Ice Network

Grant lands in Germany: Hochstein back as blogger

U.S. skater takes readers behind the scenes from Challenger Series event
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Grant Hochstein with his coach, Peter Oppegard. -Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Reigning U.S. pewter medalist Grant Hochstein is competing at the 2016 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, this week. He is keeping a blog for icenetwork.

Friday, Sept. 23

OK, give me about two or three sentences to be excited and then I will try to be a calm, rational person again...

I FINALLY (!!!) got a senior international medal! I can't even tell you the number of times I've finished just off the podium in fourth. (We looked it up: It's six times.) Finally, finally, finally! Okay, I'm calmer now.

I'd like to extend my congratulations to Madi [Chock] and Evan [Bates], who finished second today in dance. I didn't get to watch them skate because they were before me, but I'm sure they were great. I've seen some of their practices this week, and I really think they are going to have an exceptional season. Elliana [Pogrebinsky] and Alex [Benoit] finished fourth, which is a great start to their season as well. Amber [Glenn] is in fourth after the short program. I missed her too (I sense a pattern here), since I was practicing when she was competing. I walked in right as she was getting her marks. I've heard she's been practicing really well this week, and the short results prove it. Tim [Dolensky] finished seventh overall but pulled up to fourth in the free skate. He skated right before my warmup, so I only saw bits and pieces of it. Everything I did see looked really good, like a nice triple axel-triple toe combo and a good second triple axel as well.

Tomorrow I'm apparently going to see 1,200 cows! So, for all of you who don't know, Oberstdorf is known for having the cows that come down the mountain through the town in the morning. Since this is the end of the season for them, they apparently are gathered together in a field before they make their final move out of town. That's what I'm going to see tomorrow. It might sound lame, but I'm super excited!

It's been a long day, so I'm off to bed. Have a good night, everybody!

Wednesday, Sept. 21

Hello from Oberstdorf!

It's great to be back blogging for all of you at icenetwork. Two weeks ago I managed to survive being in charge of Instagram for U.S. Figure Skating, so this should be a piece of cake!

Yesterday was a travel day for all of us on the team. We all flew into Munich and then took a bus for about 2 1/2 hours to get to Oberstdorf.

My day wasn't necessarily the best, as my flight was canceled the day before I left. I had to call and rebook a different flight for later in the day, which resulted in me being in a middle seat with limited recline for the 11-hour flight from LAX to Paris....not my happiest travel day. Fortunately, my luggage made it here, which is all the really matters in the end. The whole team has luggage, too, so we really can't complain. I did, however, miss the team dinner because my flight got in so late, but AJ [Reiss] and Erika [Smith], along with my coach, the team leader and team doctor all stayed later with me so I could eat with good company and not by myself. I'm very grateful for them!

Today was the first day of practice for the team. Tim [Dolensky] and I practiced around 12:30 p.m. and then had the short program draw between that practice and our next one, so schedule-wise, everything made sense. The Germans tend to be very schedule-oriented and on time, so Team USA is appreciative of their precision! Our group size has gone down to only 12 men, so we will skate in two groups of six, with Tim skating third and me skating eighth.

I haven't been able to see much of the other Americans skate, though I did watch some of the first practice for the dancers while I was warming up for my first session. Madi [Chock] and Evan [Bates] look amazing as usual, and Elliana [Pogrebinsky] and Alex [Benoit] look right at home in their first year as seniors.

Competition begins tomorrow, with the short dance, pairs short and men short. The ladies begin their event Friday. I'm sure I will report back after the competition tomorrow. Have a good night!