Bodyguards, Apple TV's and Tomas at the Golden Skate Awards

Photos and Text © Daphne Heij


I actually had not planned to go to Milan for the Golden Skate Awards at all, but in the end I figured that the flight would be very cheap, a lot of my good friends would be there and there would be very good skating, so why not? With stars like Plushenko, Joubert, Lambiel, Shen/Zhao, Kostner, Arakawa and so many more, and it being so close, it’s hard for a skating fan like me to stay at home.

I came to Milan on Friday evening, had a great time in a Pizzeria but the first time I entered the ice rink was on Saturday afternoon.

I had my own personal “bodyguard” as I called him. In the email I got before the show it already said there would be someone who would “follow me inside”, but I didn’t think this would actually, literally happen!

I had to wait for him outside and when he finally found me there, he gave me my accreditation, my ticket and he smuggled me inside. He showed me my seat and we stood there for a while talking. I educated him about who was on the ice, what they won etc. My seat wasn’t exactly the best, but considering it was a free seat, I was content. It’s better to leave the really good seats to the fans anyway. After some chatting with my “bodyguard” I see a familiar person coming my way by the name of Tomas Verner. I run down a few steps to say hello and he tells me to wait. Five minutes later he comes back carrying three bottles of coke and a sandwich. We sit down on the stairs because we are not allowed to sit down on the seats - something about them being sponsor seats.

I glance over at everything Tomas is carrying and Tomas tells me he came straight from training in Canada, had not slept all night (because of the flight and the time difference) and the sandwich was his lunch. (It was around 3.30PM) He also had a slight problem because his skates did not quite make it to Italy yet! He tells me they are scheduled to arrive at 4PM, just in time for his practice. We chat a little bit more and at 4PM he leaves me to look for his skates. Ten minutes later he enters the ice… on skates! I’m happy he apparently got his skates so I do the thumbs up gesture towards him, on which he replies: “they are not mine!” A little bit surprised I ask him if they are at least his size and he replies that they are, but they are Maurizio’s (Margaglio) so they are dance skates, but it’s OK since he just needs to feel the ice.
I step back from the boarding and notice how well protected the skaters are from the press, because this lady tells me almost horrified that I absolutely “cannot talk to the ‘artists’ on the ice!!!” My slightly surprised reply to her was that Tomas and I already knew each other for quite some time, which my bodyguard confirms and then everything seemed to be OK.

I then watched Tomas skating in circles and the other guys practicing their programs. Everyone just did a run through of their program, practiced some jumps and other things and then left. Whenever they jumped, I was able to feel the ground trembling, because the ice-surface was very thin.

After practice I found Tomas in the audience, still without his own skates, so he had to sit and watch the other skaters practicing the final.

We chatted throughout the practice and at 6PM, still no skates for Tomas! It was starting to get worrisome to me. However we found out Plushenko also has size 41 like Tomas, and Plushenko actually offered Tomas his skates should Tomas’s skates not come on time. I was relieved there was a plan B, and Tomas commented that “maybe they will jump by themselves!”

I took him to the restaurant, because as I told him before, my friends had some presents for him. (“I hope it’s chocolate!”) After signing some autographs, posing for photos, he left and I had dinner. You have got to love Italian food really.

After dinner it was time for the show. I didn’t really feel like sitting in my assigned seat and I sat down near my friends on the stairs. I didn’t really have a better view there or anything, but I just rather sit with my friends than alone on the opposite side of the rink. The show was supposed to start at 9, and so at 9 we saw a wonderful performance by Mr. Zamboni. Nice.

Half an hour later the show really started and considering my previous experiences with Italy, I wasn’t that surprised the show was starting late.
I thought the show was really good and I had a lot of fun, but with such an awesome cast, what else to expect.

After each performance, every skater was awarded a “golden skate award” and a ridiculous TV in the form of either a red or green apple.
The show lasted until about 00.30, which I think was way too late. Everybody was very tired at the end!

I don’t want to write too much about the show itself, because I think most of you reading this article have seen it on Eurosport or somewhere online, however after the show I asked my friends what they thought of the show and to tell me their favorite things.

Jana, 22 from Prague in the Czech Republic came to Milano because she found a cheap flight and she decided to just be crazy and go. It would be a good opportunity to meet some friends, see Milan and figure skating.
Jana thought that the show in general was great, but that it would have been better if they would have skipped the promotional breaks, because it ended way too late.
The performances she liked best were the ones of Tomas Verner, because his performance always rocks and his number had real choreography; Shizuka Arakawa, because both of her programs were pure perfection and Stephane Lambiel’s “un giorno por ti” because it had amazing spins, choreography and music.

About Milano, she said that it’s an industrial city with a few architectural charms. She really enjoyed the roof and the inside of the Duomo, the ford and Castello was also interesting, especially the musical instruments museum.

Jade, 18 from Rome in Italy came to the show to meet friends who live far away and to see some of the best skaters skating live. She really liked and enjoyed the show. She had been waiting for it since June and was happy it didn’t disappoint at all and lived up to her expectations.

The skaters she enjoyed the most were Tomas Verner, Stephane Lambiel, Evgeni Plushenko, Shizuka Arakawa (especially the 2nd performance) and Karel Zelenka.

In Milano she really doesn’t like the Duomo and she didn’t like how she spent too much time there this weekend and it was too cold outside. However she loves Milano even though it’s not the most beautiful city she has ever seen.

Petra, 20 from the Czech Republic thought the show was really amazing. It was her first figure skating show and she said she really enjoyed it! She came to the show because Milano is not so far from the Czech Republic, there would be good skating and she wanted to meet up with friends and have a good time together.

Her favorite performances of the night were Tomas Verner, Shizuka Arakawa, Hotarek/Magiterri, Evgeni Plushenko and Sarah Meier…and so many more!

Erica, 17 from Milano, thought that the show was a very nice idea, the atmosphere was amazing and the performances of the athletes were great. However she did comment that the ice-surface looked awful and she was sad that some skaters didn’t have the chance to skate twice and others who had same or even less results did.

The performances she liked best were: Tomas Verner: the only one able to make the whole audience smile, to entertain everybody with his unique style, great interpretation, good jumps, nice spins, fast footwork and the ability to turn a fall into a positive attraction.

In four words: he is the sunshine.

Shizuka Arakawa: an angel on ice; great music choice, deep edges, precise steps, very good jumps, amazing spirals and her usual cool ina bauer.

Simply loved how she is able to skate softly and how she can use her body and expression.

Laura Magitteri/Ondrej Hotarek: they’re amazing; so much improved in the last months and it’s easy to see it over all while performing on a music so loved by them both; very well done lifts, great jumps, cool choreography and moreover a perfect interpretation.

It was not a big deal feeling their passion and happiness.

As for me? In general I enjoyed the show a lot. It was very good to see all these champions skate, all on one evening! There really was an amazing cast and I hope there will be something like this again next year!


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