Ice Network

The Inside Edge: Legends descend on Boston

Kwan finally sighted; Boitano delights fans; Cain beams after short
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Brian Boitano signs a copy of his book for devoted fan Jessica Faragi. -Sarah S. Brannen

We got a ride back from the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the TD Garden on Thursday night with Chrissy, a concession worker who has been manning various stands at the Garden for 18 years. She has seen it all: the Celtics, the Bruins, Elton John and more, but she absolutely loves watching the skaters.

"They make it look so easy," she said.

As we walked through the VIP parking, we spotted Johnny Weir and his mom, Patti, waiting in a car. We had photographed his eye-catching, all-gray ensemble earlier -- "It's sheared mink… and mink," he told us, smoothing down the patterns on the hooded coat.

Patti said it was hard being back at the Championships, after so many years supporting her talented son.

"We had hoped he would finish in Boston," she said. "Since his first senior nationals was in Boston (in 2001)."

As it happens, Johnny won his first U.S. title 10 years ago today (Friday). It hardly seems possible.

Salt Lake City

Longer ago than that, 2010 Olympian Mark Ladwig was a volunteer at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"I was just a little kid," he said. "I saw Todd Eldredge; he was really nice to me, and I talked to Sarah Hughes. She let me hold her gold medal!"

Ladwig has been here all week manning the Jackson Ultima booth. He's now a technical rep for Jackson.

"It's family," he said, about the big yearly reunion that is the Championships.

Elvis Stojko just arrived, after spending two days covering the Canadian championships. He is still covering skating for Yahoo Sports, and he'll be going to Sochi.


Kimmie Meissner said she and her 2006 Olympic teammate, Emily Hughes, watched the ladies short program together Thursday night. Meissner hasn't been back to a U.S. championships since she last competed in 2008.

Asked what it felt like, she said, "It's weird. It kind of makes me want to do it again! I was sitting with Emily, and we both said we wanted to go down there. I still have that fire."


We saw Ashley Cain, who was then in first place, on the concourse during the ladies short program ice make, and she was on cloud nine.

"Oh my gosh, I'm so happy right now!" she said. "I actually can't even remember skating."


Handsome ice dancer John Kerr is in Boston with his beautiful fiancée, Nadine Ahmed.

"It's my first time at U.S. nationals!" he said, enthusiastically.

Kerr and Ahmed have been working with Ruslan Goncharov, and they are here with senior ice dance team Gabriela Morrell-Zucker and Andrejs Sitiks. Kerr and his sister, Sinead, choreographed their free dance.

While we were chatting, equally handsome John Zimmerman passed by, chasing after his toddler, Sofia.

Nearby, Andrew Speroff and his parents were waiting to go to practice. Speroff said he hadn't had a chance to see any of the other pairs skate last night, but he heard great things.

"It's exciting to be part of a good event," he said. "We felt really good about our skate."

Pairs skater Timothy LeDuc walked by, all smiles after a third-place short program Thursday night.

"It was the most fun I've ever had on the ice," he said. "It was the kind of thing you dream about."


Brian Boitano was on the concourse before the men's short program, signing copies of his 2013 cookbook, What Would Brian Boitano Make? Fans started lining up more than an hour ahead of time.

Clara Yoon, third in line, wasn't born when Boitano won his Olympic gold medal in 1988, but she idolizes him anyway.

"I grew up watching him skate," she said. "Not only is he an incredible skater, but he seems like a great guy, and I love how he takes his creativity off the ice into cooking. I just want to meet him! He's one of my childhood idols."

"He's the reason I started skating," Jessica Faragi said. "We used to go see every show he was in. He's one of the most beautiful, purest skaters."

New role

Jonathan Cassar choreographed Courtney Hicks' Evita free skate, along with those of junior pairs Chelsea Liu and Devin Perini, and AnnaMarie Pearce and Jason Pacini (with Christine Binder). He retired from competition after the 2013 U.S. Championships, but he is not finding it strange to be here as a choreographer instead of a skater.

"The only thing that's awkward is when people don't know I choreographed for the kids, and they're like, 'What are you doing here?'" he said.


Olympic champion sightings: 7. We saw Kristi Yamaguchi after the ladies short program Thursday night and snapped a photo of Natalia Linichuk on the concourse with dancer Katherine Pilgrim.

Michelle Kwan sightings: 3! After several near-misses, we finally saw her Thursday night in a beautiful purple dress. Friday, she seemed to be everywhere, always radiant.

It's time for the men's short program! We hope you enjoy it.

Sarah and Drew
@SarahandDrew on Twitter