Colin McManus' JGP Turkey athlete diary
Team USA says farewell to Turkey
|Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus won the silver in ice dancing. (Rick Perez)|
Seeing as today was the final day, we competed free dance. We had a 10:10 a.m. warm-up, which meant that we could sleep in! It's the small victories that count. The warm-up came and went without a problem, but it was our trip to the Grand Bazaar after practice that made the time pass by so quickly. Practice ended, and we changed into normal clothing. The four dancers, our coaches and our families grabbed a two taxis, and we made our way to the famous Grand Bazaar.
After 35 minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, we finally arrived at the Bazaar. It was a mad house. You walk into this place that is packed wall-to-wall with these tiny little shops. There are so many people jammed into these tiny connecting pathways, and there was barely any room to breathe. It was so easy to loose your bearings in the winding maze that is the Grand Bazaar. Needless to say, it was all a rather overwhelming experience, and I got pretty good at haggling. We were able to spend about two hours in the Bazaar, and then Anastasia [Cannuscio], Isabella [Cannuscio], Ian [Lorello] and I had to grab a taxi back to the rink.
So, we hail a taxi and climb in. Luckily we met a guy who spoke pretty good English, and he was able to explain to the driver (who spoke no English) how to get the the brand new ice arena. The whole situation was a little nerve racking, especially when the driver pulled over to the side of the road to ask for directions.
I just kept repeating to myself, "I just want to see those fortress walls! I just want to see those fortress walls!"
Luckily, 20 minutes later, I finally saw those fortress walls, and it was a huge relief. Later that night we competed free dance. Anastasia and I skated a great dance, and pulled up to seventh overall. Isabella and Ian skated an amazingly well and, got third overall.
From the epic battles between buses and fortress walls to global warming to frail old women with whistles directing ridiculous Turkish traffic, this week has been wonderful. I feel so lucky to be a part of this whole experience, and my time in Turkey will be unforgettable. I would like to thank our team leader Brittney Bottoms and our team doctor Dr. Magalnick. You both have been amazing this whole week. The trip would not have been the same without you. Thanks for everything. Also, thanks to our families for their undying support all week.
Now we are off to have dinner, and then it's back to the States in the morning. It will be hard to leave such a great place, but I do miss home and all the U.D. skaters. Weʼll be home soon. Thanks to everyone who read my blog. I really enjoyed sharing my experiences with everyone!
Friday, Oct. 16
I would like to start off by saying Happy Birthday to my older sister Meagan! Hopefully, I will see you soon. Also, congrats to Joshua and Austin on great skates in the short program yesterday, and good luck in the long program tomorrow.
So, we performed our OD today. It was our earliest wake-up call of the week, 4:50 a.m. OUCH! We caught the 5:45 a.m. bus to the rink, and the warm-up was done before we knew it. The ice dancers had made plans to take a trip to the Grand Bazaar at some point in the day, but unfortunately we never followed through. Our parents, however, had some great stories about bartering for gifts with the Turkish vendors. Hopefully, we will make time between practice and competition tomorrow to visit the Grand Bazaar.
Speaking of bizarre, as we were leaving practice this morning, there was a tiny old woman dressed in normal clothes standing in the street right outside of the rink. She had a whistle, and she kept blowing it very loudly and making very intense arm movements. It seemed as though this frail little woman was directing traffic, but it was a rather hilarious sight. Iʼm not sure if that was her appointed job, or if she just found a whistle on the street and thought, "I think I might direct traffic today!". Either way she was not doing a very good job.
I spent most of the time between the OD warm-up and the competition in the lobby relaxing and fighting off the nerves. I took a much needed nap, and then met up with the other ice dancers for some lunch before we left for the rink. We all loaded onto the bus for it seems like the millionth time, and we were off to the rink. I know that I have mentioned the life threatening driving in previous blogs, but I have yet to mention the horrendous traffic. It took us about 45 minutes to make it to the rink. Luckily the driverknew an alternate route. So, we were able to make it to the rink on time, but I swear its the worst traffic I have ever seen.
We arrived at the rink with 45 minutes to spare. Anastasia [Cannuscio] and I skated first in the third warm-up group. All the competitors took the ice for our warm-up group, and everything seemed to be going as smoothly as the five minute warm-ups tend to go. Then, I noticed that two teams took two pretty hard falls in the same spot on the ice. So, the warm-up came to an end, and upon further inspection of the area, we realized that the ice had been worn down so much that the plastic and paint were exposed. The size of the area was pretty substantial, or substantial enough for the maintenance to come out on the ice and repair it. So, they told Anastasia and I to stay on the ice because it would be fixed in a few minutes. Luckily, we had Michael Jacksonʼs "Black or White" playing in the background to help pass the time. So, a few minutes pass by, they call us over and tell us that we need to get off the ice because the Zamboni was going to come back out.
Ten more minutes passed by, and at this point I was more than ready to compete. They announce that the problem was fixed and that they are doing the whole warm-up over again. From that point on, everything went smoothly. Anastasia and I skated a great OD, but unfortunately, our second piece of music was not considered to be authentic folk music. So, needless to say we lost a good amount of points, but tomorrow is a new day and a new event, and we are ready to bring it in the free dance. Isabella and Ian skated an amazing OD, and they pulled up to third place. They are ready to skate an amazing free dance tomorrow.
After an excruciating 50-minute bus ride back to the hotel, we grabbed a quick dinner with our families. The women are competing right now, so hopefully we will get some results soon. For now, its off to bed
Thursday, Oct. 15
Today was compulsory day! We had a 7:00 a.m. wake-up call, quick breakfast, then we were off on the scenic route to the rink once again. We had a 15 minute warm-up , and it felt like it went on forever! They played six selections of the Westminster Waltz like usual, and after about the third song, things started to drag along. Now I understand how all the non-dancers that train with us at UD feel. So for all those times you had to listen to six Westminster Waltzes in a row, I apologize.
The rest of the warm-up went by smoothly, and we found ourselves on the bus to go back to the hotel. As the bus was pulling out of the fortress walls, we hear a very familiar scratching noise coming from above us. Yet again, we are just barely fitting through the same archway. It's like every time we leave the rink, a little bit of history is being scraped away. You would think that the drivers would learn that we need to find another way out of the fortress, but seeing as we keep taking the same route, there is not much hope on that front. So, either one of two things is going to happen: Either all the buses are going to get complimentary sun roofs, or by the end of the week, we will have shaved enough away so that the buses will fit perfectly.
I'm sorry to report nothing exciting happened between the time we returned to the hotel and the time we left the hotel to compete. The most interesting occurrence was turning on the TV and seeing scientists predict the polar ice caps will be gone within the next ten years, to which Isabella replied, "What about the polar bears?!?"
Yes Bella, what about those polar bears?
With global flooding and those poor polar bears on my mind, the time to compete had come up quite abruptly. Unfortunately, we were not able to see the ladies short program, but we were able to catch up with Christine [Gao] and Kiri [Baga] after their event. Kiri skated amazingly well and earned first place! Christine said she had two falls, but she was keeping a really positive attitude for the long program.
The compulsory event began, and Isabella and Ian skated second in the first warm-up group. They skated a strong waltz and ended up in fourth. Anastasia and I skated really well, and ended up in eighth place after all was done. Anastasia looked beautiful in her waltz dress compliments of Ms. Chloe Wolf, who is currently expanding her educational horizons at Duke (we miss you!).
The compulsory event came to a close, and the draw was held immediately after. There were good draws all around, and we left to catch the bus back to hotel for some dinner and a good night's sleep. The men are competing as I am writing this blog, so we are holding tight for some results! I should mention that as we were leaving the competition, we once again shaved off another layer of 15th century architecture.
Wednesday, Oct. 14
Today was practice day. There was a 6:50 a.m. wake-up call, and then we met downstairs for breakfast. After filling up, we were off to our first practice of the day!
Tuesday, Oct. 13
I would like to start off the blog by just saying how extremely excited I am to have a second chance to represent the United States overseas at the JGP Turkey.