Ice Network

Lewis provides readers with unique taste of Italy

U.S. ice dancer resumes blogging duties from Junior Grand Prix in Egna
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Chloe Lewis (front right) will keep skating fans in the know with a behind-the-scenes look at the Junior Grand Prix in Egna, Italy. -Courtesy of Chloe Lewis

U.S. ice dancer Chloe Lewis is competing at the 2017 Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Egna, Italy. She is keeping a blog for icenetwork.

Sunday, Oct. 15

I am currently on a train leaving Bolzano, where I had an incredible week. Yesterday, after submitting my entry, Logan [Bye] and I took a gondola to the top of a mountain. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. It began with a view of the town and the mountainside, but as we went higher and higher, the mountains revealed treasures, such as hidden pastures and little villages. At the top of the mountain, we ate lunch at a restaurant with a variety of adorable dogs roaming around.

After riding the gondola back down, we ran to the rink to watch the men's long program. Andrew's [Torgashev] program was emotionally involved and passionate, and he finished 4th to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final! Tomoki [Hiwatashi] skated a strong and engaging program as well, placing third.

After the men's event, we went back to the hotel and decided to go up to the spa on the top floor. The hotel we stayed at was so nice, but none of us expected such a cool, modern spa! Logan and I went with some friends and competitors, and we all played around with pair lifts in the pool and then used the sauna and steam room, which were very relaxing. We then went back to the rink to watch the ladies long program.

The event was a good one, and it was so much fun to cheer on Hanna [Harrell] with the rest of the team. Hanna's long is an enjoyable latin mix, and she finished 7th at her first JGP event. Finally, to finish off the wonderful week, we went back to the hotel and just hung out with all the competitors from all countries and disciplines until everyone went home.

Overall, this competition is one I will always remember. Even though we didn't take home a medal, we feel proud and satisfied with what we put on the ice. It feels so rewarding to have put everything we could into those programs after overcoming a bit of a hurdle in the middle of the season (that hurdle being an illness that took me off the ice for a month just after Australia) and making it to Italy. I will also remember Egna/Bolzano as one of the most charming, nostalgic, breathtaking places I have ever been to.

I fell in love with the town and the ice rink, made so many friends, met tons of kind people, and broke through barriers on the ice with Logan. I hope you've enjoyed reading my entries this week. Although the JGP season is over, our season is not! I hope you'll follow along.



Saturday, Oct. 14

Buon giorno! It's Saturday morning, and I apologize for not sending this yesterday. It was a very busy day for us as we both woke up ready to fight for the podium. After going back to the hotel following a great practice, I took a hardy nap. While I slept, Hanna [Harrell], the one Team USA skater in the ladies field, killed her short program. She'll head into the free skate in sixth place.

The men and ladies have their long programs today, so I'll let you know how those go in my next entry. After my nap, when I was ready to head back to the rink, we hopped on the bus and made the drive in the dark around 7:30 p.m. Avonley [Nguyen] and Vadym [Kolesnik] were in the group right before us, and they skated beautifully! It was so much fun to see them accomplish such a great skate at just their second JGP event, especially knowing how hard they worked to reach this point. They're our training mates as well, so we have a front row seat to their continued growth.

We took the ice for the warm up feeling calm, yet energized. It was a feeling that I work toward achieving at every competition, but it can be difficult to break the barrier that nerves create and enter into a state of pure assurance in training and programs. We skated our free dance the way we wanted to, and even though we finished off the podium, we are proud of the effort we put forth. I think the way we skated last night was different from the way we competed at previous competitions. We skated the way we do in training, which is the goal of every skater in competition, but something that can be hard to accomplish. I felt connected to Logan [Bye] and to the music, and I genuinely enjoyed every second of the program.

After the event, I went to downtown Bolzano with my parents, Logan, Simon-Pierre [Malette-Paque], our Canadian competitor and Logan's former housemate, and Eduardo, an Italian pairs skater. It was already around 11:30 p.m. at this point, so as you can imagine, by the time I got back to the hotel, I basically fell over on my bed.

I'm excited to see what today brings and I'll be sure to get back to you with more Italian adventures.

Have a great day!

Thursday, Oct. 12

Today saw the dancers and men's skaters perform their respective short programs, but I of course, woke up bright and early (except it really wasn't bright outside as it was 3:30 a.m.) for a 6:15 warm up. We all hopped on the 5 a.m. bus to the rink and drank some coffee on the way. The coffee in Italy is always great, so perhaps that aided in us delivering a great warm-up session.

Near the end of practice, we collided with one of the Canadian teams, and since my shin and knee swelled up on contact, I had the doctor look at both body parts once we left the ice. He gave me an ice pack and, luckily, everything was fine. Once I was done getting treatment, we hopped back on the bus and met up with some old friends for breakfast at the hotel. It's always fun to reunite with people you rarely get to see, and it just so happens that many of our friends are at this competition!

Following breakfast, I enjoyed a nice long nap before preparing for the competition. Logan [Bye] and I went back to the rink, warmed up well, and got on the ice. The five-minute warm up was another successful session, and we felt ready to go shortly after. The performance itself was also a success, and although we didn't receive the score we were aiming for, we're proud of what we delivered on the first day of the event.

After watching the rest of the competition and attending the draw for the free dance, we headed back to the hotel for dinner and some relaxation. I was way too exhausted to go back to the rink to watch the men, but both Americans performed well! Tomoki [Hiwatashi] finished third in the segment, and Andrew [Torgashev] is right behind him in fourth.

I'm off to bed now, but looking forward to competing for a spot on the podium tomorrow. The cappuccino awaiting me once I wake will be great as well!


Wednesday, Oct. 11

It's Chloe again, this time writing from Italy as opposed to Australia, where we opened the Grand Prix season.

We arrived last night after a long trip, and although the travel was pretty uneventful, the views during the drive from the airport to our hotel were breathtaking. We drove past vineyard after vineyard and had the chance to see many beautiful villages with tiny picturesque homes. The houses looked like they were straight out of a fairy tale. Even the mountains had vineyards and villages climbing up the sides.

Once we made it to the hotel, we had a quick dinner and team meeting before we all went to our rooms. The hotel is very modern and comes with a giant bathtub! Many of the hotel rooms have mountain views, and there is a stunning view from the spa on the top floor of the hotel I hope to check out later.

I woke up this morning with lines on my face from the blankets, so it was obviously a great sleep. Before heading to practice, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast followed by another picturesque drive to the rink. The arena possesses a ton of natural light, and the surface feels great. After practicing between the men's and ladies sessions, we attended the competition draw. Logan and I drew third in the short dance, while our other U.S. team, Avonley [Nguyen] and Vadym [Kolesnik], drew second. Unfortunately, our practice tomorrow morning starts at 6:15, which means we'll have to wake up around 3:30 a.m. Wish me luck on that one!

Once we wrapped up the draw, I went into town with my parents for a delicious meal in the town center, but Logan had to stay back at the hotel to take a school exam. Now that I'm headed back to the hotel myself, I'll probably just go up to my room and relax before bed. We are so stoked to compete tomorrow and grateful to be in such a surreal and magical place.

Ciao for now,