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Lichtman & Copely's JGP Germany athlete diary

Getting a round of applause at the draw is rarely a good thing

icenetwork.com's intrepid athlete diarists Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely continue their editorial prowess at the JGP Germany.
icenetwork.com's intrepid athlete diarists Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely continue their editorial prowess at the JGP Germany. (Kitty DeLio)

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By Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely, special to icenetwork.com
(10/06/2010) - Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely blog from the Junior Grand Prix event in Dresden, Germany.

Tuesday, Oct. 5
For a change, our day of travel was fairly uneventful. After practicing at home on Monday, we left straight for the airport. Our flight was smooth, and once we got to Frankfurt, we met up with some of the other American skaters.

Since both of us did not really sleep on the first flight, we both passed out on the quick flight to Dresden. As always, we were thrilled that our skates and luggage showed up, and we boarded the bus to the hotel. The hotel is right in the middle of what is essentially an outdoor mall. WiFi at the hotel is expensive and slow, but the Starbucks just a few feet away has free WiFi that spans a good distance. I don't think any skaters have a problem with this, since everyone likes a good Starbucks.

We had a few hours to settle into our rooms, which are very clean and neat. At 6:30 a.m., everyone convened for the team dinner at an Italian restaurant right in the square. Eating there was an interesting experience, as each of us received a blank card at the beginning of the meal. Then, we went to the pizza, pasta and salad/appetizer stations and ordered our food. The card is placed up to the register, where it adds your balance to your card, and each person is given a buzzer. When the meal is ready, the buzzer goes off, or as the cook put it, "I will call you." Soon, we all had our delicious pizzas and pastas, and enjoyed getting to know each other some more. After a few announcements from our team leader, Kathleen, who is team leading for the first time and doing a great job, we all went back to our rooms. Everybody was very tired and I think most people enjoyed a long and good night's sleep.

Wednesday, Oct. 6
Charlotte started her day off at 11:00 p.m. She had gone to bed at 9:00 p.m., and was planning on waking up around 5:30 a.m. the next morning to get ready for practice. All of a sudden, she woke up, checked her phone, and it said 5:00, so she figured she'd get a head start on makeup and hair. She texted her mom to tell her she was awake, and spent about a half an hour getting ready, and waiting for a text back. Finally, when her mom texted back, Charlotte realized that it was indeed nighttime and she should probably go back to bed for about six more hours. This break in the middle of her sleeping must have made Charlotte very alert, as she woke up approximately five times after this, at intervals of about an hour.

After some breakfast and the bus ride, we arrived at the rink for our morning practice. The arena is a nice facility, with practice and competition rinks, and plenty of seating. Just like the hotel, the rink is clean and modern. We shared the ice with Alex and Daniel for our first practice, and everything went well for both teams. We will tell you more about our day later on!

Charlotte and Dean

Wednesday afternoon
After our first practice, we grabbed lunch and relaxed in our rooms for a bit. Then we had to head back to the rink, as the draw for the short dance was to take place before our second practice. Dean and I always switch off who does the draw, and it was my turn this time. I pulled out the chip, which seemed to be missing something; there was only a one on it. I tilted it to one side and the other, since it was probably an 11 or 17 or something. But it was a one, and as the tradition goes, everyone in the room applauded. When we sat back down, Dean and I were actually excited to be the ones to start the dance competition off.

After another warm up off the ice, we had our first main rink practice. It was nice to skate on a bigger ice surface and try to fill out the arena. Our team doctor, Peter Gerbino, once again was in our stand-in for Igor and did a fantastic job. We went back to the hotel to have some dinner with Ricky, Christina, Felicia, Danielle, and Alex. At the conclusion of the meal, some of us decided that we needed a healthy after-dinner treat. About six blocks from the hotel, just past the beautifully rebuilt church, we stumbled across a very fancy McDonalds. Being the skaters that we are, we obviously chose the best options on the menu: cheesecake, cupcakes and McFlurries. We soon headed back to the hotel, since three of the four competitions began the next day.

Charlotte and Dean

Thursday, Oct. 7
Today, we dancers got to sleep in just about as late as we wanted to, since our respective practices were not until 1:00 p.m. and 1:35 p.m. My wonderful roommate, Morgan Sowa, did a great job of not waking me up, which I very much appreciated!

After some breakfast and another bus ride, it was time for our one and only practice of the day. Dean and I were very happy to see Igor there safe and sound, with his ever-present smile (and half-shaven face due to a lack of time). Unfortunately, we just missed both of the American ladies, but Christina and Felicia did a nice job and sit in second and fifth, respectively.

The rest of the afternoon was wide open, so exploring some of the town was a must. Dean found a kiosk with Chinese food and was able to communicate his order via clucking and flapping his arms. I, on the other hand, missed the lunch in the hotel, so my mom took me to the same restaurant from the team dinner for a yummy pizza. She was able to show me some of the fabulous shopping in the square, and I already bought a few items of clothing on sale. The fashion in Europe is sublime, and I hope to do some more shopping later in the week.

We did not have time to see the pairs, since the competitions were spread out the entire day, but they all had a nice showing, especially considering the fact that this was the first Junior Grand Prix for both "Morgan" teams. The men's event began at 6:30 p.m., so Dean and I took the 6:30 p.m. bus to make it in time to view Ricky's short program. He skated fourth, so we left plenty of time to get there. He skated very well, attacking his Spanish-themed program with his speedy spins and a Level 4 twizzle sequence integrated into his diagonal footwork! We felt that we had been at the rink for too long, so we caught the 7:00 p.m. bus with the pairs and ladies. Since we have an early practice tomorrow morning, we are off to bed soon to be well rested for short dance!

Charlotte and Dean

Friday, Oct. 8

Dean
The competition is well underway. The ladies, men's and pairs did their short programs on Thursday and the reality is starting to set in. This is going to be my last Junior Grand Prix... ever.

Since my birthday is after July 1st, I'm able to compete at the age of 21. Ricky and I have been in the circuit since 2007 and it's bittersweet to see it coming to an end. Of course this means it's just the beginning and there are bigger, better things to come. I will miss seeing the pure joy and wonder in the faces of teammates who have never left the country and seen practically alien worlds. Senior internationals are stocked with experienced world travelers and medalists who we've been watching on T.V. for years and I assume it's a much more focused crowd.

Pairs and ladies concluded today, leaving the men's and dance for Saturday. The U.S. pairs teams skated their hearts out and learned a lot from their experiences here in Dresden. Christina and Felica both skated nicely and most of the U.S. team was there to cheer them on. A.J. taught us a lot of phrases on the bus coming back from ladies in many different languages. He was a major source of entertainment for everyone on the bus.

I'm so happy we had such a fun team at both of our JGPs this year and I hope the future holds many more fun experiences!

Charlotte
After being at the rink since 6:30 a.m. in the morning, I was quite ready for a nice lunch. Since the hotel lunch had already closed, Dean and I went to the Italian place and I got the pasta special that my mom had enjoyed earlier. As my favorite Christmas movie is Elf, I was thrilled to follow in Buddy the Elf's footsteps by eating syrup, one of the main food groups, on my meal. It was absolutely delicious!

Afterward, I spent some time hanging with Morgan and Brynn, before making a Starbucks trip. This sufficiently completed the sugar high, and we headed over to see some great ladies skating. Great job to Felicia and Christina! Dresden has been a lot of fun, and I am glad there is still one more day left to enjoy!