The Inside Edge: Stevens dishes on middle nameKrispy Kremes tempt skaters; Where does the pewter medal come from?
With the start of senior-level competition Thursday, things were bustling in the hotel this morning. We started off with a visit to the gym, not looking fit to be seen. Gracie Gold got on the elevator, also heading to the gym, and looking just a leetle more fabulous than we did in a carmine top and sparkly stud earrings. It's really not fair for anyone to look so pretty while working out.
At credentialing, Alexandria Shaughnessy says she is all recovered from her horrific jaw injury. She must be getting pretty tired of being asked about it, but she was a gracious good sport. We brainstormed with Jimmy Morgan about better answers to repeated questions about obvious injuries, casts and braces. Drew's contribution was: "I injured it rescuing someone at a construction site." Sarah's just going to blame her limp on too many quads.
Massimo Scali had just gotten up but was as perky as ever. "I still want to get out there and compete myself!" he said.
Max Settlage, as you probably know, is a cartoonist extraordinaire as well as beautifully talented pairs skater. We hope to see some good images inspired by these championships.
"I'm drawing every day," he said.
Johnny Weir walked by the junior men's practice with a big entourage, wearing a spectacular flowing, layered, cream-colored, floor-length wrap. The look certainly lightened the intense atmosphere in the rink among the young skaters, all of whom smiled before they went back to focusing on triple-triples.
North Carolinian junior pair Kay Bergolt and Miles Addison competed in Greensboro in 2011 as novices. Shortly afterward, the team split up.
"I had been wanting to pursue other hobbies," Addison told us. "I was a junior in high school, and I wanted to play football my senior year."
"I was so mad at him," Bergolt admitted. "I probably didn't talk to him for three months."
"It wasn't pretty," Addison agreed. "But she came to a football scrimmage a few months later."
The two paired up again last June and plan to continue skating as juniors next season. They train in Boston with Bobby Martin; Bergolt is a student at Boston College.
Bergolt, by the way, was named after the famed Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski aka "Coach K."
"My dad went to Duke," she said. "When they found out I was a girl, they decided to name me Kay!"
Speaking of names...
As promised, we tracked down the story behind Ernie Utah Stevens' truly great name.
"Well, I'm a Kentucky boy," he said, "And my dad grew up on a farm. A man named Utah has worked on my grandpa's farm forever. He doesn't have any family of his own, and my middle name is in his honor. He was like a second grandfather to me. He taught my dad how to hunt and how to fish."
Stevens and his partner, Caitlin Fields, were still rapturous and a little dazed, with their hands full of gifts and flowers, in the hotel after the junior pairs awards ceremony, where they got their gold medals.
"We didn't even know what a good score was," Stevens said. "We've only competed twice!"
Krispy Kreme is one of the official sponsors of the event, and we were told that a truck pulls up every morning and delivers boxes of doughnuts to the skaters' lounge. Well, of course, it's not likely that a skater is going to eat sweets before he or she competes, but many skaters are eagerly awaiting the end of their own competition so they can attack the doughnuts.
"They can't wait until they're done so they can have a doughnut," coach Bobby Martin told us.
"Our kids thought of it as a reward," said Martin's coaching partner, Carrie Wall. "They waited all week."
For years we've been watching four people get on the medal stands, with the fourth-place finisher getting a pewter medal, and we hardly give it a second thought. But it's quite unusual, and we don't actually know another sport that does this. We've been asking around without finding an uber-source of info. So far, here's what we know:
Pewter medals were first awarded in the 1984-85 season, at regionals, sectionals and national competitions. They were added when the decision was made to advance the top four skaters to the next level of competition.
Interesting! Thanks to the members of U.S. Figure Skating who came through with the info, and to Skating Club of Boston President Joe Blount for snooping for us. If anyone has any more insider-y stories, please tweet at us!
Olympic champion sightings so far: 7. We saw Scott Hamilton in the concourse posing for photos and signing autographs, Brian Boitano at the restaurant after the junior ladies event Wednesday night, and the exquisite Meryl Davis this morning at the registration desk.
Sarah and Drew
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