Ice Network

Carreira composes blog from birthplace of Mozart

Salzburg, Austria, provides backdrop for U.S. ice dancer's season debut
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Members of Team USA sit down for a relaxing dinner. -Christina Carreira

Team USA ice dancer Christina Carreira is competing at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Salzburg, Austria, this week. She is keeping a blog for icenetwork.

Sunday, Sept. 3

The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies, and one that was always on in my house during the Christmas season. Luckily for us, my mom reserved us tickets for The Sound of Music tour, which was extra special this week since the movie was filmed right here in Salzburg. The weather wasn't very nice -- it was raining most of the time -- but it was still very interesting to visit these venues. We even discovered the lake and mountain region, and sang the whole soundtrack on the bus. Our guide was a sweet and kind Austrian lady, who, ironically enough, was also named Christina! If you ever go to Salzburg, this tour is a must!

After the tour, we went to the rink to watch the last warm up of the men's event and to cheer for Ryan [Dunk] and Camden [Pulkinen]. A bird came out of nowhere as Ryan was in the last minute of his program, and it was actually scary to see the bird getting so close to him as he was doing his final spin. Luckily for Team USA, Ryan placed ninth, while Camden earned the gold medal with two stellar programs.

Once the event was over, we enjoyed dinner with Anthony's aunt Maria, his uncle Dimitri, and his young cousin, Denis. We went into town and ate in a typical Austrian restaurant. After dinner, we took a group picture with costumes which dated back to the early 1900s. The photographer, however, took her role very seriously, and I don't think she appreciated our nonchalant style.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and caught the final ladies group. For those of you who follow the JGP circuit, you know that the ladies field is really strong. Angelina [Huang] moved from 18th after the short program to 10th overall, while Starr [Andrews] finished fifth in the final standings.

All around, it was a great competition for Team USA. Tonight, we have a party at the hotel before flying back to the United States at 5 a.m.

It's been a pleasure blogging for icenetwork.

From Salzburg,

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

Saturday, Sept. 2

Guten abend!

Well, it's Saturday, and let me tell you, the day the free dance took place was an exhausting one! Our practice took place some 12 hours before our competition even began. In the meantime, the ladies completed the short program, and my roommate, Starr Andrews, skated a clean program to finish fourth. It was amazing to see how strong she looked, and most importantly, it was a great start for Team USA!

When it was time for the ice dance to begin, Luca [Becker] and Isabella [Amoia] delivered a great free dance to finish eighth overall. It was a nice start for the new couple. Anthony and I had a good free dance, and while we're very pleased with first place, we still have much to work on. It was also nice that Anthony's aunt came all the way from Munich to see us, especially since the last time she saw Anthony he was only five.

Once we were done, Anthony and I headed down to the hotel restaurant and treated ourselves to some delicious wiener schnitzels, one of the specialties of Austrian cuisine and a national dish.

Shortly after eating, it was time for bed in order to prepare for the final day of the competition.

Friday, Sept. 1

Time is flying by...we just realized that today (Thursday) is the short dance competition!

Our day started really early. We left the hotel at 6:30 a.m. The bus ride to the rink can range anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour, depending on which way the driver decides to go -- either the scenic route or the fast one!

Practice was good. Once it was done, we tried to rush to get the bus but missed it by a few seconds. We then decided to look for a taxi, but I think it was rush hour in Salzburg, so no one wanted to pick us up! After a good 20-minute walk, we finally found a taxi and headed back to the hotel. My roommate, Starr [Andrews], was at practice, so I took a nice two-hour nap...it felt really good.

Nap done, I ate lunch. Then it was time to get ready for the competition. I did my hair and makeup, and headed back to the rink.

Luca [Becker] and Isabella [Amoia] opened the short dance. For their first JGP, they skated really well and finished ninth.

Our short dance didn't quite go as planned. We had a strong start, getting Level 4's on both sections of our cha cha, but then in the twizzles, I leaned in the circle too much and caught an edge and went down. I was pretty upset, but I know I'll do them better tomorrow. I got up as fast as I could and kept going and tried to get as many points as I could during the rest of the program. That's what competing is all about. Sometimes, everything goes to plan, and other times they don't, and you need to take the experience and grow from it and get stronger.

The men's short was next, and Team USA did very well. Camden [Pulkinen] is in first place, and Ryan [Dunk] is in fifth.

After the event, we went back to the hotel and had dinner with Luca, Isabella, Starr, Angelina [Huang] and Anthony [Ponomarenko].

That's it for today. Now it's time to get some rest!

PS - I want to wish a very happy birthday to Alexei Kiliakov!

Thursday, Aug. 31

Last night was a really busy night. I woke up at 1 a.m., only to realize that I couldn't find my phone. After looking for an hour, Starr [Andrews] and I went back to sleep. Since there wasn't much to do once we woke up at 4 a.m., we began the search for my phone again. Luckily, I found the phone in Starr's bed, although I'm not sure how it got there!

With only one rink in Salzburg, the skaters were only able to partake in one practice session, with the ladies practicing in the morning and the ice dancers going shortly thereafter. It was a bit of a struggle to find our legs, but overall, the practice was good for everyone.

After practice, we spent the afternoon in the town center, and let me tell you, Salzburg is absolutely breathtaking! The little streets are adorable, and there are beautiful churches and castles surrounded by the Alps, which almost seem like they're protecting the city. After sharing an apple strudel at the Hohensalzburg Fortress' restaurant, we went back to the hotel to prepare for the competition draw, which took place in a building close to the rink.

Gute natch from Salzburg!

Wednesday, Aug. 30

Hi, everyone!

I will be blogging for icenetwork on the second stop of the JGP Series from Salzburg, Austria. Unfortunately, there will be no pictures with koalas or kangaroos here (shout-out to Chloe Lewis).

We can all admit that this JGP is a little less exotic than the Australian one last week. All Team USA members flew to Munich, Germany, on a different flight schedule. Once everybody arrived, we hopped on a small bus and took a three-hour ride from Munich to Salzburg.

Salzburg is the city of Mozart, a city well-known for his music festival. As you might know, it's also where the movie The Sound of Music was filmed. Hopefully, in between practices and competition, we will have time to tour some of the beautiful places in town.

As usual on the first day, we had a team meeting and then we all went for dinner.

Now it's time to get some rest...

"The sun has gone to bed and so must I.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!"