The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Jan. 30

Olympians, gear and bits and pieces

Fellow blogger Evan Bates does a little dance backstage.
Fellow blogger Evan Bates does a little dance backstage. (Sarah S. Brannen)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(01/30/2011) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins are back with a men's free skate day edition of The Inside Edge.

January 30, 2011
It's a beautiful warm, sunny day in Greensboro. As we arrived at the arena, we saw Adam Rippon, Armin Mahbanoozadeh and Jason Wong waiting for the bus after their warm-ups, enjoying the sun and looking a little tense. Which is understandable, of course.

We had the delightful pleasure of a very late-night encounter with the beautiful two-time U.S. champion Alissa Czisny. Hours after her win, she was still radiant. We asked her if winning the title for a second time felt as good as the first time, and she said, "Better."

"I won't be able to sleep tonight," she added. "I always sleep really well at competitions, until it's over."

A big congratulations to Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin on their brilliant performance yesterday, which won the senior pair title. Yankowskas and Coughlin are great friends of ours, and two of the nicest people and hardest workers in the sport. We ran up to them after their event for a congratulatory hug when we saw them in the stands watching the senior ladies final. Coughlin is also a champion hugger, by the way.

"I can't believe it!" said Coughlin. "It's unreal. It really hasn't sunk in yet at all. I'm so happy all my skating friends and family were here to help me through this."

Bits and Pieces
Rachael Flatt is sitting in the stands watching the senior men. How is she feeling the day after her silver medal?

"Tired," she said. "I didn't get much sleep last night. About three hours. It's all good, though."

Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates may be sidelined by injury this season, but they're here all the same. Samuelson is doing commentary for, and Bates is writing a blog.

"I don't know what to write about!" he joked, so he and Sarah had a little blog summit.

Bates says his achilles injury is better and he's back on the ice, a bit.

"Emily swears I've gotten taller," he said.

Bates has been looking great and very happy all week, which we are pleased to see. His hair, which is longer than normal and slightly overgrown, also looks fantastic.

We stopped for a chat with Jenni Meno and Todd Sand on the concourse during the ladies event. We told them that we were out and about, looking for gossip.

"We could start acting really crazy for you!" said Meno, with a laugh.

Ross Miner took salsa dance classes last summer to help him deliver a convincing performance of his salsa medley short program. "It was really fun, actually," he said. "The attractive dance instructor didn't hurt."

We passed junior pair Colin Grafton and Kylie Duarte, trying on skates in the Risport booth. Grafton said he wanted to try them out, and that they were very comfortable once he got them on.

"I am happy with the ones I have now, but I'm always open to trying new things," he said.

After taking a card from the representative, Grafton was so wrapped up in thoughts of skates that he started down the halls of the concourse in his socks.

"Oh! I forgot my shoes!" he yelled, running back for them.

We saw junior dance bronze medalists Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus on the elevator this morning, fresh from world junior team meeting and wearing their world team USFS team jackets.

"I'm never taking this off," said McManus. "And we got these cool pullovers too, see? I love apparel."

We noticed during the warm-up introductions that a lot of the senior ladies list a career in fashion as their future dream, including Alissa Czisny, Mirai Nagasu, Danielle Kahle and many, many more. But not Kristine Musademba; the high school senior told us she is hoping to study law after college. Of course, when we saw her this morning, she was on her way to the mall.

We saw Sarah Hughes yesterday, so the Olympic champion count now stands at eight.

It's hard to believe it's the last day of the championships! We'll be back on Tuesday with our annual best-dressed list. Of course.
Sarah and Drew
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