Ice Network

The Inside Edge: Hubbell finds balance in yoga

Cirque du Soleil aerialists fly high in opening; Grafton returns to land
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Madison Hubbell with her brother and former partner, Keiffer. -Sarah S. Brannen

Opening

At last, the senior events are underway, and the excitement level is skyrocketing, particularly every time a Boston-area skater takes the ice. The crowd shook the building cheering for Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, and it did a lot of good as the team rose to the occasion with a great program, under what must have been a lot of pressure.

Backstage after their press conference, Shnapir was still glowing and grinning from ear to ear.

We hope you had a chance to see the beautiful opening ceremony before the ladies free skate. Tim LeBlanc choreographed and directed the number, which included four Cirque du Soleil aerialists in gold flying high, high over the ice. He called the number "The Hero's Journey."

"It's about the triumphs and challenges an athlete goes through on the way to becoming a champion," he said. "Everyone has their own moment of becoming a hero."

The performance was over a year in the planning, and the cast rehearsed for three months. Naturally, with a huge cast, many dancers and four aerialists, things got complicated.

"When we started, we wanted all the red silks to be connected," he said. "And three weeks ago, when we put it together, they got all tangled up and everyone was falling all over the place. So we did them separately, and it worked really well. I think it went great!"

Yoga

Spotted in the hotel last night: former ice dancer Keiffer Hubbell with his gorgeous sister, Madison. We took a picture of them together, and he professed himself surprised and flattered.

"I'm coasting off the fame of my sister," he said. "If I knew I was going to be photographed, I would have gotten a haircut."

Hubbell has been doing some coaching in Michigan, but mostly he's concentrating on yoga these days. He manages Breathe yoga studio in Bloomfield Hills and has completed a 200-hour training program to teach the discipline as well.

"We had yoga every week when I was skating," he said. "It balances your body; it's very healing. There was something I was getting from yoga that I wasn't getting from other parts of my life."

Cruisin'

2012 U.S. junior pairs bronze medalist Colin Grafton is here watching the Championships, on a break from a long cruise ship contract on Navigator of the Seas. Prior to going aboard, he spent eight months skating in several shows in Mexico.

"I got very tan!" he said. "I had a blast learning about the show side of skating. Now I have the opportunity to do both singles and pairs on the ship, which is really great."

'Davis and White' moment

Stephen Carriere was sitting in the stands to watch the ladies short. He was disappointed to miss training mates Castelli and Shnapir's short program earlier but said he was looking forward to seeing their free skate Saturday, despite having to compete himself the next day. 

"My practice doesn't conflict, so I can watch them," he said. "I'm so excited for them. And I can't wait to watch Meryl and Charlie have their 'Michelle Kwan' moment. One hundred percent certain. It's going to be a 'Davis and White' moment from now on!"

Gold medals

Olympic champion sightings: Five. We saw Sarah Hughes and Scott Hamilton at the Garden last night during ladies practice, and we rode the bus to the Garden this morning with the beautiful Marina Klimova. We saw Brian Boitano just now, between the pairs and ladies short programs, and Tara Lipinski backstage.

Michelle Kwan sightings: Zero, and we're very jealous of all the people who have seen her already! Apparently, we missed her earlier by a few feet and a few minutes.

Also spotted between events this evening: Johnny Weir, in an all-gray fur (naturally) ensemble with a long-skirted coat and leggings, and his mom, Patti.

We're looking forward to a great ladies event!

Sarah and Drew

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