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Champs Camp Team Building

29 Aug

On Friday at Champs Camp, Team USA participated in the annual team building event. This year, the athletes were divided into four groups without any knowledge of their task. After being assigned an area of the gym and selecting a piece of music, the athletes discovered they would be creating 90-second routines using one of four implements, medicine balls, jump ropes, hula hoops or ribbons, used in rhythmic gymnastics. Here are the videos:

First Place – Team Rope

Team Ribbons

Team Hoop

Team Balls

Photo Slideshow (Photos thanks to Peter Zapalo)

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Champs Camp Nuggets: Day Two

24 Aug

Here are a few more Champs Camp nuggets.


Michelle Kwan was the keynote speaker at Champs Camp on Tuesday and throughout her speech, it was obvious that Caroline Zhang and Kwan had a close relationship as she was mentioned a few times during the night. Zhang, the 2012 U.S. pewter medalist, is coached by Karen Kwan, the older sister of Michelle, and the two trained at the same rink.

“Michelle is a great person to look up to,” Zhang said. “She’s definitely given me advice on my skating and I hope to be able to take her words to heart and work with it.”

Sister Act

Gracie Gold, the 2012 U.S. junior champion, is experiencing her first Champs Camp before her debut on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Gold, 17, has a twin sister Carly who is also a figure skater, and the two are nearly inseparable.

“We have such a good relationship,” Gracie Gold said. “We are each other’s best friends and we have each other’s back for everything. We are really close with everything we do.”

Gracie and Carly are self-proclaimed “sushi fanatics.” Gracie was able to experience some of the finest sushi the world had to offer last year at the World Team Trophy in Japan, and promised Carly that the next time she goes to Japan, she’s coming with her.

Rookie and a Vet

While Mark Ladwig will begin his seventh season on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, his new partner, Lindsay Davis, will be a rookie. After competing at 2012 NHK Trophy in Japan this fall, Ladwig will have competed at all six of the events on the series. Davis, however, is just excited to be there for the first time and have the ability to travel the world.

The new team, which formed in May, will have two assignments on the Grand Prix Series this year, with the second being Skate Canada. Ladwig is optimistic.

“Lindsay has a lot of experience, I have a lot of experience and we are combining the best of both worlds to make something that’s new,” he said. “Pairs is a partnership, and the partnership I find in Lindsay is that she is an amazing person both on and off the ice.”

Champs Camp: Day 1 Nuggets

23 Aug

Here are some nuggets from day 1 of Champs Camp

Weir Shows his ‘Poker Face’

Away from competitive skating for two seasons, three-time U.S. champion and World medalist Johnny Weir is back. Although Weir promised a more “classic Johnny, very pretty with classical music” program for his free skate, he admitted he is going to push the envelope with his short program.

“My short program is ’Poker Face‘ by Lady Gaga, and Gaga herself actually gave me the piece of music so I was very excited about that,” Weir said. “Even if she’s not crazy tweeting about me all the time, her and her family wanted to support my comeback and what better way than to use her music.”

Sister, Sister

The ice dancing duo of Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are taking in everything they can at Champs Camp and enjoying the experience. The duo was the final addition to the Grand Prix Series as they were named to Skate America on August 10, and they found out through an unconventional mean.

“We found out through Twitter,” Cannuscio said. “And when we saw we were invited to Skate America, I screamed.”

Cannuscio’s sister, Isabella, competed at Skate America last year and her experience in 2011 has been great for Anastasia this season.

“Since Isabella got to go to Champs Camp two years ago and Skate America last year I have been asking her what it’s like and what we get to do,” Cannuscio said. “It’s nice having her there for advice because I like to ask a lot of things before I go somewhere so I know what to expect.”

Happy Birthday to…Both of You!

Although they have been skating together since 2006, the pairs team of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir have a connection that dates back to their births. The 2009 World Junior bronze medalists both celebrated their birthdays on August 20, as Marissa turned 22 and Simon 25. Some years though, having their birthday on the same day is more fun than others.

“This year we spent our birthday on a plane (to Champs Camp) sadly,” Shnapir said.

“Last year we had to do the Cranberry Open on our birthday and it was fun because all the judges stood up and sang to us. We always enjoy having our birthday around this time though because we get to see all of our friends at competitions.” Castelli added.

No Longer a Rookie

Last year, Douglas Razzano was a rookie on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series as a late entry to Skate America. Razzano was added to the roster for 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America on October 14 and performed his short program just seven days later. Although rushed, Razzano says he wants to take that same spontaneous mentality into his Skate America assignment this year.

“Last year was almost so spontaneous that there wasn’t any time to really stress out or have it get in my head,” Razzano said. “This year, I really want to pace myself and take my time and it’ll be what it’ll be, but I hope it’s good.”

Finishing 15th in 2010, Razzano has improved upon his finishes at the U.S. Championships by five positions each of the last two years, finishing fifth in 2012, and credits changes he made as the reason for the results.

“A few years ago I made a lot of changes and I am glad to finally see them pay off,” he said. “We are very resistant to change, we find something that works and we don’t usually like to stray away from that, but I took a big leap, did things a bit different and I am really glad to see it pay off.”


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