Uniondale, N.Y.,
1998 Goodwill Games

Uniondale, New York was the site of the 1998 Goodwill Games featuring a diversity of sports ranging from swimming, basketball, gymnastics, track and field and of course figure skating. This summer time competition was indeed a "cool treat" in the heat of summer watching some of our favorite skaters from this past season.

Nassau Coliseum was the venue for the figure skating event, which was well attended by locals and visitors from all over the United States including TBS owner Ted Turner and actress Jane Fonda. The U.S. Team was headlined by Michelle Kwan current World Ladies Champion and Todd Eldredge current Worlds Men's Silver Medallist. U.S. Junior World's Champion Timothy Gobel, U.S. Team member Angela Ninkodinov, National Silver Dance Medallist Jessica Joseph and Charles Butler, and the brother sister pair team of Johnnie and Tiffany Steigler.

It indeed was wonderful to cheer on our U.S. team to victory as Todd Eldredge with his wonderful edges, spins, and jumps skated to win the Men's title. How proud and exciting for him to win this title with a very appreciative audience, and complete his set of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals from the Goodwill Games! It was fun to watch him skate with his oversized check. Gee, where did he pack that? Alexei Urmanov from Russia made a comeback from a year's absence due to injury. Alexei skated in good form and captured the silver medal. Tim Goebel thrilled the audience with his quad and certainly will bring the men's team into the next millenium and to the 2002 Olympics.

Michelle Kwan was elegant, graceful, beautiful, and personified art of the sport. It indeed is a pleasure to watch her expressions on the ice. Michelle was presented her Gold Medal by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and his wife Rosalyn who also got a rounding ovation as they walked onto the ice. Maria Butryska from Russia was second and Russian Victoria Volchkova was third in the ladies event Angela Nicodinov will be one skater to continue in the Ladies event and we look forward to her skating into the new millenium.

Russian Olympic Silver Medalists, Elena Bereznaia and Anton Sikharulidze captured the Pairs event while Olympic Gold Medalists Artur Demitriev and Oskana Kazakova the silver. The Polish tema of Dorota Zagorska and Mariusz Siudek placed third. U.S. pair team Tiffany and Johnnie Stiegler won the audience hearts and support and they will be our "future for pairs" on the road to 2002 Winter Olympics.

Ice dancing was dominated by the Russians, with Angelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov, champions as they thrilled the audience with her expressions and passion for dance. Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh took the silver while Ukranians Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov took the bronze. Americans, Jessica Joseph and Charles Butler got a round of applause as they jived to "Great Balls of Fire". Look out for this young team to represent us in further competitions.

Silver Blade Tours Inc. tour participants stayed at the "Official Hotel" the Long Island Marriot, where we not only saw skaters in the lobby but swimmers from different countries. The lobby was a hub of fans meeting and talking over the day's events or in the lounge dancing the night away. It was great to see a repeat performance of the night's competition on big screen television. We started off our day with a terrific breakfast buffet, complete with chef making our omelets and waffles to order. Oh that luxury!

While the events were held at night our days were free to explore the "Big Apple", New York City. We traveled by train to Manhattan to take the city by subway, bus and boat. ft was great to see the New York skyline and wonderful to sail by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We walked all over experiencing the sights, sounds, and traffic of the everyday life of a busy New York. By bus, we were able to see all the sights, Wall Street Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Time Square. Time Square is so incredible with its huge animated billboards, people and of course Lindy's where we ate their "world famous cheesecake".

One highlight besides seeing our favorite skaters was being part of the "Today Show" crowd. We were there bright and early at 5:00 in the morning with only minimum sleep as we were up late designing our "posters" to be visible for television and visible we were with at least six great shots of Kelly, Ten, Melissa and me. The excitement was incredible as we "braved the rain" pouring down on us as Neil Sedaka was rehearsing his song "Laughter in the rain" which we all sang along too. We guarded our posters from the deluge and when the Today Show went "Live" the rain let up.. We all were excited to have Al Roker, Ann Curry, Jody Applegate, by to talk and sign our posters and yes ladies, Man La uer looks better in person. Of course, Kelly and I caught the "Today Show Eggs" and had a blast as we all danced and sang to the medley of songs by Neil Sedaka.

What a great way to stay "cool" in the middle of summer watching the Goodwill Games!

Silver Blade Tours, Inc.
"The Skating Tour Experts"
Claudyne Cassella Hutchinson
2672 Flowing Well Road, DeLand, FL 32720-8903 USA
Tel. (386) 943-4071 - Fax: (386) 738-2512
Experience the Thrill and Excitement of Live Competition!
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