Ice Network

Blog-islava: Dancers check in from Ondrej Nepela

U.S. pewter medalists detail experiences at Challenger Series event
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Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are making their second career appearance at the Ondrej Nepela Memorial this week. -courtesy of Cannuscio and McManus

U.S. pewter medalists ice dancers Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are competing at the 2016 Ondrej Nepela Memorial. They are keeping a blog for icenetwork.

Saturday, Oct. 1

The day started off the same as all the others: breakfast with Page [Lipe], Alex [Johnson] and Karen [Ludington] (we always seem to be on the same schedule). After that, we were off to free dance practice. It felt really solid, and we were so excited to debut our free dance later in the day. 

After another trip to the mall and more naps, we were ready to go! We felt like we skated another solid performance. This free dance is a product we really love, and something we have really poured our hearts into. The support we received from our fans was so kind, and we can't wait to continue to grow our material!

After we were finished at the rink, we headed into Old Town and grabbed dinner with Rockne [Burbaker], Alex, Haven [Denney], Brandon [Frazier] and Page. It was nice to be able to hang out and enjoy our last night in Bratislava (but we did miss the rest of our team!).

Now it's time to get a little bit of rest before our 4:10 a.m. shuttle...yep, 4:10 a.m.

We hope you've enjoyed our posts from Bratislava. Until next time!

Friday, Sept. 30

We had a late morning practice today, which was so much better than the poor men who had to practice at 7:30. Alex [Johnson] was a little cranky about's usually the ice dancers that pull the early shift! 

On our break before the short dance, we walked around the mall a bit. They really do have some interesting fashion here in Slovakia. Where else can you get a bright red sweatshirt that says "tomato soup"? We've never seen anything like it before!

Then, after some naps, we were off to the arena again. Our short dance felt really good! The score wasn't what we were hoping for, but we were happy to have a solid performance. We're looking forward to the free dance tomorrow. 

After the competition, we took a taxi back to Old Town, where we did a little more shopping and enjoyed the sights -- including a man walking around in a Superman wet suit, with goggles and flippers to boot. (He struck me as the kind of person who would buy that tomato soup sweatshirt.) His flippers looked pretty tough to walk in, but he was managing quite gracefully. After another delicious dinner (we're 3 for 3!), we made our way back to the hotel.

Now it's time to rest up for the free dance tomorrow. Talk to you soon!

Thursday, Sept. 29

Hello again. It's Day Two here in Bratislava! 

After a fabulous night's sleep, we headed down to breakfast. We ate with our coach, Karen [Ludington]; Alex Johnson; and his coach, Page [Lipe]. It was quite tasty and loaded with coffee (as breakfast should be). We had a riveting conversation about how the shower door in our hotel's quite tricky, but I think we've figured it out! How many people does it take to work a shower door...?

We had just one 25-minute practice for our short dance. It was short (hah!) but very productive! It felt good to be on the ice, even if only for a little bit. 

Then we had plenty of time to head to Old Town Bratislava. We remembered how beautiful it was from the last time we were here, and we were excited to have the chance to go back!

Naturally, we had to hit all of our photo ops from last time so we could reenact them (see related photo gallery). The only hitch was we could not remember where they were located. We knew what we wanted and recognized a lot of the landmarks, but of course we could not find the exact locations we were looking for. So, Stasia texted her boyfriend back home, and he gave us very detailed directions. (Thanks, Matthew! Without you, we would probably still be aimlessly wandering around and have no photos for the blog, which is priority number one, of course.) After our photo ops, souvenir shopping and a delicious bite to eat, we headed back to the hotel. 

It was a great day of exploring, but now it's time to relax and get ready for tomorrow. Talk to you again soon!

Wednesday, Sept. 28

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our first blog entry from Bratislava, Slovakia. The Ondrej Nepela Memorial was our first senior international back in 2011, so it feels great to be back again. We've been working hard on our new programs, and we're so excited to debut them for all of you to see! 

We had a great morning of training Tuesday and then headed off to the airport. We didn't hit any traffic, and we didn't have to wait in a long line at security, so we made it to our gate with more than enough time to spare. Just as we were getting ready to board our flight to Barcelona, the gate attendant informed us that our boarding would be delayed because they had to fix a windshield wiper on the plane. Seems like a pretty simple fix, right? Wrong. Apparently, you have to take off the whole front panel of the plane to do that...or as the gate attendant put it, "It's not a big deal...they just have to take apart the cockpit." Not sure that's what's you want to hear right before you board a seven-hour flight.

After about 40 minutes went by, the attendant informed us that the wiper was fixed and they'd also installed a new motor. Ummm, I guess...why not take care of that while you're in there? Once they put the cockpit back together, we were off!

We had to go through security again once we landed in Barcelona, which is always a scary thing to do with your skates. (They tend not to let you through with skates in Europe.) The agent looked at our skates, touched the blades, said something to the other agent in Spanish and then continued to check other people's bags...we took that as the "all clear"! So, we zipped up our bags and left before they had a chance to change their minds. The cockpit for our next flight was intact, so it was smooth sailing (or flying) for our next flight to Vienna!

Once we landed in Vienna, we got our bags (which always brings a big sigh of relief) and headed off to find the bus that would take us to Bratislava. The bus ride was about an hour, and the driver chose to play a mix of American pop songs and Christmas songs the whole way. We're not sure if this is what they play on the radio this time of year, or if this was the driver's own personal mix, but it was quite eclectic. 

We got all checked in and settled, and then headed over to the grocery store, which is located in the mall connected to our hotel -- pretty convenient! After our team meeting, we had a delicious dinner (also in the mall connected to the hotel) and then headed to the rink for our draw. 

We were exhausted from such a long day, but we managed to make it to the rink. Stasia always draws for the short dance, and by the time our names were called, the only numbers left were 2, 3 and 14…and by some miracle, she pulled the 14. So, we will be closing out the short dance...a good start to our time here in Bratislava! 

The ladies and pairs compete their short programs tomorrow, and the dance and men start Friday. We can't wait to get started!

Now, it is time for some shut-eye. Until tomorrow!