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Colin Grafton's blog from JGP Latvia

Go behind the scenes in Riga with the three-time U.S. pairs medalist

Colin Grafton, dancing here with Alexandra Aldridge, will be blogging all week from JGP Latvia.
Colin Grafton, dancing here with Alexandra Aldridge, will be blogging all week from JGP Latvia. (Lorrie Parker)

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By Colin Grafton, special to icenetwork.com
(08/31/2011) - Three-time U.S. pairs medalist Colin Grafton blogs this week from the season's first international competition.

Sept. 2
Hey everyone! The short programs and pairs free skate are done. It has been a very busy couple of days. First up was the pairs short program. There were a lot of great teams in the event. It was great to watch and see the teams from other countries. Kylie and I skated a good short program, but unfortunately we lost credit for our pairs spin, so we didn't get the score we had hoped for, however it was definitely something to learn from. Olivia Oltmanns and Josh Santillian and Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier also skated nice programs.

In the ladies short program, Ashley Cain skated cleanly and landed in third place after the short. Yasmin Siraj is sitting in a comfortable sixth place after the short. After talking with her, I think she is ready to give it her all in the long, which takes place tonight.

In the men's short program, Timothy Dolensky skated a beautiful program landing him in fourth entering the free skate.

Today was the pairs free skate. Olivia and Josh skated a great program placing them in seventh. Haven and Brandon also skated a nice program and ended up in eighth. Kylie and I did not have our best free skate and ended up in ninth position. We are looking forward to getting back home and working on what we have learned from the competition. Today was the first day it has been really sunny here in Latvia. It will be nice to walk around to some shops and experience a little bit of Latvian culture. I think that's about it for now!

Colin

Aug. 31
Hey, everyone! Colin Grafton here blogging from the first Junior Grand Prix of the season, in Riga, Latvia. I will do my best to keep you updated on what's going on here at the competition.

Today, all of Team USA and most athletes from other countries arrived in Latvia. My partner, Kylie, and I, along with Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, traveled from Colorado to Minnesota, Minnesota to Amsterdam, and then Amsterdam to Latvia. Other skaters had connections in Finland, Sweden and Germany.

Unfortunately, all of we "Colorado skaters" had our luggage left behind in Amsterdam. I was the only one who lucked out and received my bag in Latvia (haha). A representative at the airport was able to confirm that the lost bags will arrive at our hotel tomorrow night, so that is good news!

Once at the hotel, I was able to see the rest of the team, including my roommate, Daniel Eaton (ice dancing partner of Alexandra Aldridge). The rooms here at the hotel are nice but typical in European style: VERY small. I am pretty sure my legs will hang off the bed. Daniel and I quickly flipped through the television channels, and to our dismay, there are only two channels in English. Guess I'd better brush up on my Latvian!

After settling quickly in the room and changing clothes, it was time for team dinner. Team leader Lorrie Parker arranged for the team to eat at an awesome and unique restaurant called LIDO. This restaurant offered a large array of foods in a buffet style. Out of them all, the most popular food was French fries! I know ... how American of us! We took some great group photos, and even did a little dancing to the live band at the restaurant.

Tomorrow is the first day of practice for everyone, and the draws for the short programs and short dance. That being said, it's bedtime ... already 10 p.m. here.

Go Team USA!

Colin