Milan, Italy
Jan. 13-18, 1998
1998 European Figure Skating Championships

Dear Skating Friends,
The Filaforum in Milan, Italy was the sight of the 1998 European Figure Skating Championships. It was an exciting competition just weeks prior to the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.

I traveled to Milan the day after completing a week of hosting our tour to the 1998 Nationals in Philadelphia. How exciting it was to arrive in Milan and stay at one of the press hotels, the Forte Agip.

The Filaforum was conveniently located about ten minutes by bus and it was nice to see some familiar faces, namely world renown Charles White, photographer for many major figure skating publications such as Patinage, American Skating World and Skating Magazine, and Ron Scheurer, Journalist for the same publications. I was fortunate to be their "sidekick" for the whole week after gaining credentials from the U.S. Press. The competition took on a new perspective as I was able to see "behind the scenes" and attend press conferences where I met photographers and journalists.

It was wonderful to see most of the skaters who would be participating in the Olympics a few weeks away. The Russians dominated all the champion titles and most of the medal positions. Seeing the new European Champions such as Russia's men's champion Alexi Yagudin, Ladies Champions Maria Butyrskaya, Pairs Champions Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, and Dance Champions Pasha Grishuk and Evgeny Platov was exciting. I was also excited about seeing upcoming skating phenom, Eveni Plushenko of Russia. Look for him as a strong medal contender in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

A city sight seeing tour of Milan was a great way to view the impressive Duomo Cathedral with the Golden Madonna perched on top of the highest spire. The Duomo dominated the square and it was interesting to visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11 with espresso restaurants, shop and the finest and most exclusive shopping arcade in Italy. Nearby, you can order your favorite designer outfit from the Versace, Armani, Gucci, Valentino and Hermes to name a few. Other points of interest included the Arco della Pace Monument which was erected in honor of Napoleon, and La Scala the world's renowned Opera house.

(pictured above) Ron Scheurer, Charles White and Claudyne attend a gala dinner in Milan.

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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