The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - April 14

Sarah and Drew dish about their busy weekend, from World Synchros to Ice Chips

Charlie White, Ryan Bradley and Meryl Davis hang out backstage at the Ice Chips show.
Charlie White, Ryan Bradley and Meryl Davis hang out backstage at the Ice Chips show. (Sarah S. Brannen)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(04/14/2010) - Given that we were attending two events at the same time in different states, we can't really pretend that we were both at everything this week. First up: Sarah attended the Skating Club of Boston's 98th annual Ice Chips show at Harvard University.

I've been going to Ice Chips for a long, long time and it never disappoints! This year's guest stars were Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Each time they stepped onto the ice, the decibel level of the screams went right over the pain threshold, and the cheers for Ryan Bradley and Stephen Carriere were nearly deafening too.

Overheard in the ladies room before the first show on Saturday: "I can't see out of these fake eyelashes!" and "Stephen Carriere wants to know if you can help him with his makeup."

The show this year had an Olympic theme, complete with flag-bearers and group numbers representing different countries. Jason Wong showed off a stunning program to "American Pie," ("It's a classic!" said Jason) complete with his gorgeous spread eagle.

Ross Miner skated to a humorous vocal version of the "Skaters' Waltz." It's a bit of a spoof on Brian Boitano's 1988 Olympic short program, in which Ross wipes ice off his blade and throws it over his shoulder, does a Cranston spin, etc. It's funny that Ross was not even alive when Brian won his gold medal!

I hung out with Carriere for a while backstage. His new show program, to "Mr. Cellophane," may be his best program ever, showing off wonderful humor and flexibility. He portrays a weary, abused office worker, complete with black eye and bruises (hence the special makeup). Stephen said he went home for a couple of months after nationals and then moved back to his apartment in Wilmington, Del. He's planning to transfer to Villanova University and possibly major in psychology.

However, he has a burgeoning interest in photography and he's planning to take some courses. He's definitely going to keep competing, though. "I plan on going forward for the next couple of years," he said.

Bradley thrilled and entertained the crowd as he always does. He had a bit of an off-day jump-wise, but give the man a break: he did a QUAD. Under spotlights, on ice completely chewed up by the synchro teams who preceded him. "I went up and I was like, 'Oh, perfect, and then I landed, and it was like, 'Awwww....' said Bradley. Bradley also did five back flips during his four programs on Saturday, and the crowd went wild every time.

Davis and White performed their Bollywood original dance to close the first half of the show, and "Billie Jean" to close the second. They were absolutely, completely wonderful. Of course.

The stars went out to dinner at Legal Sea Foods between shows. We shared some calamari while we were looking at the menu, and I observed that Bradley not only likes tentacles as much as I do, but he also likes Boston.

"I'm a small-town boy," said Bradley, "But I don't think Boston is as intimidating as some big cities. Plus I'm a big Red Sox and Celtics fan! But I hate the Patriots..."

Miner and I talked about tennis, as always. "My goal in life is to go to the French Open," he said.

Miner gallantly bought me dinner, which Wong said ought to earn him some best-dressed awards. "I'm trying to convince Jason to do a triple Axel in the group number," rejoined Miner.

Davis and White were exhausted after flying in early that morning following a Stars on Ice show in North Carolina. "We're getting used to the schedule," said Davis. "We're adapting."

The Olympic silver medalists flew from the world championships to Stars on Ice rehearsals with the briefest possible stop at home on the way. "I went home for an hour and a half," said White. "We're like zombies right now."

White said it has been fun to get to know some of the older skaters on tour like Todd Eldredge, Michael Weiss, and, surprisingly, Sasha Cohen. "I never met Sasha until last week," he said.

Later, we all had a lively discussion on costume care. The trouble with these gorgeous competition costumes is that the fabric is not washable and you can't dry-clean them because of the stones and beading. Bradley says he puts his in the dryer on low heat with a dryer sheet and that it helps. Davis, who seems always to be joking, said they spray the Stars on Ice costumes with vodka. She swore it was true.

I asked Bradley how his broken foot is doing.

"It's a slow process to heal," he said, "But I committed to do a lot of shows before I got hurt, and I don't want to back out."

I mentioned that there's a lot of speculation about whether or not he's going to retire.

"To be honest, I don't even know. Charlie already voted that I should stay in."

White started chanting, "Four more years! Four more years!" So naturally I asked about his and his partner's plans.

"We're committed to twelve more years," joked Davis. "We've signed a contract. Seriously, we do want to keep competing."

Have they given any thought to new programs?

"HA!" said White. "We don't even know what day of the week it is."

"At the airport, I have a hard time finding our bags because I can't even remember what city I'm coming from," added Davis.

Drew watches Synchro
Meanwhile, back in Colorado Springs, Drew celebrated his birthday on Saturday and attended the World Synchronized Figure Skating Championships at the World Arena. Here's his take on the excitement:

It was my first time at a synchro competition, and I was very impressed by not only the skating, but by the event in general. The energy at this competition was so different from the competitions I usually go to because it is a team sport. The crowd was going crazy and having so much fun!

All the teams had really big cheering sections -- Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Finland all had their own groups. Each section went berserk when their team skated: screaming, ringing bells, jumping up and down and ferociously waving flags, as if there was a fire, or a sale. During the ice-make before the last flight, people were literally dancing in the aisles. The entire crowd sang along to "Sweet Caroline," just like at a baseball game. It was so much fun to be a part of the audience!

I thought it was interesting that the teams don't have a warm-up but just get on the ice and do a lap in formation. Also, it was interesting that the alternates skated the lap with the team and then got off and waited by the boards. Apparently, if someone gets injured and the team has to stop, the coach can send in one of the alternates after the break.

Before the long program, I saw Team Canada at Target, all wearing matching uniforms.

It was a great weekend! Sarah also went to Stars on Ice in Boston, and we may have a little scoop from that in our next blog. In the meanwhile, we are looking forward to seeing people at Evening With Champions next weekend.

Superlative list for last weekend:
Best hair: Absolutely, positively Charlie White. He's the champion.

Best new program: Stephen Carriere

Best Cheering Section: Canada

Best duet: Alissa Czisny and Sasha Cohen "Lakmé."

Best moral support: Daphne Backman, who was very sympathetic and helpful when Sarah's camera broke down during Ice Chips.

Best dressed: Ross Miner.

Until next week,
Sarah and Drew
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