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Madison Hubbell's worlds blog: Bonjour from Nice

U.S. ice dancer chronicles her week at the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships

Madison Hubbell, seen here with skating partner Zach Donohue (second from left) and coaches Pasquale Camerlengo (right) and Massimo Scali, is ecstatic to be competing at her first world championships.
Madison Hubbell, seen here with skating partner Zach Donohue (second from left) and coaches Pasquale Camerlengo (right) and Massimo Scali, is ecstatic to be competing at her first world championships. (Jodi Levinson)

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By Madison Hubbell, special to icenetwork.com
(03/26/2012) - U.S. ice dancer Madison Hubbell is blogging this week from the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships from Nice, France.

Friday, March 30

Hey everyone! I am back after a whirlwind 24 hours. The dancers finished last night with the most electrifying free dance event I have seen live. The crowd did not disappoint in the way of enthusiasm, especially when Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat took the ice. The crowd nearly drowned out the music through the whole 4:00 program.

Now my season is over, and I have three days off in Nice. Zach and I spent most of our day with Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, roaming the streets surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. We stopped by the grocery to get a fresh baguette and sat together on a park bench for a snack. In true tourist fashion, Kaitlyn tried to feed what she believed to be an injured pigeon. When a heartier pigeon tried to steal from the injured pigeon, she even yelled out, "Don't steal it!"

Needless to say, we were flagged as the crazy people, especially when the two dozen nearby pigeons came over for a taste.

We stopped by the rink for the men's short. Michal Brezina was one of the only skaters to perform a clean short program, and on his birthday nonetheless.

Tonight, I think we will be finding a discotheque so that we can show off our dance moves. Don't worry, Mom, we will be careful! We are hoping to go to Monaco tomorrow, and that will give me plenty of things to write about. Au revoir! Bonne nuit! Xx

Wednesday, March 28

It is Wednesday here in Nice, and the short competitions kick off today with pairs and dance. When we arrived, it seemed like the beautiful scenery and sunshine had everyone in a more relaxed mood than at the usual championship event. I found myself wondering if that same lightness could last through the week. The answer seems to be no. While everyone is in good spirits, there is the palpable buzz of anxiety in the air.

I was happy that my schedule allowed me to watch the American pairs teams compete. Both teams put out great performances, and hearing the crowd reaction got me really excited for my turn to skate.

The dance event started tonight with the Latin short dance. The event was a little messy, but I felt like everyone fought until the last second. The consensus in the locker room was that the crowd's energy really helped everyone get through, and we were all thankful for that. All of my friends from Detroit Skating Club skated great, and I am SO proud of our Australian team (Danielle O'Brien and Gregory Merriman) for making the cut for the free dance!

I didn't get to go out at all today, so I don't have anything new to say about the city. But I must be doing an OK job filling people in with my blog, since my mother has only emailed me once since I got here, which is surprisingly sad. I guess they are right: You never know what you've got 'til it's gone! (Hey, ma! If you didn't get the hint, email me!!!)

Bye for now!

Monday, March 26

Bonjour! The competition is under way, with the pairs and dance preliminary rounds happening today. If I was home right now, I would have a serious case of the Mondays. Instead I am in beautiful Nice, the sun is shining and both of our training mates qualified for the short dance. I was so happy for Australians Danielle O'Brien and Gregory Merriman, who placed eighth today after they missed qualifying last year due to a mistake. This year, they were able to qualify even when Greg's blade broke off his heel for the last minute of his program. I suppose they injected the necessary drama into the dance event. Lorenza Alessandrini and Simone Vaturi placed seventh today, despite a shaky performance. But with brand new programs, they were able to use the qualifying round to get any kinks out. The spectating Detroit Skating Club dancers were well dressed in the stands, sporting our custom "Made in Detroit" shirts.

For Team USA, today was just a practice day, and the men will be arriving into Nice tomorrow morning. As for sightseeing, we spent most of the day inside, other than a quick trip to the grocery. I have all day tomorrow to walk and explore before our practice at 8, so I will be on the lookout for good blog info! Last but not least ... Happy Birthday to my cousin Christian Bourdo, who is turning 16 today! I can't wait to see you all in June! Au revoir!

Sunday, March 25

Hello, readers, and welcome to worlds 2012! I hope you all enjoy my blog, and that for my friends and family who cannot be here, this will be a way to feel close.

I arrived in Nice this morning and was taken aback by the gorgeous views from my airplane window. (Yes, I was one of those obvious tourists with her nose stuck to the window on our descent into Nice.) I had looked up pictures before coming, but nothing compares to being here.

Since we flew through the night, we arrived tired but had to fight the urge to sleep through the day, so Zach and I set off to walk toward the sea with Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje, Danielle O'Brien and Greg Merriman. For anyone who has been to a skating event, they know how long it takes to accomplish anything on the first day. This is because every 20 steps you run into someone you haven't seen in a while, and you to stop to say hello. For the skaters, big championship events are like a family reunion, seeing the skaters you have grown up competing against and traveling with. For parents, or at least mine, this can be one of the longest days ever. A simple bite to eat can take hours, and the parents are along for the ride, inevitably walking away from the pit stops asking, "Now, who was that?"

We spent most of the day walking, making mental notes of the nearest "8 a Huit" groceries and the best coffee! Luckily for addicts such as myself, the cafe across the street from the athletes hotel makes a delicious cappuccino! In fact, that may be my first stop tomorrow before practice!

It is reaching 9:00 p.m now, and as the day winds down, so does my resolve to keep my eyes open. Tomorrow, Team USA starts practices, and the skaters from Detroit Skating Club will be cheering for our friends in the qualifying round.

Talk to you tomorrow! Bonne nuit!