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Grant Hochstein's Finlandia Trophy diary

Checking in from Vantaa

Grant Hochstein relates the happenings from Skate Canada.
Grant Hochstein relates the happenings from Skate Canada. (Jacque Tiegs)

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By Grant Hochstein, special to icenetwork.com
(10/06/2010) - Men's competitor Grant Hochstein shares his experience at the Finlandia Trophy.

Sunday, Oct. 10
And so the end is here. It's been a week of highs and lows but definitely a week to remember. As I sit here in the midst of packing, I will share with you my final thoughts from the 2010 Finlandia Trophy.

Overall, I have to say that I gained valuable experience leading into Skate Canada. I came into the competition feeling completely prepared and had a short program that I would like to forget. However, instead of forgetting, I must learn from it. Regardless of how prepared I feel, it is important to stay focused on each element and fight, fight, fight. My long program showed me this. By fighting and being strong, I have learned that anything is possible. I recieved a lot of really positive feedback that my coaches and I are going to take back home to work out. I am going to continue building on what I have gained here and put two strong programs together at Skate Canada.

I missed the ladies and dance event today. Maria and I went into Helsinki early in the morning and had a blast. We saw the harbor and the tall ships event that was taking place this weekend, spent some time gazing at the beauty that is the Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral, wandered the shops and had an all-around great time. I wish I could have been able to cheer on my American teammates, but if I'm in Helsinki, I have to sightsee, right?!?

Thank you all again for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you've enjoyed it!!

Until next time,
Grant

Saturday, Oct. 9
.01! .01! Really???!!!??? Ugh, I could have almost died when I found out!

I knew it was going to be tough to pull up from that massive hole I created for myself after the short program, but this one hurts a little. However, I must also say, and this is way more important, that I am extremely proud of myself. I skated what was probably the best long program of my career. It was the first time I landed the triple Lutz-triple toe after the halfway point and only the third time I've landed seven triples. Looking at those facts, and also the fact that I finished second in the long, I must say that I was really happy. I medal is only a material object, and I will have that feeling of complete and total joy that I had when I finished my program for the rest of my life.

Jonathan also skated really well. He skated right after me, so I was able to watch most of his program. First of all, I love Schindler's List, and combined with Jonathan's skating, the program has a captivating quality. I think it is great that both of us were able to skate extremely solid programs and move up in the overall rankings.

I'm being a bad Team USA supporter and actually missing today's events to go into downtown Helsinki with Maria. We've gone twice before but not for a great length of time, so today we are going all day. I was, however, a good supporter at least once on this trip because I stayed to watch the Hubbells' short dance after my short program. Let's just say this: I'm pretty awesome at waving the flag. Just saying.

I want to wish my teammates good luck today and, hopefully, I'll have another blog for you all before I depart this great northern country that is Finland.

Grant

Thursday, Oct. 7
It's another chilly night here in Finland! It's also the night before the short program, and I'm not going to lie...I'm pretty excited!

We all had our first practices today. As you may recall, I had an early morning practice at that rink, and I had no clue where it was located. It went very well for my first practice. My second practice was at the competition venue, but in the practice rink, so I have yet to practice in the main arena. (Fortunately, our 40-minute warm-up is in the main rink tomorrow before we compete.) The second practice today went even better than the first, and I feel really confident heading into the competition. I drew eighth to skate and Jonathan drew 11th, which means I am last in the second warm-up, and he is third in the last warm-up.

After practice, Maria and I headed into Helsinki for some dinner and late-night sightseeing. We had amazing Italian pizza (of course I would eat Italian in Finland...I eat Italian everywhere). I was really happy that we were able to see the Helsinki Cathedral and Senate Square at night. I'm quite the copycat because I was looking at Karen Zhou's pictures from Finlandia from a few years ago, and she took this awesome picture of the cathedral lit up at night, so I stole her idea. Let me just say, Karen, my picture is far superior to yours. I'm going to try to upload the picture tomorrow to share with you all. It's fantastic.

I was also proud of myself for being able to navigate the gigantic supermarket where nothing is written in English. Granted, I only bought bananas, peanut butter, jelly, bread and plastic forks, but it was tough! I wasn't sure if I was buying jelly or preserves, because, really, who wants preserves, am I right? The peanut butter took me, like, 15 minutes to locate, and the bread was a challenge all its own because everything looked strange and had pictures that all looked the same. Somehow, I came away with good-tasting bread. I'm a rock star.

Enough for tonight. It's 11:00 p.m., and I need energy for tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for Team USA!

Grant

Wednesday, Oct. 6

Hello from Finland!

Grant Hochstein, back on duty for icenetwork.com. I would first like to say how excited I am to be here in Finland. I'm stoked for this competition and have been working my butt off to prepare. That being said, let us commence into the usual breakdown of events so far.

I am here with Maria Moscato, who is my ballet teacher/secondary coach. I am very happy to be able to share this experience with her because she doesn't usually get to attend these competitions with me. Lindsay, my primary coach, is going to be at regionals this week with all my friends from St. Clair Shores, and I am shamelessly going to give them a shout out right now...woo hoo! St. Clair Shores...H to the Y!

Security was extra tight because of the terrorism threats. I don't really mind it though, because I would rather have to wait in line an extra 20 minutes to know that I am going to be safely transported to my destination.

I checked my skates because they always give us a problem going through Amsterdam...like they did with Amanda [Dobbs] and Jonathan [Cassar], who had to go back through security because they weren't allowed to take them through. Fortunately, all the skaters' bags made it here. Well, everyone's bags except Roger Glenn, our team leader, whose clothes didn't make it. Not so fun! Hopefully, they make it here tomorrow.

We went into Helsinki for dinner tonight, which was nice. For those who don't know, the Finlandia Trophy actually takes place in Vantaa, which is one city north of Helsinki and takes about 25-30 minutes by bus to get to from our hotel. Needless to say, we were all starving, exhausted and cold. However, we made it a really fun trip downtown and are all now on the verge of sleeping for 20 hours.

With that, I am going to go to sleep because as I write this, it is 10:40 p.m., and I have to be up bright and early at 5:45 a.m. for an unofficial practice at a rink with the the Hubbells. We only get one practice tomorrow, so the three of us decided we would wake up and get a practice somewhere. Angelika organized it, so I know nothing other than that I need to be downstairs at 6:30 a.m.

Goodnight...I will talk to you all very soon!
Grant