The inside edge with Sarah and Drew

John Kerr's kilt and Sarah's big scandal in this week's edition!

John and Sinead Kerr in front of the new BBC Building in Glasgow, before the Scottish Olympic Ball fundraiser.
John and Sinead Kerr in front of the new BBC Building in Glasgow, before the Scottish Olympic Ball fundraiser. (courtesy John Kerr)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(07/18/2008) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins,'s intrepid backstage reporters, are back for another edition of The Inside Edge.

Take 2!

We'd been eager to see the promising new partnership of Katie Orscher and Rusty Fein, so we were disappointed to hear from Katie last week that it's not going to happen after all.

"Rusty and I will not be skating together any more," Katie wrote in an email. "Things didn't work out the way they should have, and it's a pity it couldn't work out, Sorry to let everyone believe what I had said before."

We talked to Rusty too, and he is, by the way, a really nice guy. Katie is still planning to compete next season.

"Monday [July 21] I will start to skate with Ivan Dimitrov. He's 21, from Bulgaria. and he's moving up here from Virginia. He was a single skater before, on the JGP circuit, and moved to the US one-and-a-half years ago."

Ivan sent us an email yesterday to talk about the partnership.

"I'm very excited to skate with Katie," he wrote. "We know this season will be very hard, simply because this will be my first year skating pairs, and I have to pass all tests as soon as possible. And as you know we are starting the season late as well.

"We don't have any high expectations right now... We are not focused on the up-and-coming Olympics, because I don't have U.S. citizenship yet. We just have to work hard and put a lot of time into it. You know we jump the opposite way too, which will cost us a little bit more time to practice all elements, so I guess I'm just looking forward to have a good season and to show up as a team with a lot of potential."

So, once again, good luck to Katie and Ivan!


We've been talking to John Kerr recently; we asked him a bunch of impertinent questions and he answered in beautiful rainbow colors. Too bad you can't see them!

John and his sister and dance partner Sinead went home to Scotland recently to visit their parents and their brother David, who is autistic. "We have always been a really close family so it's really important for us to see them all when we can."

While they were home, they went to London to watch some Grand Slam tennis at Wimbledon, too. We are grass-green with envy, since we adore grass-court tennis and we watched Wimbledon on TV every day it was on. They saw Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova play, and John said it was fantastic.

First question: How was the weather? (We've been in Scotland, so we know).

"The weather was pretty crap to be honest with you. I know everyone, including me, keeps going on about Global warming but it definitely hasn't arrived in Scotland yet."

Yeah... a Scot once told us that Scotland has only one erotic dance, "The Dance of the Seven Army Blankets." Does this sound like a good idea for a free skate to you? "I don't think we particularly do sexy dancing in Scotland," said John "We usually leave that to the South American nations 'cause they just do it so much sexier than us Scots could ever manage. It probably wouldn't be the best idea for a free dance but then again I have had worse ideas suggested to me."

We're kind of curious about what ideas those were, actually...Going back to last year's programs for a moment, we just loved your original dance. Did you know from day one that you were going to wear a kilt?

"The first thing we had to check was whether it was within the rules to wear it. It pretty soon came from on high that people would be disappointed if I DIDN'T wear the kilt."

John wore a pair of black shorts under the kilt. The traditional undergarb for a man in a kilt, is, well, nothing at all, which would have made John's twizzles rather too exciting for the TV audience. Did anyone back home complain about the shorts?

"Absolutely everyone made a comment about it. Usually something along the line of 'Hey John, yer nae a true Scotsman with them shorts under yer kilt.'"

Do you think you had ever skated the original dance better than at the world championships?

"No, this was definitely the best we had ever skated it. I think in our wildest dreams we never could have expected the response that we had in Gothenburg. Moments like that make it all worthwhile."

We loved your science fiction free dance too. What were the aliens' names?

"Um, I don't know really, LOL. How about Zig and Zag from the planet Zorg..."

Did you take any grief for the costumes or the silver hair?

"Funnily enough, most people thought it was a pretty cool idea. It was a pity I missed a bit at worlds though and I had this brown blob on the back of my head."

You got a deduction for Sinead's makeup in that program, though...

"Yes we got a deduction at our nationals over it. Sinead decided to experiment a wee bit with her eye makeup to try and get a more ethereal look, but unfortunately our judges thought it was a little too much."

You're so lucky you drew Trophée Bompard for the fall. Do you have any favorite haunts in Paris?

"Funnily enough this will be my first trip to Paris so I'm pretty excited about it. If anyone has any recommendations about things to do then let me know."

We just did a blog on superstitions -- do you have any special good-luck routines?

"Yeah, usually I like to tie my competitor's laces together -- that's more cheating than a superstition though, I guess. I always put my right boot on first and I always have to sit in the same place when I'm at competitions."

John said the rest of the summer is all about the training; vacation time is over. He and Sinead will be skating to "The Boogie Bumper" and "Minnie the Moocher" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for their original dance next season, and their free dance will be to "Ruled by Secrecy," by Muse.


By the way, Sarah's book, Uncle Bobby's Wedding, has been all over the news this week. It has been interesting! A library patron in Colorado challenged the book, and the librarian wrote an incredible letter about it. If you'd like to see more, there are links to the letter, and some of the articles, on Sarah's Web site,

That's all for now! Stay cool!

Sarah and Drew

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