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2016 World Championships

Backstage in Boston I

by Liz Leamy


(31 March 2016)  Worlds are well underway here in Boston and they are everything anyone might well imagine it to be.

The athletes, coaches, officials and media members are here in tow from all over the world and the TD Garden is bursting with energy and activity in every way imaginable.

There are people speaking all sorts of languages ranging from Japanese, Russian, German, French and Korean who are all around the arena and its vicinity, making this Worlds a most fascinating experience in all respects, especially considering that it is being held in the quintessential American historic epicenter of Boston, Massachusetts.

The cornucopia/mix of people representing so many different nationalities around the globe in tandem with the combination of so many skating fans and community members from all over the country, particularly the Eastern seaboard, have made for a dynamic that is electric, really.

The afternoon today, for example, started with the ladies short program and the contenders did anything but disappoint.

These ladies represented of course, all of the five continents, representing countries such as Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei and Armenia, among other countries and were all amazing.

They had excellent jumps that were defined by terrific height, tight air position and substantial length. The program themes were engaging and centered around such storylines as the ‘Anastasia’ film score, classic ballets and more contemporary pieces such as Dionne Warwick’s song, ‘I’ll Say a Little Prayer for You’ and Michael Buble’s ‘I’m Feeling Good.’

The dresses were drop-dead gorgeous and made of bright jewel tones such as ruby red, sapphire blue, emerald green with stunning jewel accents.

In the end, it was the skater who delivered all the critical stuff of a champion, meaning all of the substance and the packaging, who wound up on top and today, that person happened to be America’s own Gracie Gold.

Gold, skating to ‘El Choclo,’ an arresting Spanish-oriented piece by Angel Villoldo, knocked out a triple lutz/triple toe, triple flip and double Axel with her inherent fire and power, bringing the audience to its feet at its conclusion.

Gold led the field followed by Anna Pogorilaya of Russia and Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, who were second and third, respectively.

Ashley Wagner of the U.S. was fourth and Mirai Nagasu, the talented American entry who stepped in for Polina Edmunds (and had suffered from a recent ankle injury) was 10th. Both Wagner and Nagasu skated clean, fabulous programs and as they did for Gold, this spirited crowd lit up and applauded like there was no tomorrow when they finished their programs.

Cut to the press conference where a cool and confident Gold handled media questions with ease and assurance, as did her podium cohorts.

“It was a really magical moment,” said Gold about her program. “I’m just so, so happy, excited and proud and I love being back at the TD Garden. I felt really supported and loved [out there].”

Gold, in front of a packed press audience, basically emanated so much of what seems to be happening here-an appreciation for being part of the magic of this lively, bustling New England city.

That, combined with the whole idea of being among so many enthusiastic and talented people committed to the whole wonderful sport of figure skating, is making this Worlds to be quite extraordinary, to say the least.

With that, let the free dance begin.

This ought to be another one to help ring in this main international event, that’s for sure.