The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Jan. 20

Senior ladies take the stage in Spokane

Novice and junior pairs skaters take some time out for football in Spokane.
Novice and junior pairs skaters take some time out for football in Spokane. (Drew Meekins)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(01/20/2010) - We had a very early breakfast yesterday with coach Peter Johansson and agreed that neither of us are morning people! Peter told us that his student, 2009 junior national champ Ross Miner, got back on the ice on Monday to test his sprained ankle. We texted Ross to ask how it had gone, and he said, "It was really good. I didn't do much, but no pain at all."

"I'm so happy I got junior worlds!" he added.

Peter went on at some length about the wonderfulness of, you guessed it, Jonathan Cassar's long program on Sunday, and of course he raved about Jeremy Abbott. He said that the whole men's event had given him a really positive feeling about the future of men's skating in general.

In case you don't follow Jeremy Abbott and Adam Rippon on Twitter, we enjoyed this exchange yesterday.

Jeremy to Adam: Good luck! Be careful of those boards! :)
Adam to Jeremy: OHHHH, don't hit the boards? I'll remember that one.

And with that, we'll move on to the current action in Spokane: Ladies!

All the senior ladies, all the senior ladies
Speaking of Twitter, all the skaters here are a-twitter about Sasha Cohen's return to competition.

Today was the day everyone was waiting for: Sasha got back on the ice at a national championship. Practices were very well-attended by fans today, and the amount of media in the house has nearly tripled since the men and pairs took the ice last weekend. Sasha looked fit and strong, in a nice red top with cut-outs in back. She did a run-through of her "España Cani" short program and looked pretty amazing, apart from a fall on a triple flip. Admittedly, she'll need to not fall on that in competition, but her Russian split into spiral sequence was jaw-dropping. She looked fast and very together. She also attempted a triple-triple combination, a flip-toe, although it was slightly flawed. Still, we are impressed.

Afterward, her coach John Nicks said she has been working intensely for the past few weeks, which confirms what we've been hearing from her training-mates.

Christina Gao skated right after her and ran her long, and she looks really good too! She did a super triple flip-triple toe. Rachael Flatt was fab, of course, and she did several different triple-triple combinations, some with a triple toe loop as the second jump, some with a triple loop. And then Mirai Nagasu did a triple lutz - triple toe in her practice, so there was plenty of firepower in the session all around.

Backstage we ran into the beautiful senior lady Christina-Maria Sperduto, 2010 Midwestern Sectional champion. This is her first trip to the Championships, and since she had just finished her first practice, she was beaming when she got off the ice.

"It was so awesome to skate in such a big arena! My heart was beating so fast," she said.

Maria then told us what it was like to be on the ice with Sasha during her first practice.

"It was an incredible experience, although I tried to keep a good fifteen feet from her so I wouldn't get in her way!" She also added that "skating with so much media around was intense!"

It was another beautiful day in Spokane. Everything in town seems to be perfectly suited for the Championships, including the weather. We opted to walk over to the arena today, and we ran into several junior and novice pair skaters taking advantage of the weather with a game of pickup football. Although the ground was a little wet, they said they were having a great time. They offered to pose for a picture for the blog, which turned out quite funny!

We'll try to find Sasha for you later on. See you soon!
Sarah and Drew