As you are reading this blog, I am sitting backstage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. I am part of the hospitality committee that is helping an elite group of figure skaters from all over the world. The 2009 World Figure Skating Championships are in full swing in L.A. from March 23-29, 2009
Results from these World Championships will be used to determine the majority of the spots available for each country for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The United States has some wonderful skaters competing in World’s.
Reigning U.S. champion Alissa Czisny leads the U.S. ladies contingent. Czisny won gold at the 2008 U.S. Collegiate Championships and the 2008 Nebelhorn Trophy, and finished third at Skate Canada and fourth at the Cup of Russia. She will be joined by 2009 U.S. silver medalist Rachael Flatt, who will make her first appearance at the World Championships. She is the 2008 World Junior champion and a two-time U.S. silver medalist. She won silver this season at the Cup of Russia and finished fourth at Skate America.
The U.S. men are a talented trio, headlined by Jeremy Abbott, who became the first American man to bring home the gold from the Grand Prix Final. After winning the Cup of China and finishing fourth at the Cup of Russia, he was crowned the 2009 U.S. champion in January. Abbott will be joined by two-time World bronze medalist Evan Lysacek and 2009 U.S. silver medalist Brandon Mroz. Lysacek earned bronze at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships and followed that with a silver medal at the 2009 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. Mroz came in fifth at Trophée Eric Bompard and seventh at Skate Canada. Wednesday evening, Evan Lysacek had an outstanding skate and is currently in 2nd place after the short program. Canadian Patrick Chan is in third place. Tomorrow evening is the long program.
The U.S. pairs teams of Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, and Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett will each make their debut at the World Championships. McLaughlin and Brubaker, the 2007 World Junior champions, captured their second consecutive U.S. pairs title at the 2009 U.S. Championships. They won silver at Skate America and bronze at Skate Canada. The newly formed team of Denney and Barrett were the surprise silver medalists at the 2009 U.S. Championships.
2006 Olympic silver medalists Belbin and Agosto will return to the competitive circuit for the first time since their withdrawal from the 2008 Grand Prix Final and the 2009 U.S. Championships due to Agosto’s back injury. The five-time U.S. champions collected silver medals this season at Skate America and the Cup of China. The veterans are competing in their ninth consecutive World Championships. They won silver in 2005 and bronze in 2006 and 2007.
Newly crowned U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White (No. 3) return to the World Championships looking to improve upon last year’s 6th place.
Clay Aiken is a pretty good figure skater himself. Back on December 22, 2003, he surprised most of his fans when he took to the ice at a Carolina Hurricanes/Dallas Stars Hockey Game. Wearing a red Canes jersey, Clay sang the Star Spangled Banner. At the first intermission, he sang I Will Carry You as he skated around the ice. There were no stumbles and he looked at ease as he circled the arena.
Because there is an NHL regulation on how much time a non-player can spend on the ice, Clay moved to a platform crane during the second intermission. Dressed in black, he wished the crowd a Merry Christmas and then sang 3 more songs. As he sang, the arena was darkened and the words “Clay Aiken” in colored lights ran around the top of the arena.
The following video is of Clay singing I Will Carry You as he skates around the arena.