Kiri Baga's JGP Czech Republic athlete diary

Blogging from the JGP stop in Ostrava

Kiri Baga is's athlete reporter in the field for this week's Junior Grand Prix series event in Ostrava.
Kiri Baga is's athlete reporter in the field for this week's Junior Grand Prix series event in Ostrava. (Michelle Harvath)


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By Kiri Baga, special to
(10/14/2010) - Kiri Baga blogs from the final stop on the Junior Grand Prix series -- Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Sunday, Oct. 17
Hi everyone!

It's the last day of our trip and right now I'm sitting next to Vanessa as we drive through the European countryside toward Prague.

(Wow! I never thought I would say that). It's 3:00 a.m. and we're all exhausted. Since I've been on the bus I've listened to "California Girls" and "Bad Romance;" they have a lot of American music here.

Anyway, it's funny because when you first get on the bus it's really loud, and before you know it everyone's asleep.

Yesterday, we all chose different ways to spend our last full day in Europe. Vanessa and her coach spent the day in the city center, Kylie and I were in Poland and if you were a dancer you really should have been competing your free dance. Joylyn and Jean-Luc finished in 10, and Anastasia and Jordan were eighth. Keegan skated a very good free last night, taking fourth place, and earning a trip to the JGP Final in Beijing!

After the competition was over, we walked back to our hotel to pack up and get ready for the team dinner, which we had at the hotel. It was really fun. We took tons of pictures, and there was even a chef that rocked out on the accordion.

After that I hung out with the team for a while and then went to bed. This trip has been exhausting, but also an experience I will never forget. Thanks for reading my blog!

Final Czechout,

Saturday, Oct. 16
Hey everyone!

It's day four of our trip. Once again, I missed a day. Sorry! Yesterday, Vanessa and I did the free skate. Vanessa rocked it and won! I wasn't crazy about how I skated, but I ended up fifth, which I'm alright with. When I got off the ice I was already thinking about my trip to sectionals, then I was told I made the JGP Final in China, which means I won't have to do sectionals.

The pairs competed too. Ashley and Josh skated great, ending up second, and grabbing a spot at the JGP Final also. Kylie and Colin were seventh, a good end to their first year on the JGP circuit, and Jessica and Zack skated a good long program to take 10th at their international debut here in Ostrava.

The ice dancers have free dance today, and Keegan will do his free skate. Right now, Keegan is in fourth, he had a mistake on his triple Axel, but fourth is a great place to be in. The dancers are in 10th and 11th, respectively.

After we were done competing in the evening, we watched the medalists in the awards ceremony, proudly standing for the U.S. national anthem as Vanessa received her medal. Later, we went back to the hotel to eat. I sat with some girls from my group. We talked about how our countries were different, and how we did school. We had fun trying the foreign dessert too (tiramisu ice cream). We didn't love it, but at least I tried something new! After that I met up with Ashley, Jessica and Kylie, and we watched a little foreign television and went to sleep.

It's now Saturday morning, and I'm in a cab headed to Auschwitz, in Poland. I'm sure it will be a moving experience. It's so cool how you can drive like 45 minutes and be in a whole new country in Europe! I'll update you tomorrow morning on how the dancers and Keegan end up. I've got a 2:45 a.m. bus! I'll definitely sleep on the plane. I've got a cold and I haven't been sleeping too well.


Thursday, Oct. 14
Hey everyone!

It's day two and the competition has begun. Ladies, men's and pairs started today. The dancers don't start until tomorrow. Vanessa skated very well, taking first. I skated decently, ending up third. We're totally satisfied. Go Team USA!

The morning was off to a quick start. I was up a lot during the night due to jet lag, and my alarm didn't go off! My coach was at a different hotel, so it took her a while to figure out I wasn't awake.

After she woke me, I had a half hour to get on the ice. I felt really bad about having overslept, but I truly couldn't have done anything about it. I ended up having a very good practice, and I did my best not to feel too guilty. With international travel, these things happen, and you really just have to learn how to get over it and not let it happen again. The situation isn't always ideal. Anyway, after practice, rest and competition, I ran to dinner and grabbed some food. The food here is very... different.

I'm watching pairs right now. Kylie and Colin skated well, they looked great in their bright orange costumes. Our two other teams still have to go. Keegan will skate later tonight. Free skate tomorrow!

Czeching out,

Wednesday, Oct. 13

It's day one of Team USA's trip here in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Once again, I'll be filling you in on the team's adventures abroad. The trip here was so tiring! Some of us had three fights, and a few others had two flights and then a four hour bus ride. I was so pumped because my ticket read "first class," from Prague to Ostrava. Turns out the only difference between first class and coach is that the seat is a slightly darker shade of blue.

We're all pretty psyched to be here. We have a big team this time: three pairs teams, two dance teams, two ladies and one man. I'm not going to lie to you, Ostrava isn't the most exciting city ever... It's quite the industrial town though!

The rink is a short walk from the hotel, and it's an awesome venue -- lots of seating and really nice locker rooms. I don't think I've been to a more confusing rink though. There's like 5 million hallways and 6 million signs. We've all gotten lost.

I really don't have many exciting stories to report. We all had our draw today. I drew 31, Vanessa Lam drew 20. As for the dancers, Joylyn Yang and Jean-Luc Baker skate seventh, and Anastasia Olson and Jordan Cowan skate eighth. For the pairs, Kylie Duarte and Colin Grafton are third, Jessica Noelle Calalang and Zack Sidhu are eighth and Ashley Cain and Joshua Reagan are 11. Keegan Messing is eighth.

During the draw I tried to strike up a conversation in Mandarin with the Chinese girl, and she actually understood me! With my minuscule vocab I told her "I like figure skating," she laughed and nodded and I was totally satisfied. Christina Gao, who's not on this trip but is an international competitor, wants me to try to make a Russian friend, I mean I do know three whole words. It's fun to try and talk to kids from other countries, but it can get kind of embarrassing.

I'm at dinner right now, ordering off of what they call the "childish" menu. They sell a side of chewing gum for the adult meals.

They also sell "chipsy Lays, with ketchup sticks," which are Lays potato chips. This is hilarious.

Anyways, I apologize for the lack of stories I have. I'm hoping I have more to tell tomorrow. The ladies, men and pairs all have short program tomorrow. I'm confident we'll rock it out.