The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Jan. 27

Abbott shows off a new accessory; face masks all the rage

Jeremy Abbott shows off his new earring.
Jeremy Abbott shows off his new earring. (Sarah S. Brannen)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(01/27/2011) - Jeremy Abbott brought us Starbucks this morning, and we got our first look at his new earring.

"I got it on tour -- if I ever get tired of it I can take it out and the hole will close up again. I'm not a big piercing person, but a cartilage one is the only one I would consider. But never say never!"

Abbott arrived last night, a day later than most of the senior men. He said it was normal for him though, one day to practice, one day to compete, just like on the Grand Prix. Before Abbott hurried off to practice, we made him show off his earring to us, in an intricate photo shoot, posing with all the Starbucks cups at once.

"Sorry to like, vogue and run!" he said as ran out the door.

Spotted yesterday wearing face-masks, among many others, were Ashley Wagner and Sean Rabbitt. Is this the latest nationals fashion must-have? Hardly. Wagner and Rabbitt, who both have the flu, were actually just trying to prevent spreading the virus. Rabbitt got intravenous fluids in the morning and was feeling better by the afternoon. He practiced his Michael Jackson short program in an official This Is It shirt, produced for the concert tour but never sold after the death of the pop star. The shirt was given to Rabbitt by a friend of Themi Leftheris in Los Angeles. A friend with connections!

Rabbitt had brought homemade chicken soup for Wagner and her coach Priscilla Hill, so we're sure everyone will feel better today. U.S. Figure Skating sent out a memo reminding everyone to use hand sanitizer.

Barbie Girl
We ran into a very bubbly Barbie Long (another great name!), who won the silver medal in novice ladies, at the dollar store at the mall next to the hotel. She was looking for stuffed animals to throw to Lauren Dinh at the junior ladies competition last night. Long and Dinh are good friends, as are their coaches. Unfortunately, the dollar store had about everything else in the world except stuffed animals. So we suggested various other things we found in the store that she might throw on the ice: a loofah, a hula hoop, maybe a broom? After laughing at the thought of what these items might look like flying through the air on to the ice, she settled on a pink winter hat, a pair of gloves and a giant pink bouncy ball. Congratulations to Long and Dinh, who are now, respectively, the novice and junior ladies silver medalists!

More champions
Ana Draovitch, Jason Brown and Rachael Flatt were given "Champions in Life" awards on Tuesday by the president of the Grassroots to Champions program, Audrey Weisiger. Brown wasn't able to be present at the informal ceremony, so he wasn't informed of the award until last night. Ryan Bradley helped Weisiger present the awards to Draovitch and Flatt.

The Champions In Life Award is given each year to an athlete that has been a participant in a Grassroots to Champions program and who exemplifies excellence in sport, academics and community service.

Tara and Michelle
We were having dinner with Alexander Johnson when Tara Lipinski walked by. Johnson told us that when he was seven, he had wanted to stay up and watch Lipinski and Michelle Kwan compete at the 1998 Olympics, but his parents said he had to go to bed. Undaunted, and disobedient, he snuck out into the hall and lay on the floor, where he could just see the TV past the couch. He let out a cheer when Lipinski won the gold medal, though, and got caught.

Bus stories
We seem to spend a lot of time on the bus to and from the arena. Wednesday's companion was Jason Wong, who does a lot of coaching when he isn't training. He said that at the Mid-Atlantics competition he actually put a couple of students (Jessica Lin and Heidi Munger) on the ice while he was wearing his long program costume, ready to compete minutes later.

"I put on one skate while I was coaching them," he said, "Hobbled across the rink, put on the other skate, and thirty seconds later I was on the ice!"

Brittney Bottoms
We've had a withdrawal from the best-dressed competition due to injury. Last year's winner, Brittany Bottoms, broke her foot in a car accident a week ago on Wednesday, and she is therefore unable to wear heels.

"I tried to wear boots, but I kept slipping," Bottoms told us as she showed off her luscious red toenails. "At least I got a half-price pedicure...and a prayer!"

Bottoms is gamely attending the whole competition anyway, on crutches, and looking very elegant from the waist up.

We're watching the senior men practice right now -- lots of quads! -- and looking forward to senior pairs and ladies later. See you tomorrow!

Sarah and Drew
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