Day Five with Sarah and Drew in Cleveland

Locked in the arena; missing Gossip Girl

U.S. Figure Skating's Kendra Lee (left) and Becca Staed (right) got locked in the Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night.
U.S. Figure Skating's Kendra Lee (left) and Becca Staed (right) got locked in the Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night. (Scottie Bibb)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(01/23/2009) - Now that we've been here for several days, we're really getting the lay of the land (and tons of good dish). Here are our little stories from last night and today.

Locked in

On Wednesday night, U.S. Figure Skating Media Director Scottie Bibb and two other staffers got stuck in the arena after the event had ended. They had a number of things to finish up after the last press conference, and, by the time were done the walkway gate was locked, and they couldn't get out of the arena. The last bus had already left. It took a while, but a few phone calls eventually produced a ride to the hotel, around 1:15 a.m.

Gossip Boy

Remember how Stephen Carriere had been dying to watch Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's free dance? He flagged us down last night, all excited because he had finally seen it. "And I loved it," he said. "Yeah, I broke down and bought the Internet access at the hotel finally. I just had to watch Gossip Girl!

What's up with all the Pink Floyd all of a sudden, anyway? "It must be some kind of Pink Floyd moment."


Isn't it interesting how different skaters look when they stop competing and turn into coaches? Sometimes, it's only a year or two after they've been out on the ice themselves, but you see them walking down the hall, and they look so much more grown up -- one hesitates to say older -- than they did as competitors. It's partly the clothes, since coaches all dress very professionally as opposed to skaters in their warm-ups, the men in jackets and often ties, the women very glam, but we think it's also an air of responsibility.

Someday we'll do a before-and-after gallery so you can see for yourself.


We got to see Ross Miner an instant after he found out he had just become the 2009 U.S. junior champion, and the usually garrulous 17-year-old was almost speechless with amazement. "I need a hug!" he said. "I don't know what to say. I can't believe it." We told him not to pass out and sent him off to the press conference.

Inside, he started to recover, and he and Alexander Johnson, the bronze medalist, got into a very competitive rehash of an earlier Scrabble game. Ross mentioned that things hadn't gone well in the warm-up for the free skate. "It was the scariest six-minute warm-up of my life," he said. "I fell on everything. I didn't want to go out on the ice after that warm-up."

Ross actually turns 18 tomorrow, and we can't think of a better birthday present than a national title, but he said he's hoping for a car! His coach Mark Mitchell chimed in, "Maybe a Matchbox."


As Armin Mahbanoozadeh took the ice for his free skate, we overheard someone say his Mummy costume looked like the flower girls! And it does, too, a little. We've put up a comparison shot so you can see for yourself in the day five gallery.

We'll be back with more after the Hall of Fame reception later today,
Sarah and Drew