Lynn and Logan's blog from Ice Challenge

U.S. ice dancers chronicle Team USA's adventures in Graz, Austria

Ice dancers Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt are blogging this week from the Ice Challenge in Austria.
Ice dancers Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt are blogging this week from the Ice Challenge in Austria. (courtesy of Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt)


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By Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt, special to
(11/02/2011) - U.S. ice dancers Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt give readers a behind-the-scenes look at all the goings-on at the 2011 Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria.

Friday, Nov. 5

Lynn: I wake up at 7:37 a.m. with panic and confusion. The sun is too bright for it to be 6:30, yet I haven't received the dreaded phone call from Logan or Yasa. The bus leaves at 8:00 a.m., and the last words I heard from Yasa last night were "Don't be late," and by that she meant, "Be 10 minutes early." I get ready in approximately eight minutes ... no big deal. I find Logan casually eating his seven or so plates, and he greets me.

Logan: "Nice hair, Lynn. You look wide awake this morning." Lynn rolls her eyes at me and sarcastically replies with, "Yeah, I know, I spent a lot of time on it." I grab her some food to eat on the bus as she holds a cup of coffee in one hand and make-up in the other. Yasa walks into the breakfast area and immediately knows what's happened.

Lynn: Our eyes meet, and I slowly take the coffee cup away from my lips and tuck the make-up in my pocket. Yasa lifts an eyebrow, and I realize my hair just completely gave it away. Nonchalantly, I give her a head nod and say, "What's up, Yasa?" And she replies with, "I see you overslept ... nice." But I say, "Hey, I'm 10 minutes early. How did you guys sleep last night?"

Logan: "I slept terribly again. I don't know if it's the time change, hard beds or slight competition anxiety, but I was up half the night." Oh well, I shrug it off because I actually feel surprisingly well for how little sleep I've gotten, and we head to the bus. I can't help but laugh when I see Lynn eating her breakfast and doing her make-up as the bus is bouncing around. I never have to worry, though, because even when things don't quite go according to plan, we always seem to make it work.

Lynn: We have another practice outside, but at least the sun is shining and the clouds aren't threatening us with rain like they have been for the past two days. Though the sunshine was perfect for touring Graz, it wasn't so ideal for twizzling and spinning. I always trust Logan. He takes good care of me, but when he's blinded by the sun, I get a little bit nervous. All in all, it was a great practice.

Logan: We discuss how perfect it would be to walk around downtown and sightsee, but soon thoughts of taking a nap prevail. Before I knew it, I was passed out in bed for three hours. I wake up with just enough time to eat lunch and get ready to go to the rink for the free dance.

Lynn: All I can think about is skating last. I'm getting a little antsy but trying to stay focused, and all [U.S. assistant] Lorrie [Parker] wants to do is play Catch Phrase and take pictures. She takes Catch Phrase out and sees me in deep concentration and slowly puts it back in her bag. "No? Not a good time? Okay, okay." She reaches back into her bag and puts on her USA rock 'n' roll sunglasses and says, "I'm ready! Let's go, Team USA!" I can't help but laugh.

Logan: If I knew that Lorrie had Catch Phrase at the ready, I would have been all about it! Instead, I went off and listened to music and played Angry Birds on my phone ... and, yes, those of you who know me realize that I'm slightly obsessed. Finally, after 40 minutes of waiting, it's time to take the ice.

Lynn: As our music starts, I slowly get the butterflies out of my system, while Logan gets the angry birds out of his. We feel great and are enjoying every moment of our program. Before we know it, we hit the last beat of our music and are thrilled with our performance. We're excited to have started off our season so well and look forward to even better performances at NHK next week! Time to start changing my "Guten Tags" to "Konichiwas."

Lynn and Logan: Congratulations to Bella [Cannuscio] and Ian [Lorello], and Andrea [Poapst] and Chris [Knierim]! Great skates this week. Good luck to Stephen [Carriere] and Caroline [Zhang] in the free skate tomorrow! Thank you, everyone, for your support this week. Since we have one more blog from Graz tomorrow, we are open to any special requests you may have, i.e., another poem, haiku, certain topic(s) ... anything you want.

Thursday, Nov. 4

Didn't sleep much in the middle of the night,
Still jet-lagged from the really long flight.
No breakfast this early for us to eat,
Hunger pains in our stomachs we'll have to defeat.

The rink is quiet at the crack of dawn,
So quiet in fact, you can hear us yawn.
Half asleep, we get our legs a-movin',
Don't know how, but we keep on groovin'.
Testing the theory we can skate in our sleep,
Get down in our knees and get those edges real deep.

We manage to cope and practice went well,
Going back to the hotel to rid our hunger spell.
Hoarding breads and cheeses back to our table,
All this food we talk about sounds like a fable.

Next on the agenda is a much-needed nap,
So half-way through our program, our energy won't sap.
Four hours later, we awake, refreshed and ready to go,
Head into the rink to put on a fantastic show.
Shortly before we arrived, Andrea and Chris were already done;
They had skated their way to number one!

It's finally time for the Short Dance,
Good thing Logan didn't forget his pants.
Ladies lookin sexy and men lookin fine,
Among all the rhumbas, we skate number nine.

Team USA's at the top of the pack,
Skating's over, now it's time for a snack!
Number nine must be lucky, cuz' we drew it again,
But now it's time for Stephen to dominate the Men.

It's been a long day full of exciting events,
So it's time to call it a night, all you ladies and gents.
Stay tuned for tomorrow, another big day;
Team USA's performances will whisk you away!

Wednesday, Nov. 2

Guten tag from Graz! It's been two years since we've been to Graz, and it is as refreshingly beautiful as we remember. Although this is the sixth time we've been to a German-speaking country, we have neglected to try and learn more than a few words. We also realize we made the mistake of taking Latin in high school ... a lot of good that did us. The one thing we do understand, however, is how amazing/scrumptious/[insert your preferred mouth-watering adjective here] their breakfasts are. You know it's good when you wake up at 2:00 a.m. salivating because you've been dreaming about it. Six hours later, we finally got what we were dreaming about and had to restrain ourselves from going up for round five.

After breakfast, we had some time before practice to walk around downtown. Fortunately, after that rather large meal, we didn't have to walk far since our hotel is right in the heart of downtown. We found ourselves in front of the familiar stairway to the clock tower, which we went up last time to see a beautiful view of the entire city. We got excited and contemplated revisiting it but looked at each other and decided 10 flights of stairs were too many before practice. Go ahead and make fun of us, but take a look at them and ask yourself, "Would I climb those stairs before skating? Is that really a smart choice?"

We walked further and came across a unique structure in the middle of the river that has a restaurant inside, which we are determined to check out this week. The further we walk, the more bakeries, cafés and fancy restaurants seem to be taunting us. We just ate breakfast, but food is still on the mind. People often wonder what skater's do in their free time. Well, for us, it's clearly eating food.

We have to get ready for our practice, but we'll update you on the culinary tour of Graz in our upcoming blogs. Also, get ready for the traditional Lynn and Logan rhymes to come.