1993 US Nationals

The following is the report I posted to the (now-defunct) Usenet newsgroup rec.skate immediately following the 1993 US Championships:

Well, I'm back from Phoenix and the US Nationals. I managed to come down with a terrible cold just before leaving and spent the entire week alternately coughing and sniffling and being spaced out on antihistimines, but had a good time nevertheless.

It looks like the results have already been posted by other people so I'll just mention some things that didn't show up on the TV.

First of all, the men's competition. It's really a shame that ABC didn't show Rudy Galindo or Michael Chack because they both skated very, very well in the long program. They'd both messed up their combinations in the technical program and didn't place high enough to make it into the final group. Anyway, Galindo hit *all* of his elements and got a standing ovation. He has a lot of really unique moves -- a beautiful layback spin, and a spiral with an almost 180 degree split, and the like -- and nice choreography and music too. He was so excited afterwards, jumping around and hugging his coach! Chack didn't quite skate clean but had a harder program to begin with, and it was also very nicely presented with classical music and choreography by Michael Siebert.

I should mention that Troy Goldstein also skated clean and got a standing ovation. Besides competing in the men's free skating, he was also in the men's figures, and skated with his sister Dawn in both the pairs and ice dance -- phew! They didn't place near the top in any of the events, but they put on great performances, clearly were enjoying themselves, and were consequently big favorites with the audience.

As to what happened to Todd Eldredge -- he took a really bad fall in practice Wednesday afternoon (just tripped over his toe picks while doing crossovers in warmup at the beginning of the session, went crashing into the boards, and limped off the ice). He was claiming all week that he wasn't injured, but I'm not sure I believe that.

The ladies' competition was, to put it bluntly, BORING. The overall technical level of the skating was quite low, and the only one who really skated a *program* with any enthusiasm or feeling to it was Lisa Ervin. (I was actually amazed at how well she skated because when I'd seen her in practice she hadn't been landing *any* of her triples, and she'd fallen in the technical program too.) Nancy Kerrigan appeared slow, tentative, and nervous (to the point where she was visibly shaking in parts of her routine), and just did not look very impressive to me.

The confusion about the placements happened because none of the skaters got a majority of votes for third place, and Lisa Ervin's scores changed how the tie between the others was broken. But frankly, I thought neither Harding, Kwiatkowski, nor Bobek skated as well as Michelle Kwan, who is only 12 years old but ended up 6th.

The story with the pairs is a bit of a soap opera. The bits and pieces I've gleaned are that, during the tour of champions last spring, Jenny Meno and Todd Sand fell in love and decided they wanted to skate together, dumping their previous partners (Scott Wendland and Natasha Kuchiki, respectively). Meanwhile, Urbanski and Marval went through a phase where they weren't speaking to each other and both tried skating with different partners before they decided to make up. Kuchiki competed in singles this year; she had a disastrous technical program (she fell twice) but came back and skated very nicely in the long program. Being in last place coming into it, though, she didn't really get the marks she deserved.

The dance competition seemed primarily to be a struggle for third place -- after the compulsory dances, there was a 3-way tie for third among Mayer & Breen, Punsalan & Swallow, and Webster & Kravette, and it was also very close in the original dance and free dance. BTW, there are actually a number of women who are now dancing with Russian partners -- the Russians can't afford to train in their own country, and the girls who've previously been having trouble finding partners are apparently just hiring these Russian guys to partner them!

Among the juniors, no doubt the best performance of the bunch came from the pairs champions, Stiegler and Travis. Their program was just wonderful, and I thought of better quality than any of the pairs in the championship division.

Well, that's about it...

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