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Figure skating competition draws thousands to NC

Posted January 30, 2011

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— The U.S. Figure Skating Championships drew hundreds of skaters and thousands of fans from across the nation to the Greensboro Coliseum Complex for a week of ice, lights and sparkle.

Rachael Wall, 9, has been skating for five years. She traveled all the way from Chicago with her mother, Susan, to catch all the action at the championships.

"We've seen the ladies, the senior ladies, the senior dance, the senior pairs, the senior men and some juniors," Rachael Wall said.

Her mother said the trip was well worth it.

"It's very exciting and she's so enthusiastic. A lot of the time we are here at 9 in the morning and are here until 11 o'clock at night because she wants to stay and watch. She really enjoys it," said Susan Wall.

Another mother-daughter pair from Hickory came to Sunday's events to watch the sport they've seen so many times on television.

"It's kind of surreal. You watch them on TV and hear the commentators, but you don't get to see them up close," said Chrys Tuttle, who gave her daughter Mikayla tickets to the championships for Christmas. "(We can) see their faces up close and hear their skates on the ice. It's a really cool experience."

Johnny Weir Gold medalist visits Greensboro to get fan fave award

Sunday was the final day of competition, with the Championship Mens Free Skate in the afternoon and the U.S. Champions Skating Spectacular at 7 p.m.

Evan Lysacek, 2010 Olympic gold medalist, is one of the all stars performing in the skating spectacular.

Johnny Weir, a three-time men's gold medalist at the competition, also dropped by the Coliseum Sunday to receive a special award, the 2010 Readers' Choice Award for Skater of the Year. Weir just released a memoir, has a hit single in Japan, is filming the second season of his reality show and is launching a clothing line.

He said this is the first time in 13 years that he hasn't competed at nationals.

"It's very strange to come back and not be competing," Weir said. "I'm used to being filled with such adrenaline, angst and aggression, and competition this time of year every year. So, it's strange. It's not so comfortable to sit and watch it. I want to be in there competing with these people."

Weir said he would compete again at the national competition, but he has not decided when he'll make his comeback to the sport.

5 Comments

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  • timbo10.0 Jan 31, 2:06 p.m.

    "Ice skating has it all over hockey for athleticism."

    It's not a sport. It's dancing on ice. Ballerinas are athletic too. Don't see them in the sports section.

  • NC Reader Jan 31, 12:31 p.m.

    Ice skating has it all over hockey for athleticism. A hockey player wouldn't last ten minutes trying to jump and spin on the ice. Few of them could lift an 100-pound woman over their heads with one hand while in a stationary position. Not one (unless he was a former pairs skater) could lift her and hold her in the air with one hand while spinning on ice skates. And what's with that wimpy hockey padding? Figure skaters fall constantly during practice (the pairs women sometimes fall from 5-6 feet above the ice), and they get up and keep going, without padding to protect them. Ask a professional hockey player who the real athletes are, and he'll tell you. I've heard them on TV. They are in awe of figure skaters.

    By the way, wxfreak, there were a lot of husbands at the competition with their wives and children. The ones I talked to were very knowledgeable about skating and glad to be there.

  • timbo10.0 Jan 31, 11:17 a.m.

    Amazingly, the N&O put an article about this in the Sports Section. How dumb. It belongs in the Arts Section. I would say Women's Section, but they got rid of that.

  • jdupree Jan 31, 10:07 a.m.

    Well if they had that many people attend, I am sure they really did not need the $47,000 they wanted from the local government.

  • wxfreak Jan 31, 8:25 a.m.

    Who decided it would be a good idea to schedule this event the same weekend as the NHL All Star only a short distance away? I guess the wives went to Greensboro and the husbands went to Raleigh