The Inside Edge: Skaters' nominations for POTUS

Miller, Wang, Long dish on JGP experiences, future goals

Alex Shibutani was a popular pick for president among his fellow skaters.
Alex Shibutani was a popular pick for president among his fellow skaters. (courtesy of Alex Shibutani)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(11/06/2012) - We realized a while ago that this blog was scheduled for Election Day. In honor of the historical occasion, we asked a few of our friends who, among eligible skaters, they thought would be best suited to run for president. (We limited our question to current competitors, because otherwise we're sure everyone would just have answered "Michelle Kwan.")

Ashley Wagner: Charlie White, of course. I mean, look at that hair. Obviously, the first step to being a good president is having some hair that just screams "leadership." Intelligence and a plan for our country helps too, but I think Charlie is capable of running this country solely by the rep his hair gets.

Alissa Czisny: I must answer Rockne Brubaker after listening to him talk about politics! He's passionate about what he believes in, and he knows what he's talking about.

Ross Miner: I'd go with the ticket of White and [Alex] Shibutani ... We all know those dancers can politick.

Meryl Davis: Charlie would expect nothing less than a presidential nomination! I'll go with Charlie.

Stephen Carriere: I think Alissa would make a fantastic candidate for president among our U.S skaters! She'd be a great candidate to tackle the debt limit and education reform. Her appreciation of other languages and cultures would make her an amazing fit for foreign policy. It is about time we had a female POTUS, and Alissa would make a great one!

Gracie Gold: I think that (junior competitor) Christian Burner from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, should run for president someday. He loves politics.

Agnes Zawadzki: I would say Johnny [Weir] should be the president. He would make everything and everyone fabulous!

Gretchen Donlan: I'd nominate a Mr. Alex Hideo Shibutani. I'd be so cool to follow the president on Twitter, or have the presidential inauguration delivered via tweets.

Adam Rippon: As soon as you asked me this question, this was my first reaction: Adam Rippon and Ashley Wagner ballot versus Alex Shibutani and Ross Miner ballot. Why? I have no good reason or any reason. If you don't believe in yourself, who will?

We told Rippon that White was winning, and he added: "Charlie would actually be a great president! I would vote for him."

Three Ladies

The Junior Grand Prix Final will feature three U.S. ladies: Leah Keiser, Hannah Miller and Angela Wang. Barbie Long also did well at her one Junior Grand Prix event, winning a silver medal in Slovenia. We talked to Miller, Wang and Long last week about their past events and plans for the future. Our talk with Long was memorable, given that we were in the midst of Superstorm Sandy in Boston; we've never blogged by candlelight before, but we had our phones and plenty of battery life in the laptop, and we made it work.

All three ladies are 16; in fact, Miller just celebrated her birthday on Oct. 29. They all took advantage of their Junior Grand Prix trips to do a little sightseeing.

"Bled was really pretty -- it was much nicer than I thought it would be," Long said. "There were mountains and a bunch of castles, and a lake. There was a castle on an island -- you took a boat ride to get there."

Wang enjoyed her trip to Zagreb, Croatia, which she also said was very pretty. The fact that she won the gold medal no doubt helped her appreciate the scenery.

"The weather was great," she said. "We had a day off, and Damon [her coach, Damon Allen] and I went downtown and explored, went to see some churches, and it was fun. We wore shorts every day."

Wang's teammate, Miller, enjoyed Croatia and especially Linz, Austria. She won the silver medal at both competitions.

"I had a lot of fun at both of them," Miller said. "They were both very beautiful cities. All my teammates were very supportive, and I was happy with my skates. In Austria, I actually stayed an extra two days, and I got to sightsee a little with my mom and my grandma. They have a few really pretty churches, and we got to walk around and see all the old buildings."

Tanith Belbin worked with both Long and Miller on choreography this season. She is Long's principle choreographer, and she consulted on Miller's programs, which were choreographed by Daniil Barantsev.

"I worked with [Tanith] midway through the year last year," Long said. "This was the first year we started with a clean plate. I love it. We try to see each other once every month and a half or so.

"She starts out with an idea, and we work on that and make it comfortable for me. We want it to look comfortable and not too frantic. We weren't going to go toward the catlike thing with The Pink Panther (Long's short program) because she didn't want that, but it evolved into a humorous program."

Long started skating at the age of 5, although she tried hockey at first with her twin sister, Allie. Introduced to figure skating at a birthday party, they both made the switch, although Allie left figure skating behind when she started horseback riding.

Miller was introduced to figure skating by her aunt and grandmother, who had been competitive skaters. Her father was on the U.S. hockey team at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary.

"My aunt was pretty good," Miller said. "She competed through regionals. They're the ones who first put me on the ice and saw something in my skating. They've definitely been huge helpers throughout my skating career. My dad thought figure skating would be good for me. He knows a lot about sports, mental toughness, when to push yourself, when not, so he's really helped me with that."

Miller and Wang share the same long-term career goal: They want to be doctors. Wang is interested in sports medicine, but Miller, who is only a sophomore in high school, doesn't have a specific career in mind yet.

"I've always wanted to be a doctor -- that's never really changed," Miller said. "I haven't really figured it out yet. I've thought about it a little bit, and I would probably postpone college until my skating career is closer to being done."

"I became really interested in anatomy in fifth grade," Wang said. "I started trying to memorize all the bones."

Wang, a high school junior, divides her days between school and training.

"I need that balance of school and training in my life. I go to school in the morning, so I can focus on school, then I go home, eat lunch, take a nap, and then I can go to rink and switch my focus."

Miller and Wang will compete as seniors at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, while Long will stay junior.

All three have similar goals.

"I want to try to skate my best this year, instead of getting caught up in everything else," Long said. "I pulled my groin in my right leg. It's an injury that comes back, so I have to watch it. It hurt a little last week, but I went to physical therapy and it's feeling better."

"I want to put out two great performances -- the best that I can do -- and be happy with myself," Miller said. "Ideally, I'd like to be top seven or eight. Or course, I'd like to be on the team for junior worlds."

"My goal is to skate two solid programs," Wang said. "I'm not really too worried about the placement, because you can't control that. Qualifying for junior worlds is definitely one of my goals."

Wang's coach, Christy Krall, was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame last week. Armin Mahbanoozadeh and Zawadzki joined Wang at the ceremony.

Enjoy watching the election results tonight. And our very best wishes go out to everyone affected by Sandy.

Sarah and Drew
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