Homework help from a Hall of Famer

The best part of worlds is running into friends and family

Advice from Hall of Famer Robin Cousins helped Kim find her current partner, Brent Bommentre.
Advice from Hall of Famer Robin Cousins helped Kim find her current partner, Brent Bommentre. (Getty Images)


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By Kimberly Navarro, special to
(03/23/2008) - U.S. ice dancer Kimberly Navarro keeps us informed as to what's going on in Sweden from the skater's perspective during the 2008 ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Sunday, March 23rd

One of the coolest things that happened this week took place backstage. After the Original Dance event I went downstairs and my coach Cheryl said, "Robin Cousins is looking for you."

I knew Robin when I was a kid skating in the Charles Schulz professional Christmas shows at my home rink in Santa Rosa. He was the star, and I was either portraying a young girl (myself) or the little yellow bird known, Woodstock. These shows ran through the whole month of December, so I would have to go on independent study during that time and do all my schoolwork at the rink. Sometimes I would ask Robin if he could help me.

Apparently we had met some time earlier. My mom, who skated in shows with Robin, says he held me as a baby. Of course, I don't remember that far back.

Getting to grow up with Robin as a role model was certainly a privilege. Years later, when I was without a skating partner and feeling very discouraged, I contacted him to get his advice on what other skating options I might have. He was encouraging of some things, but also acknowledged that I probably wouldn't be satisfied until I got to compete again. Smart man. It took a few more months, but eventually I had my try-out with Brent.

When I saw Robin backstage I felt like I had an incredible movie moment. I ran to him in what seemed liked slow motion, I think "Chariots of Fire" began to play. He picked me up, spun me around and gave me a big kiss on the lips. He was just about to take the ice for his induction into the Hall Of Fame.

I never would never have imagined this moment when I was that young kid in the Christmas show in Santa Rosa, walking into Robin's dressing room to ask for some help with my homework. Mind you it wasn't a stretch to imagine Robin's induction into the Hall of Fame at the time, but definitely beyond my wildest dreams that I would be there when it happened, as a competitor at the World Figure Skating Championships.

Thursday, March 20th

The eagle has landed!

Isn't that code for when something has arrived or been located?

I guess all it took for the bag to appear was Brent [Bommentre] finally caving in and buying new underwear. Low and behold, at ten o'clock last night, Brent's bag arrived at our hotel!

Before I knew what was going on, team leader John Millier called and asked, "Would you rather wear the new OD outfits you had made today, or the ones you wore at Nationals?" John has a good sense of humor, so I was trying to figure out if he was playing some kind of joke. But he wasn't. Apparently he had been told earlier in the day that the bag was on its way, but he didn't want to say anything to us in case it didn't show up or it was the wrong bag. He is very good at keeping a secret.

He is also pretty good at creating even better, fictional stories. As we sat in amazement around Brent's bag last night, we thought up different ways we could use this -- what now seemed -- very powerful object. Maybe on our five minute warm-up John would run in with the bag, waving him arms and screaming "we found it!" Then Brent would do a quick change of both costume and boots rink-side.

Could you imagine? The drama!

We had to remind ourselves that we are here to compete, not make any more adventures. Although he has his old skates back in custody, Brent is sticking with the new skates for now. The blade lengths of the new and old blades are different, so it seems even more complicated to get used to the old again. Now we have two African outfits, one for practice and one for competition. We just went from being the least prepared team, with no outfits or skates, to the most, with two of everything!

I will reiterate that there are indeed other things going on over here. It is just that up until this point, I haven't really been able to notice them. I told Brent, "it isn't all about you!" and I really do know it isn't all about us, but real quick we want to run down a list of thank yous to all the great people here and in Philadelphia that got us out on the ice: Mitch Lewis, Liz Lewis, Joan Josephson, Jackson Skates, Galina, Britt, Ing-Marie, Tania Bass, Tanith and Ben, John Millier, Kathy Slack, Robbie, and Cheryl. And I would personally like to thank Brent.

Wednesday, March 19th

Let's just get this out of the way: Brent [Bommentre] still does not have his bag. But we are moving forward. He looked handsome during the Argentine Tango in his store bought H & M digs and fresh new ice skates. We skated just as well as we would have in any other circumstance. So, go Brent!

It seems that any moment we are not on the ice we are figuring out the next day's attire. Kudos to Britt and Ing-Marie, the women from costume repair who are working quickly to get Brent's costumes in order. Also, a huge thank you to our costume designer, Tania Bass, who shipped Brent a new OD shirt and some extra material. And an early thank you to Tanith and Ben who passed on a pair of skating pants that just might get used for the freedance on Friday.

Oh, never a dull moment over here!

But enough about that, there surely are other things going on at the 2008 World Figure Skating Championships. For instance, I find it humorous that the colors for the competition posters and souvenirs are dark purple and hot pink. All of the athletes are now owners of pretty purple backpacks with hot pink trim.

I love it, Brent does not.

Also, Ashley and Bebe have decided that the Team USA motto is "trust in the you of now." For some reason our dining hall has this written along the walls. So, this week we will all be trusting in "the us of now," no matter what skates we have on our feet, whose pants we are wearing, or what color our backpacks are.

Monday, March 17

I hope that no one is playing an evil trick just so that my stories can be adventure-filled! We have been in Gothenburg for some thirty-six hours, and still Brent [Bommentre] does not have his skates or costumes. His bag is officially M.I.A. Apparently, a lot of people have lost their luggage, but most have had their bags found by now. As far as I know, Brent is the only skater missing both skates and an African folk skirt.

Two good things did happen today. First, because we were unable to skate our morning practice, I got twelve hours of sleep. I am not sure if I have ever done this before, but I must say it felt amazing. I woke up prepared to take on a second day of "where in the world is Brent Bommentre's bag?"

The second and obviously even better thing that happened today is that Brent did get a pair of skates to wear, so we were able to practice. A friend from Philadelphia was coming to Sweden to watch the competition, and another friend who was also playing "where in the world is Brent Bommentre's bag?" picked up Brent's new skates from our rink in Ardmore, Pa., and drove them to the Philadelphia airport for a hand-off. These are the skates that Brent was planning on breaking in after worlds, not during worlds, of course. We are trying to pretend that we are just one week ahead of schedule for next year.

This thinking is working out well, and Brent skated great, especially for his first day in his new skates. To be quite honest, I was in awe. Brent would agree that I generally like to give him a hard time, but let me say that today he deserves all the praise I can muster up.

The next thing to figure out is how to get an African folk costume by Thursday. So now we are playing "where in Sweden do you get an African skating costume?" We would like to come up with a good plan B, but I must say that in the meantime, our plans C, D, E and F are all quite entertaining. Team Leader John Millier has even offered to make something out of drapes. It feels like an episode of Project Runway.

On a side-note, it really has bothered me that I made a promise that I guess I couldn't keep, or at least not at the time. I promised to have all of Stephen Carriere's show program music picks by the end of Four Continents last month. I thought I would get this on the flight back from Seoul. But, oh no! Mr. Carriere got an upgrade to business class and was never to be seen again. I think I will pick out a song for a solo show program I will perform for Stephen. It will be "Big Spender," from the musical Sweet Charity.

"Hey Big Spender! Spend a little time with me."