The Inside Edge: Kim to headline Harvard

Kim to appear at 'An Evening with Champions' at Harvard University

Yu-Na Kim will headline Harvard University's "An Evening with Champions."
Yu-Na Kim will headline Harvard University's "An Evening with Champions." (Getty Images)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(08/15/2011) - "An Evening with Champions," Harvard University's long-running benefit show, announced its 2011 lineup of skaters today. Leading the cast is 2010 Olympic champion Yu-Na Kim, in a rare performance on U.S. soil.

"We are honored and thrilled that Yu-Na is joining us for our 41st annual show," said the co-chairs, Clara Yoon and Ayse Baybars. "She is an incredible addition to the many EWC skaters who have generously devoted themselves to the fight against cancer. We look forward to a show weekend that is sure to be an amazing experience!"

"We certainly weren't counting on Yu-Na skating in EWC, but we harbored a hope that she would," Yoon went on. "When we heard word that she had accepted our invitation, we were at first shocked and then utterly ecstatic."

The students are also excited about the rest of the cast, which includes 2011 world bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani as well as Rachael Flatt, Shawn Sawyer, Ross Miner, Christina Gao, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely, Yasmin Siraj, Jason Wong, Alexander Aiken, the Haydenettes and Harvard student Emily Hughes. Beloved 1964 Olympic champions Lyudmila and Oleg Protopopov will skate again, making a welcome return to the ice after his stroke in 2009. Paul Wylie returns as host, and more skaters may be added to the cast in coming weeks.

"An Evening with Champions" is a Harvard student-run charity organization that raises money for the Jimmy Fund, the fundraising arm of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Over its 40-year history, the show has raised over $2.5 million for pediatric and adult cancer research.

Tickets are now available for two shows, October 15 and 16, at the Bright Arena in Cambridge, Mass. Visit for more information.

Farewell to the Springs
We were honored to be invited to Flatt's going-away party last month, hosted by her long-time coaches Tom Zakrajsek and Becky Calvin. She had just lit the cauldron for the 2011 Rocky Mountain State Games two nights before, and the Broadmoor Skating Club held a cookout for her at the rink the next day, so it was as usual, a busy weekend for her! Flatt, who wore a lovely white frilly sundress, socialized with guests and reminisced about skating at the Broadmoor.

There was quite a crowd of friends and family, including Janet Champion, Christy Krall, Max Aaron, and Brandon Mroz. Sadly, no pairs skaters could attend, because they were all competing at the Indy Pair Challenge that weekend. There were a lot of young kids there too; Rachael is very inspiring to young students. Drew always laughs because whenever his students skate by he sees Rachael's signature on their boots!

The guests shared their favorite memories of Flatt, and the theme of the evening seemed to be her incredible work ethic. Zakrajsek told everyone about Flatt's first lesson with him. He got a call from a fellow coach in California, who said, 'My student Rachael is coming; I'd like her to try some lessons with you.' When eight-year-old Flatt showed up, she skated over to him with a big smile on her face and said, 'Hi, I'm Rachael Flatt!' Zakrajsek said, 'Oh, hi, Rachael, pleased to meet you! What are we going to work on today?' And Flatt said, 'We're going to work on double loops!'

Zakrajsek added that as he went through the lesson he saw that some of her jumps weren't all the way there yet, but he thought, 'I've never seen an eight-year-old girl who got on the ice with a plan, and because of that I am going to teach her double loop today because I don't want to disappoint her.'

Zakrajsek said that was the quintessential Flatt: always organized, and always with a plan. We wish her the best of success at Stanford this fall, and with her skating season.

Two new dance teams
Bryna Oi and Mark Jahnke, who finished in fifth place in the novice division at the 2011 U.S. championships, have each found a new partner for the coming season. Oi, who is Curran Oi's sister, has teamed up with Taiyo Mizutani. The team is training in Ann Arbor with Yasa Nechaeva and Yuri Chesnichenko and planning to compete as seniors in Japan this season.

"We're both really excited to start training!" Oi told us. "We found each other through Taiyo is learning English, and I'm planning to take a Japanese class this year. My dad is Japanese by descent, but he was born in the U.S."

Jahnke has teamed up with Roxette Howe, who previously competed with Ryan Farmer and placed ninth in Greensboro. (Her brother, Spencer Howe, also competes in novice men). Jahnke and Howe will train during the school year with Barret Brown and Tom Lescinski in Boston, and during summer and breaks in school with Nechaeva and Chesnichenko in Ann Arbor. They will compete as juniors.

"After both of our partnerships dissolved both of our coaches suggested completely independently that we try out with each other," Jahnke told us. "We both had a really good feeling about it, and we decided to skate together in late April."

Jahnke has been a Trustee Scholar at Boston University for two years, but he has just transferred to Harvard University, where he'll be studying Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

That's all for now,
Sarah and Drew
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