The Inside Edge: Anxieties, recoveries and coffee

Sarah and Drew make new fashion observations; Miner misses out on birthday celebration

Jason Brown couldn't watch the senior ladies short program without getting anxious.
Jason Brown couldn't watch the senior ladies short program without getting anxious. (Sarah S. Brannen)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(01/25/2013) - Most of the senior men competing at the U.S. championships this week were in the crowd for the senior ladies short program Thursday night, cheering on their friends and training mates. Not Jason Brown though; as we rushed into the stands just before the event began, we ran into Brown rushing out.

"I'm not staying," he said. "I get too nervous! I know so many of them, it's just too nerve-wracking."

In the stands, coach/choreographer Tom Dickson was racking up "Mitchell points" in a suave ensemble. We asked who he was wearing.

"Dolce and Gabbana," he said, pointing to his pants, "Armani [jacket] and ... Suzy the Costume Lady."

Dickson explained that he really liked his student Alex Johnson's costume, a simple black shirt and pants, and so Johnson had costume designer Suzy Hubbs make another shirt for him.

In the restaurant after the event, we shared a busy table with several skaters and choreographers. Karen Kwan-Oppegard walked by, stunningly elegant in a white silk top and black leather pencil skirt, and we all instantly fainted.

"She could be a supermodel," someone gushed.

Fifty Mitchells. And 10 Johanssons for the shoes.


John Coughlin called this morning and gave us a positive report on his recovery from hip surgery.

"They moved us up another week, so I'm a total of three weeks ahead of what they told me," he said. "I'll be on the ice on Monday. We submitted our petition [for the world championships team], so everyone's really positive about that. We did a triple twist off the ice yesterday."

Coughlin said it feels very strange not to be at the championships.

"Tell everyone I said 'Hi,'" he said. "I wish I was there. It's a surreal experience not being there."


Armin Mahbanoozadeh was hanging out next to the coffee shop in the hotel, but not drinking coffee.

"I don't like coffee," he said.

Don't. Like. Coffee?? That's a rare skater indeed.

"I don't drink tea either," he said. "Sometimes I might have a soda but I don't drink caffeine on purpose."


We headed over to the Memorial Fund Reception, where junior pairs gold and silver medalists Britney Simpson and Jessica Calalang addressed the gathering of devoted supporters. Calalang choked up to the point of tears as she spoke about leaving her family at a young age to pursue her career.

"I had to move away from home, and all my aunts and uncles and cousins," she said, weeping. "I'm very thankful for having all your support."

Skaters and coaches in attendance included Mark Ladwig, Derrick Delmore, Ben Miller, Tiffany Vise, Amber Corwin, Kim Navarro, Brent Bommentre, Jay Yostanto, Anna Pearce and Josh Santillan. The skaters mingled and posed for pictures, delighting their fans.

Susan Bonn, the chairman of the Memorial Fund, showed us the gift all the supporters received: a very pretty crystal pyramid paperweight.

On the farm

We hadn't seen Corwin for a long time, since the Cup of Russia in 2005.

"Johnny [Weir] just sent me a picture from that competition last night!" she said.

We asked what she's been up to since then.

"This week, I'm here as an athlete rep, making sure the athletes have all their needs taken care of," she said. "And, I'm supporting all my friends and fellow coaches and skaters. I'm also here to vote on the international committee, determining who goes to worlds, Four Continents and junior worlds."

Corwin told us that she has just left a corporate job at Saatchi & Saatchi after five years, and these days, she's enjoying the slower pace of life.

"I'm living in Palos Verdes now," she said. "We bought almost a farm. We're living on four and a half acres of land and just enjoying being home and gardening. My lifestyle has changed a bit!"


We stopped to chat with Ross Miner this morning in the gym while he was riding a stationary bike, warming up for the senior men's short program event Friday night. Yesterday was Miner's 22nd birthday; he almost always celebrates his birthday at the championships.

Or doesn't, as the case may be.

"Well ... It was fun when I was a novice and junior because I was done [competing] by my birthday," he said. "But now that I'm a senior, it's usually pretty tame. Last year was my 21st birthday, and Mark and Peter came up to me and told me 'Well, we know it's your birthday, but there's absolutely no partying on the plane.'"

More soon,
Sarah and Drew
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