October 24, 2008 – Are you ready for some figure skating? Skate America, the first major competition of the season, begins today in Everett, Washington.
It looks to be a tough contest for the women. Reigning U.S. champion Mirai Nagasu will be participating in the event, along with reigning World Junior champion Rachael Flatt and Skate America defending champion Kimmie Meissner.
How do the particpants stack up?
Nagasu, who won the U.S. women’s title earlier this year at the tender age of 14, will make her debut at the senior level. The skater grew over the summer from 4-foot-11 to 5-foot-2 and is still getting accustomed to her new height.
Meissner burst onto the scene in 2005 when she became only the second American woman to land a triple Axel in competition. A year later, she surprised just about everyone by winning the world title. After a season of competitive flops, the defending champion has a new coach and a newly hopeful attitude and she’s clearly out to reclaim glory.
Sixteen year old Rachael Flatt juggles training, competition and high school, while excelling in every area. For Flatt, multitasking is a way of life. The competition at Skate America is so strong Flatt should get an immediate sense of where she stands internationally.
The field also includes 2007 world champion Miki Ando of Japan, and two-time Grand Prix Final winner Kim Yu-Na of South Korea.
The significance of Skate America goes far beyond being the opener of the annual six-event Grand Prix series. This year, it will be the first step to the world championships; the result of the world championships will determine the number of entries countries can send to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics; and the Winter Games…well you get the idea.
“The road is short. One hundred and twenty miles and sixteen months is all that separates the 2008 Skate America competitors from 2010. Be a part of this drama as the world’s elite skaters compete to establish supremacy on their way to the next Winter Olympics.”
The women’s short program is at 7 p.m. Saturday. The competition gets under way with pairs and the men’s short program tonight. For more information, visit 2008skateamerica.com.