nice.

8:05 a.m.
Pairs are on the ice, all in costume, but are wrapping up. John and Rena are working on the throw triple Axel but are having some timing problems. Everyone looks just a bit off this morning. It's very early.

8:25 a.m.
Valerie Marcoux comes off the ice with blood dripping from her hand. We ask her if her blade cut her. Sheepishly, she replies, “No, my sparkle.” She hit a sequin on her dress and it cut her. “I have a sparkle injury!” She laughed, got a Band-aid, and was good to go.

8:40 ish
Dancers are next. Marie-France and Patrice's program is to “At Last” and is just incredibly seamless for this early in the season. Patrice moves Marie-France around like she weighs nothing. Effortless and smooth. I love this program, possibly more than “Somewhere in Time.” Wow.

Tanith is wearing her old tango dress, which is probably my favorite dress she's ever had. She and Ben power through their twizzles and turns. Seeing the twizzle sequence performed a few feet in front of me—and at ice level—I can't believe people are able to do what they do on blades.

Melissa and Denis have costumes I don't quite understand until I'm told their free dance is about Adam and Eve. The outfits have lots of pinkish flesh color, with fake flowers attached and twig-like decorations.

I missed Tessa and Scott's run through. A few of us were getting the scoop from Johnny Weir on his runway debut. He said it took over an hour to do his hair plus another 15 minutes for his makeup. All that for a 30-second walk down the runway. Johnny also said that he was very nervous. Johnny looks very pale today, and he admitted he's pretty sick. That didn't stop him from landing some triple-triples in practice, however. Patti Weir is off coaching duty as Priscilla Hill has arrived.

When Tessa got off the ice, I had to ask her a question that was bugging me. Her dress is very, very low cut on the side. How does she wear tights with that? Turns out her tights don't have a waistband. They are able to stay low. She hopes.

9:29 a.m.
As the Zamboni finishes, all of the men (minus Johnny) are literally lined up side by side at the edge of the ice. I can't help but call out “On your mark…” and all three Japanese men instantly hit a speed skater starting position. I've got to say, the three guys seem to be having a blast these last two days. While they work very hard on the ice, off of it, they are silly and very enjoyable to be around. At the informal mixed zone meet with journalists yesterday, one of them would mingle with the reporters and pretend to be taking notes and then they would switch off.

9:40 a.m.
Practice is running behind. Mai, Mao, Miki, Sasha and Kimmie are all ready to start. No sign of Emily. The five ladies take the ice. Still no Emily. At the end of the warm-up, Emily bursts through the curtains.

Check out photos from the Campbell's Cup

The Japanese guys are having a blast in Cincinnati.

“The shuttle took us to Kentucky and we had to walk over the bridge to get back!” she exclaimed, laughing (this is Emily, of course) as she tore off her skate guards and hit the ice. After practice, she explained that the roads to the arena were closed down for the race, so when their driver made a wrong turn that took them across the Ohio River, the easiest way to get back was just to walk across the long bridge.

”Hey, they had music playing!” Emily said.

10:47 a.m.
People are starting to come in and the Zamboni is finishing another pass around the ice. I better get something to eat to make it through the next five hours.