Ice Network

The Inside Edge: Stars come out for HOF reception

Inductees all dressed to the nines; Abbott feels 'weird' not competing
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At the Hall of Fame reception Friday evening, honorees Sasha Cohen and Tanith White pose with White's husband, Charlie, and Meryl Davis. -Sarah S. Brannen

Before the presentation ceremony on the ice last night at the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the newest members of the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame were honored at a reception. Guests dined on delicious food while a series of skating greats introduced the honorees: Frank Carroll introduced Evan Lysacek, Charlie White introduced his wife, Tanith, and Ben Agosto, and John Nicks was funny and witty as he introduced Sasha Cohen.

"Evan was the most passionate skater I ever taught," said Carroll, speaking of Lysacek's honesty and integrity. "I never had to tell Evan to work hard."

Lysacek, dressed in all black of course and looking rather stunning, gave a long, charming and humorous speech recounting his career.

He was particularly funny as he told stories about Carroll, whom he said didn't initially want to work with him.

"But then [Carroll] said, 'If you want to make the 2006 Olympic team, you are going to have to work.' And, boy, did I work. Oy."

Lysacek said that at his first lesson, Carroll made a comment about his technique.

"I inhaled, about to answer him, and Frank said, 'We don't have time for you to talk.'"

White was also quite funny as he spoke of the early days of Belbin and Agosto, and how he fell in love with the woman who would become his wife.

"Ben, I don't love you quite as much as I love Tanith," he said, "But literally, the way I do crossovers is because of the way you do crossovers."

It goes without saying that everyone looked wonderful...but everyone really looked wonderful. Lysacek is clearly a future Best-Dressed Hall of Famer. Tanith White and Davis looked slinky, stylish and beautiful in all black, while Cohen dazzled in a killer red dress and fantastic shoes.

The illustrious crowd included Hall of Famers Linda Fratianne, Paul Wylie, Jim Millns, Judy Blumberg, Tom Collins, Jerod Punsalan, Elizabeth Swallow, Peter Oppegard, Todd Eldredge, Jenni Meno, Todd Sand and many more.

Brian Boitano has been showing off a bold new look at these championships: He has shaved his head completely bald. The look suits him, once you get used to it.

"I just decided it was time for a change," Boitano said. "I had turned 52, and I have a lot of gray. I was tired of coloring it. Some people here still haven't recognized me."

Second hand

Four-time men's champion Jeremy Abbott is here, watching the skaters in a very, very cool Balmain Paris coat he got at a second-hand store in Tokyo last week.

The world traveler, who choreographed two of the short programs performed in Saint Paul, is happy to be watching from the stands.

"It wasn't as weird as I thought," he said.

It's the first time Abbott hasn't competed at the U.S. championships since 2006.

"I was enjoying myself," Abbott said. "I wanted to skate, but I was sitting there, and I thought, you know, this is the better position."

Abbott's mother, Allison Scott, is here too, watching from a center section.

"It feels strange to be here," she said. "And it's weird to be sitting in the middle instead of in the lutz corner."

After-party

The restaurant at the competitors' hotel was hopping last night, now that pretty much anyone who is anyone has arrived. The Boys Who Score were rehashing the men's short program results. Alexander Johnson popped in to say hello but said he was going straight to bed...what a good boy. Caroline Zhang and Grant Hochstein stopped by to chat for a few minutes; Hochstein was still a bit disappointed in his short program, but he was optimistic for the free skate on Sunday. Zhang said her recovery from injury is going well and she is planning to compete next season.

Dapper

People really want to make the best-dressed list. The latest skaters angling for a mention are roommates Sean Rabbitt and Mervin Tran. Along with Tran's partner Marissa Castelli -- and apparently most of the other skaters at the championships -- the three visited the Mall of America on Friday.

"We ran into a lot of people," Rabbitt said. "They said, 'Wow, you and Mervin look really dapper.' And we said, 'Yeah, we're trying to get onto Sarah and Drew's best-dressed list!'"

There may have to be an award this year for "Most Dapper."

Olympic champion sightings: 7. As noted above, Lysacek and Charlie White were at the Hall of Fame reception. Scott Hamilton made it into town and was watching the men's short program with Kristi Yamaguchi. Marina Klimova is at the event, although we haven't seen her. Her son, Anthony Ponomarenko, competed in the junior dance event, finishing fourth with partner Christina Carreira.

He said his mother doesn't actually watch him skate, though.

"Oh no, she leaves," he said.

Follow us on Twitter and @SarahandDrew.