The Inside Edge: Meissner reflects on Saitama

Skaters share favorite Halloween costumes

Kimmie Meissner, seen here performing at "An Evening with Champions," enjoyed reuniting with old friends at the Medal Winners Open.
Kimmie Meissner, seen here performing at "An Evening with Champions," enjoyed reuniting with old friends at the Medal Winners Open. (Sarah S. Brannen)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(10/23/2012) - It was nice to see Kimmie Meissner at a couple "evenings" this summer and fall: Drew saw her at "An Evening on Ice" in Los Angeles and Sarah saw her at "An Evening with Champions" in Boston. We also enjoyed watching video of her at the Medal Winners Open in Japan, although we unfortunately could not actually be in Japan!

We talked to Meissner on the phone a few days ago, as she got ready to go to the George Washington University Navy Ball with the son of one of her father's patients.

"He came into my dad's office dressed in his uniform, and asked if it would be OK to invite me to the dance," Meissner said. "He goes to George Washington, in the ROTC program." 

Meissner, like most figure skaters, can't resist an opportunity to get dressed up, and we mentioned that we adored the deep pink dress with a crystal collar that she wore in Japan. She told us that Brad Griffies designed the costume.

"Brad had, like, a day to make it -- I called him and he literally made it in a day and sent it out," Meissner said.

She went on to tell us all about her trip to Saitama, Japan.

"The arena there is awesome," she said. "It can get bigger or smaller -- it's huge. They can fit a football field in there.

"But it was so hot, it was probably a hundred degrees, and you know my dress had that high collar on it."

Meissner said she was nervous about the trip beforehand as well as competing in front of judges for the first time since the 2008 Cup of Russia.

"I've never gone anywhere internationally by myself before," she said. "It was so much fun to compete again. It was under spotlights, but I could still see the judges. It definitely brought back the feelings of competition. I wasn't nervous.

"I was speaking with [the judges] before I skated, kind of catching up with them. It was like old friends watching me. It was neat to see them all again."

Meissner enjoyed seeing and catching up with old friends and former competitors like Joannie Rochette and Irina Slutskaya. She also celebrated her 23rd birthday during the trip.

"I hadn't seen Irina since the Olympics," she said. "It was fun to catch up with everyone. I was getting off the first practice, and they gave me an awesome cake and sang 'Happy Birthday' to me. No one ate the cake because they had to compete the next day ... figure skating problems!"

Meissner said she had trained her program for just a month before the event, but she felt relaxed as she competed. She enjoyed skating in front of a big crowd.

"It was so nice to have that many people out there watching me. The fans were fantastic. They're so reserved, and then when you start skating, they go crazy. And they meet you after and give you little gifts and cards."

Once the competition was over, Meissner went out for karaoke with Jeff Buttle, Agnes Zawadzki, Chris Reed and Mervin Tran.

"I had never done karaoke in Japan," she said, giggling. "They gave us tambourines and maracas, and we sat in a little room and sang our hearts out. You're in a private room, so instead of embarrassing yourself in front of everybody, you're embarrassing yourself in front of your friends. It was hard navigating the lyrics in Japanese."

Back at home, Meissner is attending Towson University. She had mentioned last month that she was interested in becoming a writer.

"I've always thought about maybe writing a novel," she said. "I started writing one when I was in Florida, but my computer crashed, so I lost it. Now I back up my work or I write it by hand. I don't want to rely on the computer!"

A day in the life

We were happy to hear from Evan Lysacek recently, in a teleconference, although we were very sorry he had to withdraw from Skate America due to a re-aggravated groin injury. We've been wondering what his current training routine is.

"Part of my training has been recovering from this injury," Lysacek said. "I was starting every day with an hour to two hours of warm-up and physical therapy. I've been working on the hip strength and core strength, and trying to reintroduce as many exercises to that aggravated area as possible in the morning, so things were really firing.

"My on-ice training sessions are a bit shorter than they were ... I would do between two and three hours of training on the ice, I would take a couple of hours extra, including taking some breaks, warming up, etc., and then I would go to the gym in the evening four days a week: some weight training, some interval training, some calisthenics.

"This is my full-time job, so training is my number one priority. Since I've had this injury, my training has included a little bit more conditioning and some rehabilitation in addition to just the training."

Happy Halloween!

Skaters love Halloween, probably more because of the costumes than the candy. We asked a few skating stars what their favorite Halloween costume they're ever worn was.

Ross Miner: My favorite Halloween costume would have to be the Rubik's Cube my dad and I built when I was 14.

Gracie Gold: When I was 2, my mom dressed [my twin sister] Carly and I up as M&Ms. I was yellow and Carly was red. One year we were both Pokemon; one year we were hermit crabs, with paper maché. One year we were the rabbit and the hare.

Ryan Bradley: My favorite Halloween costume was going as Luigi to Rockne Brubaker's Mario.

Ashley Wagner: We stopped dressing up for Halloween pretty early on, so I don't have many to choose from, but I would definitely have to say the year that I was a dandelion will always be a classic.

Adam Rippon: I was a Crayola crayon. I was blue, and my mom made it. It was my favorite.

Zawadzki: I would say my favorite costume was when I was little and I dressed up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I love all the Disney princesses (even though Cinderella is supreme).

We hope you all enjoyed Skate America as much as we did! We can't wait to see what the rest of the Grand Prix brings.

Sarah and Drew

Follow us on Twitter @SarahandDrew.