Santillan gets motor running at Skate Detroit

Pairs skater gives his perspective on the competition this week in Bloomfield Hills

Joshua Santillan gives readers the scoop this week from Skate Detroit.
Joshua Santillan gives readers the scoop this week from Skate Detroit. (Jacque Tiegs)


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By Joshua Santillan, special to
(07/25/2012) - Joshua Santillan, pairs partner of Olivia Oltmanns, is competing this week at Skate Detroit. He's keeping a daily journal for

Thursday, July 27

Another day of sleeping in ... I adore this sleeping schedule.

We had to pack this morning and leave the hotel. (I'll explain why in a bit.) We headed to our 12:45 practice with all our bags in the trunk and a clear slate, as our two programs aren't combined at this competition. I must've caught a bit of whatever Olivia and Trudy (Olivia's mom, and our coach) have, because I started feeling sick last night. However, my parents were so kind as to pick up medication for all of us, so hopefully I have a swift recovery.

The practice went well again -- everything was automatic. Today presented another program where we'd be doing easier elements because of our state of sickness.

But first, lunch.

After a delicious, healthy meal from Panera, we decided to watch the senior pairs short program while warming up for our long program. It was definitely a good decision to watch -- the pairs were awesome! Alexa [Scimeca] and Chris [Knierim] really gave the Canadians (Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch) a run for their money. I love watching the senior pairs because I aspire to be like them.

Another day, another solid warm-up. We were first after the warm up AGAIN, so nice and slow on this warm-up. While not everything went quite as planned (a few missteps and a Level 3 lift instead of a Level 4), we felt like it was a good warm-up for Indy and that it left us prepared for future competitions this season. Of course, with both of us being sick, it took a lot of will to push through the closing moments of the program. (At one point, I felt like a sloth trying to run a marathon in under an hour.) However, I felt like we stayed in the program, even through the tiredness.

As soon as we got off the ice, we rushed to get our skates off and get in the car. We had only an hour to get to the airport! Home, however, was not our final destination. We hopped on the plane and headed to Colorado Springs. Over the next few days, we'll be working with a variety of coaches. It's always an exciting opportunity to go to a different training environment.

From there we'll be flying to Indianapolis for the Indy Challenge. I will be blogging from there, too, so I hope you all read then.

It's been a pleasure writing for you. This is Joshua Santillan, checking out from Colorado Springs. I hope you enjoyed my blog. You can check out my Twitter anytime at

Wednesday, July 26

Well, thank goodness it's only July.

We got to sleep in today (hallelujah!), which felt amazing. Both of us woke up around 11:30 and just hung out at our hotel and had lunch. We headed to the rink for our practice ice in the evening. Even though the practice was close to our event, I was glad we had it. We got to skate in our new outfits for the first time and got a new sharpening, too. Everything went well on the practice, and we left feeling confident and ready for our short program.

An hour and a half later, we took the ice for our warm-up. Luck would have it that we skated first (yippee?), so we took the warm-up nice and slow, executing each of our elements to perfection. Unfortunately, sometimes a good practice/warm-up spells a bad performance in competition. While we did some things we liked, there were a few moments in the program we would definitely like to have back. Also, my coach accidentally turned in the wrong cut of the music, and Olivia has been struggling with bronchitis, so we made the program easier.

We didn't get to stick around to watch the rest of the competition. Instead, we went to Boston Market and headed home early to rest up. While we are very dissatisfied with today's performance, our heads are up and we're looking forward to prove ourselves in the long program tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24

Today was quite eventful for a "flying day." Both of my flights got cancelled on the way to Detroit! Thanks to some heckling (and, undoubtedly, my cunning charm), I was still able to arrive at my destination only an hour late.

I always choose an album to listen to while flying, as it lulls me to sleep when combined with the gentle rock of the plane. Today's plane naps were brought to you by My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (definitely inspired by his Chicago roots). When I wasn't sleeping, I did get some time to catch up on my latest novel, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, an excellent work of religious satire. As expected, this got me a few weird looks.

Upon landing, I was surprised to see that both my parents were there -- I had no idea my dad was going to be there! We took a trip downtown and grabbed a bite to eat in Greektown. (I love gyros!) We then went into the Renaissance Center and walked on the lakefront. It was truly beautiful in Detroit today.

After a lovely trip downtown, we went to pick up Olivia. (It's very rare for me to travel without her -- it was weird!) Then we went back to our hotel and ordered pizza for dinner, and now I'm about to hit the hay.

Can't wait for the short program Wednesday!