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Jordan rules: Moeller blogs from junior worlds

U.S. junior silver medalist relays behind-the-scenes tales from Sofia
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Jordan Moeller, seen here with coach Kori Ade, shares his experiences from the world junior championships. -Klaus-Reinhold Kany

U.S. junior silver medalist Jordan Moeller sinks his teeth into his surroundings as he relays adventures from the 2014 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Sunday, March 16

Well, this is it! My final blog entry for the 2014 World Junior Championships has been submitted. Even though we have been here in Sofia for a full week, it seems like this trip is coming to a close faster than any of us would have thought.

I woke up this morning around 9 a.m. to grab some breakfast with Quinn [Carpenter] and Max [Settlage] before getting ready to go cheer on the U.S. ladies. After breakfast, we went upstairs to get a few things ready for our trips back home. I wouldn't quite call it packing, since that is always a rush job at the end of the night, but we got some things tidied up and more accessible.

After a bit of organization, I got on the shuttle to see Tyler [Pierce] skate her long program. It felt odd but strangely nice to go to the rink without my skates and costumes. When we got to the rink, Tyler was just about to take the ice. We sat up in the stands, flags in hand, and got ready to cheer as loud as possible. Tyler skated a pretty good long and ended up 14th overall. Next up was Karen [Chen]. She also had a good skate and ended up ninth. Amber [Glenn] was the last of the Americans; she skated very well and ended up in seventh overall. A huge congratulations to our U.S. ladies on a job well done!

After the ladies event was over, Aya [Takai], Nathan [Chen], Sho [Omori], Amber and I all went over to the street merchant shops that were across from the rink. One of the ladies made pretty good friends with Amber and actually went to her event to watch her skate. She made these bracelets that will give you good luck when you tie them to a tree at the first sign of spring. It was really interesting being able to learn a little more about the Bulgarian culture.

We went back over to the rink to watch the exhibition gala. These events are always a lot of fun because it allows skaters to skate to music that they would otherwise not have the chance to. There are always a lot of pop songs and other lyrical songs that are not normally allowed.

After the exhibition was over, we said goodbye to all the friends we had made from the rink and went back to the hotel. (Team leader) Wendy [Enzmann] had organized a team dinner, so we all walked over to Victoria's, an Italian restaurant not too far from the hotel. I don't think I have ever had so much food in my life. We started off with pizza, then moved on to chicken, followed closely behind by pasta, and then finally a dessert. We were finally able to all get together without the stress of competition in the back of our minds. It was certainly a perfect way to end our trip.

That's about all I have got for you. It has been an honor blogging for you here in Bulgaria. I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures over here in Sofia. See you all next time!

Saturday, March 15

Good evening, everyone! Today was the big day. The junior men from Team USA finished out their seasons with a strong ending. Nathan led us with a third-place finish and the bronze medal. I skated an international season's best performance and finished ninth overall.

I am very happy with how this competition went. I went for everything I planned to do, even though a couple of things felt a little shaky. Between Nathan and myself, we were able to earn the maximum number of spots for the U.S. next season at every Junior Grand Prix and junior worlds. I am so proud to have been a part of that feat. Congratulations to all the competitors on a job well done.

I started off my morning at 5:30 a.m. I got down to the breakfast room and ate with (Canadian competitors) Nam [Nguyen] and Roman [Sadovsky]. We all had another warmup before we actually had to skate. This would be our last practice of the competition. I began my session at 8:30 and ran parts of my long program. I got off the ice feeling good and ready to go.

After the session was over, I went back to the hotel to get things settled in a bit before leaving for the rink. I got to play a little more cards with Quinn, Max and Sho before leaving to compete. After a while, though, it was time to get back to the rink and begin to prepare for my performance.

I got back on the bus to get over to the rink. I have just taken to reading The Shining while on the bus. It is a good time-killer and a good way to take my mind off things.

When we got to the rink, I began to warm up and get loose. I ran around a bit, did some dynamic stretches and worked on getting my rotational axis in the right spot. After a little more time, it was time to get ready. I quickly changed and put my skates on. The warm-up went really well, and I was feeling great. I skated third, so I had a little time to refocus and keep my head in the right spot. When it was my turn, I got on the ice and felt the ice out for a little longer before my name was called. It was time.

I am very happy with how my performance went. I had a couple of bobbles, nothing substantial, throughout the program but stayed on my feet and rotated everything I had planned. I could not be happier with how my season ended. After I skated, I went up with the rest of the team to cheer on Nathan. He skated really well and earned the bronze.

After the event was over, I went back to the hotel and had dinner. I was starving! After dinner, a lot of the Team USA kids went down to the lobby to play cards together. We had a lot of fun bonding over these card games. All the events were complete except for the ladies, who compete their free skate Sunday afternoon. I wish all the best to Amber, Karen and Tyler -- you can do it ladies!

Friday, March 14

Today was the day of the free dance and ladies short program. On the ladies end of it, Amber finished up fifth, Karen finished sixth and Tyler finished eighth. They are off to a great start!

The dancers finished up this evening as well. Jean-Luc [Baker] and Kaitlin [Hawayek] finished first overall and earned the title of world junior champions ... congratulations, you guys! Lorraine [McNamara] and Quinn finished fourth, and the Parsons came in eighth. It was a great day for Team USA!

I started my day off by waking up around 7:30 a.m. I got my things together and headed downstairs to get some food in my stomach. After getting breakfast, I got on the shuttle to get ready for my only practice of the day at 12:10 p.m. I warmed up while watching some of the ladies compete. The first American, Tyler, was scheduled to go on almost as soon as my practice was finished. Practice went very well for me. This was my last chance to do a run-through before it was time for the real thing. I was certainly feeling ready.

After practice was complete, I ran back upstairs to watch Tyler skate. I made it just in time! She skated well enough to put her in the second-to-last warm-up for the long program. Next up was Amber. She skated a personal-best short program and earned herself a spot in the last warmup for the long program.

After Amber skated, I went back to the hotel to relax. It felt weird not having anything I had to get done with so much time on my hands. I was able to get some homework done, I watched some of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and I was even able to hang out with some of the dancers before they skated. When 6:30 rolled around, I went to dinner with the dancers and played some cards with them before it was time to let them get going for their competition.

After dinner, I went back upstairs, grabbed my book and put a little more of a dent in The Shining before heading off to bed. It's a big day tomorrow, and it starts off really early. Here's to another 5:30 a.m. competition morning!

Thursday, March 13

This morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get some breakfast and get on the bus for my 8:40 practice ice. Practice went really well, and I was feeling very good about my performance. Again, I stretched out and rolled out before heading back to the hotel to rest up before the event. I got my book out and knocked out a few chapters of The Shining. Avery Kurtz (a fellow skater and friend of Moeller's in Colorado Springs) has been yelling at me for not finishing the book sooner so we can all watch the movie when I am done with the book. I also watched a little more of The Lord of the Rings before getting some lunch and getting back on the shuttle to get ready for my event.

I took my time warming up and got myself mentally prepared as well. I was feeling a little nervous but in a way that just gave me a little more adrenaline. I got my skates tied and duct taped, and was feeling good.

I was the first of the American men to take the ice. I started off my program with my first ever triple Axel in competition! It was such an amazing feeling to achieve that here at junior worlds. After my bit of excitement, I was able to calm myself down and finish the rest of the program clean. It was a personal-best score of 66.38 for me, and I finished up ninth after the short. I was thrilled.

After the event was over, I went back to the hotel to grab some dinner and go to bed. I had dinner with the rest of the team, a few Canadians and one of the French kids. It is so fun to sit with kids from other countries and be able to bond with them. It is just one of the many great things about international travel.

Well, off to bed! I need to recover from this exciting day.

Wednesday, March 12

Good evening, everyone! Today was the last practice day before the short program. The pairs and dancers competed their short programs/dances today (with great result, I might add).

Let's start with the results.

On the ice dancing side of things, Kaitlin and Jean-Luc have taken the lead by a fairly good margin. Lorraine and Quinn are in third, with the Parsons right behind them in fourth. On the pairs side of things, Maddie [Aaron] and Max are sitting in fifth, with Kaitlin [Budd] and Nikita [Cheban], and Aya and Brian [Johnson] right behind them in ninth and 11th, respectively. Let's keep up the good work, Team USA!

I started off my day by sleeping in. It was pretty wonderful. I went down to breakfast around 8:30 a.m. with Max and Nathan. We were able to take our time eating before heading back upstairs to get ready to get to the rink for practice. I even got to watch a bit of The Two Towers. Smeagle is my favorite, in case anyone wanted to know! I went downstairs, catching the 10:00 a.m. shuttle to get to the rink for my practice. I ran a short program in this practice so I could get the layout of my short to feel more natural in this rink. This was our only practice of the day, so I could only do one program today.

After practice, I stretched and rolled out before going back into the rink to cheer on the dancers. Wendy brought a flag for us to sport while cheering. After the dancers were all done, I got back on the bus to the hotel to grab some dinner and wind down for the night. After dinner, the dancers, a few Canadians, Sho and myself went down to the lobby to play some cards before heading to bed. We tried to find a more remote area of the hotel but were kind of unsuccessful. We were set up nicely to watch a woman play Coldplay on the piano, though.

We had a great time hanging out with each other before going back upstairs to get some sleep. And, just because I am enjoying this Shakespeare thing, here is another quote (I think I will just start doing a quote of the day section!):

"I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends."

It is a big day tomorrow. I can't wait to get out there!

Tuesday, March 11

Hello everyone! Well, Day Two is now complete, and I must say: Team USA is ready to put up a strong fight. With competition beginning Wednesday, everyone is getting pumped up and ready to go. The ice dancers and pairs teams will lead us off, followed by the men's and pairs free skate on Thursday, with the ladies begining on Friday.

This morning was an early morning for me. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to my morning wake-up call. I was certainly not expecting this, but there was someone on the other end that made sure to wish me a good day. I enjoy nice people like that, and it was a good way to start my day. I went down to breakfast at 6:15 with Maddie and Max and caught the shuttle at 7:00 to get to the rink and start my warm-up. Practice went well for me. I ran a free skate on the practice rink this morning and am beginning to feel more acclimated.

After practice, I went back upstairs to stretch out and head back to the hotel to rest up a bit. Upon arriving at the hotel, I was greeted by Max and Maddie, who were about to leave for the convenience store around the corner. I decided to tag along and get a bit of a Bulgarian cultural experience. On our way over, Mindy (Maddie's mom) needed to stop in a bank to exchange some money. It seemed like a whole new world (Aladdin?) in this bank. It was run like the deli section in a store. You need to push a button, take your number and wait to be called. It certainly was not your traditional U.S. bank.

After the bank, we went down a block to the convenience store. The selection was gigantic! We were all surprised by the number of items they fit into such a small space. We found some of our beloved American food items as well! After everyone got what they needed, we headed back to the hotel for a quick lunch before going back to the rink for my second practice.

My second practice was on the main rink, and the ice felt much better this time around. Seeing as this was my last practice of the day, I got to go back to the hotel and relax until bed time! A lot of Team USA was able to eat dinner around the same time. Again, we had a great time bonding.

Wednesday is the last day of practice. I think we are all ready to go! Oh, and here is another Willy Shakes (William Shakespeare) quote for the day … just because:

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

I just thought that was a good one for competition. Goodnight! 

Monday, March 10

Hello from Bulgaria! Day One is now complete, and all of Team USA is here and ready to leave its mark.

I had the luxury of starting off my morning fairly loosely. My first practice wasn't until 3:00 p.m., so I was able to catch up on some much-needed sleep. I woke up at about 8:30, by which time Quinn [Carpenter] was already gone and hard at work. I took my time getting ready and headed down to breakfast. I had a good, hearty breakfast with Nathan and, after a while, returned to my room to relax a bit before getting ready to head to the rink for my first practice.

I got on the 1:30 shuttle in order to get acclimated to my surroundings before my practice. The shuttle took about 30 minutes to arrive at the rink from our hotel. We were supposed to stop by the coaches hotel and pick up Kori [Ade] and the other coaches, but the driver went right on by. Oops!

The rink has a pretty big set-up. As I walked through the doors, I was greeted by two dogs that have been given shelter by the rink. These were certainly not the kind of stray dogs I was expecting -- I was picturing something more along the lines of Lady and the Tramp. To pet or not to pet? That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to pet my ill-fortuned furry friends. Shakespeare anybody? Pardon my nerdiness, let's get back to the rink.

The main competition rink is an Olympic-sized, blank (except for the ISU and World Junior logos) sheet of ice. There are bleachers along both of the long axes that look to seat quite a few people. The practice rink is fairly squatty. It has the width of an Olympic rink, but the length has been brought down quite a few feet.

I ran into some trouble with the boards on my first practice. (I am just killing it with these puns!) Fortunately, it was only U.S. skaters on that practice and, when I went down, everyone burst out in laughter. Practice went well, with each of us getting in a program of our choice. I did my short on this practice and saved the long program for the main rink.

After practice, I headed back to the hotel to grab some dinner and relax a bit before heading back for my 8:50 practice. Most of the team was at dinner at the same time, and it was a good chance for us all to get to know each other a little better. After a while, it was time for me to get on the shuttle for my evening practice.

This was my first time on the main rink, so I was pretty excited. I ran a long program, which went pretty well! It was certainly a good day to get my feet underneath me in preparation for the next few days.

After the session, I stretched out, rolled out and headed back to the hotel to get ready for bed, to get as much sleep as possible before I have to wake up at 5:30 Wednesday morning! I am planning to see a little more of the city tomorrow, so I will keep you guys updated on what it's like out here.

Sunday, March 9

Hello everyone! My name is Jordan Moeller, and I have the privilege of blogging for you here from the 2014 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Kori and I left Colorado Springs on Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. to fly to LAX for our connection to Munich. As usual, I left the house with the horrible feeling that I had forgotten something important, and, fortunately, I didn't. This feeling was especially strong due to the fact that I had an unplanned tie-up with a car mishap the night before that took up a few hours of my precious packing time. The flight to LAX went smoothly, and we made it with four hours to kill before our next flight. Kori was able to get us into the Lufthansa lounge, where we were able to relax, and I had the chance to get the last of the week's homework done. When our layover was complete, we traveled through the airport to our next gate. And so began the 11-hour flight.

This was the longest flight I have ever been on! I did manage to get a lot done, though, and by a lot, I mean I got to watch the new Hobbit movie and catch up on some sleep. After our 11 hours were up, we landed safely in Munich with 45 minutes to make our next connection into Sofia. This flight felt like it flew by (yes, pun intended) compared to the last one.

When we arrived in Sofia, local time was about 5:15 p.m. Kori and I, tiredly trudging along through the airport, collected our bags and made our way out to the hotel shuttle. After a short drive, we arrived at the hotel and were greeted by Wendy, our team leader. We got through accreditation, settled in a bit, and then made our way back down to the team meeting. Everyone but Amber made it in (she arrives Tuesday) safely and is ready for the week.

After the meeting, I had a filling dinner with Quinn, Lorraine and Rachel [Parsons] before heading upstairs to a much-needed bed. The first of three practice days starts Tuesday!

Can you tell I'm excited?