Practice Photos of Alexei
Impressions of Skate Canada
October 30, 2000
I'm here in Mississauga, LOL...The good news - I'm here! And that's amazing because I missed my flight this morning (don't ask!), but they booked me on the next one on standby and everything went fine. I got here only two hours later than I should have. Whew!
The bad news - I have extra surcharges here to log on, so I can't spend much time online at all.
I'll try and do most of my post compositions offline and then post them all at once, but that's a big pain, of course.
John Zimmerman (yum!) and a couple ladies skaters were on my flight out of Colorado Springs to Denver, and Victor Kraatz was on my flight to Toronto. He sat right in front of me,
LOL....had to behave myself....
October 31, 2000
Well, I'll make this quick because I have to get offline to save telephone charges, but I do plan to spend today writing up the rest of my Skate America reports, and I will post them as soon as I'm done. It will be nice to have a few free hours to finally do this! My SC companions don't arrive until late tonight.
I saw Irina Slutskaya last night - wearing that absolutely adorable shaggy jacket I love so much. Didn't see any other skaters yesterday other than the ones on my flights, but I didn't spend much time out in public - I was exhausted, still, from SA and just went to bed early. Um, what is this problem people have with describing a distance as "two blocks?" Does it always take twenty minutes to walk two blocks,
By the way, I'm not staying at the Days Inn after all, I'm staying at the Radisson on
Argentia. So if anyone going to SC wants to reach me at my hotel, that's where I will be,
Okay, I'm off to do my reports!
I basically kicked back in my room for most of the day, reveling in the quiet and solitude,
LOL...then I headed over to the Delta for dinner, and I was supposed to meet my roommate and her friend in the bar after 8:30 p.m. They were arriving from the airport that evening. I saw Tatiana Tarasova in the lobby talking to friends.
I went into the bar/grille to have dinner and found the perfect seat to observe - Kim, you would have been proud of me! Everyone pretty much had to walk by me to get to and from their rooms. First skater I saw was Irina
Slutskaya, of course, wearing her wonderful shaggy jacket, LOL....in fact, I saw her walking back and forth several times. Then Tatiana and her friends came into the bar/grille and sat at a table near me. Fran and Mary and friends came into the bar and sat at the table next to me. They also came over to my table and talked with me for a bit. Fran said she had seen Gwendal Peizerat already. I saw Sergei Sakhnovsky several times - one time Tatiana left the bar to bring him to her table. Richard Callahan walked by, and not too long after that so did Todd
Eldredge. I saw Gwendal walk into the gift shop. No mistaking him with that hair,
LOL! Then he stood at the doorway to the bar, trying to decide if he wanted to come in or not.
I silently willed him to come in, but it didn't work, LOL.....Richard Callahan came in and sat down for a while, Todd and people I'm pretty sure were his parents also came in and joined Richard.
Around 10:00 p.m., I started wondering if my companions had had flight problems because they weren't there yet. I was tired of sitting in the bar and didn't want to have another drink, so I decided to wait for them in the lobby, knowing that there was no way to get to the bar except to pass by me.
Every time the revolving front door opened, I would look up to see if they were here yet. I decided to wait until 10:30 and then give up and go back to the Radisson. I saw Tatiana and Sergei come through the lobby to check at the hotel desk and then leave.
At 10:25, the revolving door moved and I looked up and it was Alexei! I didn't want him to see me! I just knew he would think I was waiting for him and that would be so embarrassing. There was a big potted plant between us, and I hoped he hadn't seen me - I had glimpsed him between the corn plant fronds, LOL....I prayed desperately that he would walk behind me and not in front of me, where there was no way he could miss me because I was the only person sitting in the lobby and there was nowhere to run or hide, LOL....he walked behind me - whew!
But then I just had to sneak a peek to see if he had stopped at the hotel desk or had kept on walking towards the rooms. When I looked over at the hotel desk, he was looking right at me. Argh! Caught! I just looked away quickly and sat there mortified until I finally felt it was safe to leave,
November 1, 2000
Y'all will be pleased to know Alexei made both of his practices today, both the early morning one and the afternoon one, although he was more cheerful for the afternoon one, LOL - he laughed and joked with Todd, and even I got a smile from him as he skated by....
November 2, 2000
Well, Klara found me, so we can sit together for the men's programs!
It's been fun meeting new people I know from the net. So far on this trip, I've met Sylvia
(Skatephile), Amy Salamey, Bonnie, and Klara.
People keep giving me photographs of
Alexei, LOL! Emma gave me this very nice one she took of Alexei and Dmitri, and Leigh gave me about 20 photos of Alexei she has taken over the last two years. I'll see if I can get some of Leigh's up on the web for you guys to look at.
One good thing about sitting next to great photographers like Leigh and Emma is that I know when they are getting good shots of
Alexei, LOL....although prying Leigh away from her beloved Todd is a challenge - whining, whimpering, and begging works pretty well, though...
The ice seems fine here. The only problem is that everything is so far away - nothing is really walking distance in terms of hotels and the venue. I'm spoiled from having just been to Masters and Skate America, where the
hotel(s) was so close to the venue.
I was hoping to get practice reports up this afternoon, but I just can't seem to find the time. There was only an hour and a half between the end of practices and the beginning of the comp, and we still had to come back to the hotel to eat, change clothes, etc., so I have literally just not had the time to post anything. But don't worry - I have all my notes, and I eventually will get it together once I have a few spare minutes!
Alexei wore a new black T-shirt with a white Chinese (I think) design on it to practice today. We're trying to figure out what it means,
LOL...he did a brief walk through of his short program today along with working on his triple axels, and I think I saw one quad toe and a couple triple lutzes as well. He wore a light gray pullover sweater when he first arrived and sat in the stands for a while before he skated. I think Emma and Leigh got some good pics of him, so I'm anxious to see how they turn out. I'm getting my film developed, too, but I don't have the great camera equipment they have,
I saw Kurt Browning at the first men's practice. He called Alexei over to him, and they gave each other a nice hug.
After the men's short programs
Having seen Alexei perform Chopin live in four separate events by now, I think this was his least effective performance of the four, but it was still good enough to win. It was one of those programs where things were not really going right for him, but he was determined to fight his way through it. I didn't think he would be able to tack on the double toe, either, but he did. It reminded me a bit of his long program at Worlds - he was just completely determined to get through it, but it wasn't really an inspired performance. But you can't get them all that way,
LOL...the Masters performance and certainly the Skate America performance would be difficult indeed to surpass.
It was funny, because after the event, we were in the Delta bar, and every time CTV showed highlights of the coverage again, Fran and her friends would drag me away from my table (hard to do 'cause I was watching Alexei playing pool,
LOL...) so I could see Alexei on TV - they could see the TV from where they were sitting, but I couldn't,
I didn't get to see the banner, but I did see several shots of Alexei skating...
Klara and I don't know if Alexei saw the banner or not - he never would look directly at us,
November 3, 2000
Well, Alexei is feeling fine, LOL....he was very cordial at the Delta tonight. He was playing pool with Dmitri again. I sat at a table with Kathleen and Amy, and they both ran into him in the hall, where he gave them a very cheery hello,
LOL...I wouldn't be surprised if he was aware we were watching him play pool - our table was very well situated for Alexei admiring,
LOL....and after Alexei called it a night, Dmitri and Anton sat at the table next to ours.
When we attended practices this morning, they had roped off the sections behind the judges where we had normally been sitting, so we ended up sitting in the coaches' section. Tatiana and Nikolai sat right next to me for the dance practices, Marina Zoueva sat next to me for the men's first practice, and then Tatiana and Nikolai sat next to me for the second men's practice. Actually, it was a bit awkward, because with Alexei standing just a foot or two away from me whenever he would come over to the boards to talk to Tatiana, I had to look everywhere but at him,
LOL...I'm sure Daphne was vastly amused, LOL....I think Emma (who was sitting behind me) took about four photos of him for me,
LOL....but I couldn't look at him! I think tomorrow I will sit a row back - too nerve-wracking to stay where I was!
Alexei's practice went well, and he is still laughing about something with Todd, because they were cracking each other up again.
November 4, 2000
We attended this morning's ladies, men's, and part of the dance practices.
Alexei didn't do many jumps but he looked good doing what he was doing,
LOL...he also didn't do a run through of his program, skipping part of the footwork and all the jumps. He wore his mysterious Chinese emblem T-shirt again, along with his gray pullover. This time, we sat in the row behind the coaches,
LOL....I took a few photos (well, twenty-four, LOL!) of Alexei, but I still felt I was too close. But I did get some good ones (I hope) as he approached the boards. I know Kathy and Emma must have gotten some excellent ones - I have seen Emma's,
LOL, so I know hers are great.
After the first dance practice, Leigh and I decided to go back to the Delta for an early dinner because we didn't think we'd have time after the men's competition that night. While we were eating, we saw Anton, Elena, Tamara
Moskvina, and Michael Collins (he had also been in the bar the night before) at tables next to us, and we saw Gwendal and Marina and Maria Petrova walk by.
Well, practices are closed to the public tomorrow, so I plan to sleep in,
I will try very hard to get my men's long programs review up tomorrow - Alexei was simply nothing less than amazing, and I consider myself so fortunate to have seen such terrific performances from him this year already - Chopin at Masters and Skate America, and the exhibition and pro/am version of "Gladiator" in Sun Valley and Skate America, and now the long program version at Skate Canada. It is such an incredible **privilege** to have seen these historic performances live.
I'm looking at this one pic now that Emma took this morning - he looks absolutely fantastic! He is standing at the boards talking to Tatiana, and he has the most beautiful expression on his face. Emma also gave me this pic of him smiling at something someone said to him while he was standing at the boards.
I've taken three rolls of film from the practices, and I have already developed one of them - the other two will get developed when I get home. I have several nice pics of Alexei already, and I should end up with a few more.
He seemed quite the happy camper tonight at the Delta. He didn't play pool tonight,
LOL, but he did come into the bar for a short time and was very sociable. Karla had a nice view from her seat...
Well, it is 4:00 a.m. here right now, so I really must get to bed,
November 5, 2000
I apologize for not posting my men's review yesterday, but I had the choice of spending a leisurely evening all alone in my room at the Radisson (Leigh left on Sunday), having oodles of time to type up my reports and posting them, getting a good night's sleep and a free shuttle to the airport in the a.m. *OR* spending the night at the Delta in a crowded room, no sleep (we stayed up until 1:30 a.m. hanging out in the Delta bar, LOL - and there was a false fire alarm at 2:00 a.m. which seemed to go on forever,
LOL). Which do you think I picked? No contest!
Anyway, I was duly rewarded for my efforts, LOL - got to meet an utterly charming and hilarious Russian skater - Alexei Tikhonov (he has immediately been added to my list of "Favorite Russian Men,"
LOL...) Daphne is doing his official page, and he and Maria were to give her an interview and Amy was to handle the photo session - and guess what? The hotel room they used for the interview was Alexei's (probably because they knew he was busy playing pool and wouldn't be back for hours,
LOL). Anyway, Alexei Tikhonov came over to our table and apologized to us for taking Daphne and Amy away from us for a while. He also asked us if we were having a good time. He was cute!
We watched Fedor Andreev get his butt pinched by a girl who was passing behind him while he was signing an autograph at our table - he said "Oh!" and seemed to jump about twenty feet,
LOL.... Don't try this at home, girls, LOL - it was obviously someone he knew...
And the best part, of course, LOL.....I got to watch Alexei and Nikolai play pool from about 5:30 p.m. until they kicked us all out of the bar around 1:00 or 1:30
a.m..... Yes, Nikolai is still wearing his leather pants - and still leaving a wake of swooning women in his path,
LOL...unfortunately, for those of you who do not attend live comps, you are unlikely to get to see him wearing them because he wears a regular suit in the Kiss and Cry, and that's usually all you will ever see of him on television.
We're hoping, of course, that Alexei might take up this interesting leather trend...
Alexei did leave briefly for about an hour to attend the skaters' banquet, but he soon came back to his favorite haunt, the pool tables,
LOL.....we got to watch a wonderful parade of dressed up skaters - Irina Slutskaya wins my prize for best dressed - loved her elegant, black backless dress! - heading to the banquet dressed to the teeth. Everybody looked great!
Alexei was playing pool with Lenny Faustino when the already dressed and ready to go Canadian team came into the bar to fetch Lenny,
LOL. And Lenny came back down from his room in what seemed like only three minutes - completely dressed to the nines...we couldn't figure out how he did it so fast,
LOL! Alexei also went to get dressed, and when he returned, he looked pretty cool in a nice black short sleeved shirt and black pants... I had a feeling he wouldn't be gone long, though, 'cause he had seemed reluctant to leave,
Todd and friends were also in the bar, and Takeshi Honda arrived with Fedor and sat in the corner. We didn't see Tatiana or
Dmitri, so I was wondering if they left early. A lot of the skaters left on Sunday night, although it seemed most of them stuck around for the banquet and were leaving on Monday.
November 6, 2000
What a fine greeting, LOL - I get back home after spending all day at airports and on planes - and on three hours of sleep, no less - and find I have no water! (The hazards of rural life when you have a well and not city water,
It did actually cross my mind at 2:00 a.m. when the fire alarm went off if it was our former prankster (he was once known for leaving a 6:00 a.m. wake up call for people he knew hadn't gotten to bed until the wee, wee hours of the morning, LOL) - but this doesn't fit in with his new, mature image,
Anyway, I'm going to take a brief nap and then get to work...