Ice Network

The Inside Edge: Champs Camp was a blast

Team USA skaters enjoy exciting week of fun, preparation
  • Ice Network on Facebook
  • Ice Network on Twitter
Alex Shibutani and Marissa Castelli of "Team Sophisticated Rock'n'Roll." -Peter Zapalo

Everyone we've talked to had a great time at Champs Camp last week. People said it was informative and useful, and a lot of fun too. Highlights included addresses by Scott Hamilton and Paralympian Brad Snyder, who were both inspiring. Snyder lost his eyesight in 2011 when he was in Afghanistan in the Navy. In 2012, he won two gold medals at the Paralympics in London.

On Saturday night, the skaters attended a dinner at Penrose House, the mansion of Broadmoor Hotel founders Spencer and Julie Penrose. They mingled in the gardens, which were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, and took pictures (and tweeted them).

However, the event that really caught our imagination was the annual "team-building activity." The skaters were randomly broken into five groups and given this Project Runway-esque challenge: Create costumes out of duct tape for a pairs or dance team, based on two themes pulled out of a hat.

Team "Chic Swan Lake" included John Coughlin, Daniel Eaton, Max Aaron, Sammi Cesario, Lindsay Davis and Gracie Gold. The two swans, Agnes Zawadzki and Jeremy Abbott, wore ballet-inspired costumes of silver and black duct tape, and big orange beaks. Abbott also had a fetching headdress.

"My dress was fabulous thanks to Samantha Cesario's construction," Zawadzki said. "Needless to say, we had a great group that really worked well together."

Team "Disney Classics" comprised Ashley Wagner, Jason Brown, Madison Hubbell, Felicia Zhang, Nate Bartholomay, Brandon Frazier and Caydee Denney.

Team "Fierce Roaring 20s" was made up of Richard Dornbush, Alexa Scimeca, Maia Shibutani, Josh Farris, Caroline Zhang, Rockne Brubaker, Britney Simpson and Mirai Nagasu.

Team "Modern Spanish Influenza" included Simon Shnapir, Meryl Davis, Matt Blackmer, Alexandra Aldridge, Adam Rippon and Evan Bates.

"We basically had to use duct tape in different colors and a few other items like T-shirts," Shnapir told us. "We had the option of using music. I was in the group that had Adam and Evan, who were our 'couple,' if you will. Everyone else had a boy and girl, but we decided to go with two guys. We made Adam look like a bull, and Evan was the matador. We played Spanish music and Evan came out first, dancing with a red cape. And he retreated, and Adam came out as a bull, and then they came out and did a piece together."

Team "Sophisticated Rock-n-Roll" included Charlie White, Zach Donohue, Chris Knierim, Haven Denney, Madison Chock, Christina Gao and Ross Miner. Marissa Castelli and Alex Shibutani walked the runway to "American Woman."

"Alex and I were the models," Castelli said. "We chose who was tiniest, and who was the biggest ham."

"It was a collaborative effort," Miner said. "I worked on Alex's vest. There was a guitar involved. Madison Chock did a lot; she's into fashion."

"Charlie White started working on a tie for me," Castelli went on. "Alex Shibutani was working on a bowtie, and Chris and Haven were working on a hat, and Ross and Zach was working on a vest. You both had to go down the runway by yourself, and then you went down with your partner. We didn't actually choreograph anything until we were out there. I did some hair flips and strutted down the runway. That tape is not very breathable, though; I don't recommend it."

Christina Gao made the guitar, Chock made Castelli's dress, and the team was victorious.

"My team won; I don't want to brag," Miner said.

Max Aaron posted a short video of the runway here: enjoy! 

A day at SCOB

The Skating Club of Boston was hectic on Tuesday afternoon, as everyone tried to sort out the new fall schedule. On the ice, junior pair Alex Shaughnessy and Jimmy Morgan were running their "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" free skate. Miner did a run-through of his "Boston Strong" program, which looks like it's going to raise some goosebumps. Miner and Morgan were wearing identical gray shirts and black pants, apparently by coincidence.

Christina Gao was hard at work in the weight room, having skated earlier in the day. Stephen Carriere had also finished his training for the day. Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff had just gotten off the ice and they were looking forward to getting outside and enjoying the beautiful summer day.

"It was a good summer," Speroff said. "I'm living right next to a big state park. I go for a hike every day."

"I'm looking forward to fall; it was a busy summer," Donlan said. She has a new haircut, with bangs, and she looked tan and very cute.

After the session, Miner's mother, Gloria, came in with fabric swatches sent by the costume designer. One shade was immediately nixed on account of looking too much like a children's TV character, but there were about 50 other shades on the boards, and we wouldn't dream of giving anything else away.

Evening with Champions

Tickets for the 43rd annual "An Evening with Champions" benefit for the Jimmy Fund are now on sale. Visit for more information. Emily Hughes and Paul Wylie will host, and skaters include Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov, Kimmie Meissner, Rachael Flatt, Blake Rosenthal, Hughes, Alex Johnson, Anastasia Cannusico and Colin McManus, The Next Ice Age and the Haydenettes, along with many more skaters to be announced soon.

The show will take place at Harvard University on Oct. 5-6, and we will be there to bring you lots of news and photos.

More soon,

Sarah and Drew