Hope everyone had a great 4th of July that included barbeque and fireworks! This morning, I sat down to review the lineups for the 2008 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The Grand Prix is a series of international invitational competitions organized by the International Skating Union (ISU) where skaters compete in singles (ladies and men's), pairs and ice dancing. Currently, the sanctioned competitions for the Grand Prix are Skate America, Skate Canada International, Cup of China, Trophée Eric Bompard (France), Cup of Russia and the NHK Trophy (Japan). The series ends with the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, which features the top six skaters/teams from the six competitions. The Final will be held in Seoul, South Korea. In mid-June, the ISU and U.S. Figure Skating announced the skaters participating in the Grand Prix.
Rachael Flatt (see right), the 2008 World Junior Champion and silver medalist at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the senior level, will be competing in two Grand Prix events: Skate America and Cup of Russia. I was excited to see that Rachael will be at Skate America, along with teammates Mirai Nagasu and Kimmie Meissner. To me, that is an incredibly strong team that is representing the U.S. I remember when Rachael won silver at Nationals and people, including myself, were asking, "Where did she come from?" When I interviewed Caryn Kadavy for a "Catching up" piece, she mentioned Rachael as a skater with the "born to skate," musical style that Caryn loves to see in skaters.
At the 2008 World Junior Championships, Rachael was third after the short program. She skated a brilliant long program to Romantic Rhapsody by Andre Mathieu to take the title. Watching Rachael skate below, the word "serene" always pops into my mind. Wouldn't you agree?