The Inside Edge: Delaware dancers endure ordeal

Best-dressed rated by 'Mitchells'; Sarah, Drew spot first Olympic champion

Tanith Belbin, here to do ice dance commentary for, snuggles up to her dog in the hotel lobby.
Tanith Belbin, here to do ice dance commentary for, snuggles up to her dog in the hotel lobby. (Sarah S. Brannen)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(01/23/2013) - It's only our second day in Omaha, but we're taking notes and keeping our eyes open for possible "Best-dressed" winners. We're developing a system for rating the coaches' outfits calibrated in "Mitchells," in honor of perennial best-dressed coach Mark Mitchell.

The coffee shop in the hotel lobby was a busy scene this morning as junior and senior skaters and coaches got back from practice sessions. The coaches, including Frank Carroll, John Nicks and Jim Peterson, made a beeline for coffee.

Carroll was wearing his fabulous fur Danish Olympic team jacket. We give it 10 Mitchells.

"It's seal," he told us. "They gave it to me. They only have 11 or 12 people on their team, so they can afford a $5,000 jacket!"

Jim Peterson has his eye on another Best-Dressed Coach award. He was with Amanda Evora, here in her newly minted coaching capacity, wearing all Express.

"It's my practice outfit," he said. "My short program costume is Calvin Klein. It's a black leather jacket, a little edgy. [Amanda] has matching high black leather boots."

Five Mitchells. So far.

Meanwhile, Tanith Belbin strolled through the lobby, greeting everyone with a warm smile, with her little dog on a leash trotting along side. She was every inch glamorous, rocking cute boots with gray fur tops and pompom tassels.

Stressful trip

The dance teams of Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, and Isabella Cannuscio and Michael Bramante had a hair-raising trip from Dulles through Newark to Omaha on Tuesday.

"Bella and her mom got bumped," Bramante told us. "But they got on at the last minute."

"Then there was a problem with the door of the plane," McManus said. "And that delayed us 15 minutes. And then right before we landed, someone had a heart attack and they had to take him off."

With only a half-hour layover to start with, the teams raced through the airport in Newark.

"We had to take the train to the other terminal, and I was asking a guard if we were going the right way, and I accidentally stepped over the line of the secure area, and they wouldn't let me back in. So I had to go through security again," McManus said.

The plane was held for a few minutes, McManus made it on, and both teams arrived in Omaha more or less on schedule, if frazzled. Their bags, however, did not.

"We went back to the airport that night, and the room the bags were in was locked," Bramante said.

After some persuasion, the teams had their luggage, and all was finally well.

"Everything that could have gone wrong, did," Bramante said. "We've gotten all the stress out of our systems, though."

Both teams agree that competing in the senior dance event will be easy after the trip here.

Nap time

Britney Simpson came into the lobby after a good warm-up for the afternoon's junior pairs free skate. We asked if she was planning to nap after the early morning practice.

"I never take a nap," she said. "Even when I was little, I never liked them. They make me feel more tired. Matt [Blackmer] is going to take a nap, but I just lie on the bed and watch TV."

The strategy worked, as Simpson and Matt Blackmer won the junior pairs title Wednesday afternoon with a flawless free skate.

In the stands

A big group of senior competitors watched the junior pairs event, including Ashley Wagner, looking beautiful again with her hair in a loose braid and wearing gray suede ankle-boots. She was joined by Adam Rippon, Marissa Castelli, Simon Shnapir, Christina Gao, Agnes Zawadzki, Harrison Choate, Ross Miner, Jonathan Cassar, Kiri Baga and Taylor Toth.

Wagner said Nicks has forbidden her to wear high heels, so she bought the low-heeled boots to walk around in.

Shnapir interviewed Baga about her heavy schedule: Baga is skating in the senior ladies and senior pairs events.

"Which one is harder?" Shnapir asked. Baga couldn't decide.

"It's exhausting, but I really love it," she said.

Next to the pairs skater Shnapir, Rippon was eating a pear -- "I love pears. Get it?" he said.

Fifty shades of Mitchell

Speaking of Mitchell, he stopped by and told us he had been doing a lot of shopping in Paris.

"I'm all about color this year," he said. "No more fifty shades of grey. I'm serious! Harrison! What am I not wearing this year?"

"Fifty shades of grey," Choate called back.

Olympic champion sightings: 1, Tara Lipinski.

Off to get some coffee. See you tomorrow.

Sarah and Drew
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