Postcard from Minneapolis, MN
Site of the 1998 World Figure Skating Championships

Dear Skating Friends,

Minneapolis, the "City of Waters" was the site of the 1998 World Figure Skating Championships. Silver Blade Tours, Inc. stayed at one of the "official press hotels," the Hyatt Regency at Nicollett Mall, conveniently located downtown. Tour participants began each day with a hearty buffet breakfast, and updated results of the Championships provided by the Local Organizing Committee.

We started our tour with a wonderful Italian Welcome Dinner at Pronto's Ristorante. Tour participants also received a welcome gift consisting of the Official Worlds Pin and a hand-carved wooden skate ornament. The Dolci Dessert platter featuring miniature deserts was a big hit and each table shared a number of platters of assorted sorbets and pastries. YUMMY!

Our special guest of the evening was two-time Olympian and ten-time Romanian Men's Champion Cornel Gheorge, my good friend and "adopted brother."

A morning sight seeing trip around Minneapolis and St. Paul included viewing the cities differences in architecture, the modern Minneapolis and the more traditional St. Paul, including the Metrodome, and the Minnehaha Falls. We all made a trip to the wonderful Mall of America and had a great time shopping and just browsing. The Target Center was accessible either by shuttle bus transfers or by walking the climate controlled skyways.

The venue was set, the press media seated, but where were all of the anticipated skaters? Pre World press releases confirmed that Tara Lipinski, Elvis StoYKo, Pasha Grishuk, and Evengy Platov, Philippe Candeloro, and Ilia Kulik, all Olympic medallists and champions, would not participate at Worlds. The surprises came just days prior to actual competition. Olympic Pair Gold Medallists, Artur Dmitriev and Oskana Kazakova could not compete due to Artur's getting food poisoning at a local restaurannt. The pairs competition saga continued with an injury to U.S. Pair champion Jason Dungjen from practice with partner Kyoko Ina, causing them to withdraw. U.S. Pairs Silver Medallists, Shelby Lyons and Brian Wells had 24-hours notice to fly to Minneapolis to compete. They had no time to undergo any pressure except to skate well and have fun, which they certainly did with a tenth place finish.

Honestly, the highlight of the whole World's competition were the performances of Todd Eldredge who made all Americans proud with his fine performance and a Silver Medal finish. Michelle Kwan's grace and beauty just flowed during her performance and captured her a second Ladies World's title.

(pictured above) Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat '98 World Bronze Medallists Ice Dance Team from France. Photo Jackie York.

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
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