After being here amidst all of the excitement with all of the US athletes doing so well in so many sports, Rachael and I are ready to go. The draw for the ladies short program was this morning and Rachael drew 28th out of 30 women. So she will skate third in the last warm up group of five skaters.
The practice groups are now arranged according to the draw and no longer by nation so Rachael and Mirai will no longer practice together (since Mirai's ISU ranking is lower she will skate in an earlier group). It has been a lot of fun for both Frank and I to be around these two bubbly teenage girls. Our bus rides have been an eye opener and mostly full of giggles. And while Rachael and Mirai couldn't be more different, they both have a lot in common.
Earlier today, Rachael and I were both saddened to learn that 2009 Canadian World Silver Medalist Joannie Rochette's mother, Therese, 55, died of a heart attack last night shortly after she and her husband arrived in Vancouver. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joannie and her family. When something like that happens at an Olympic Games it really makes you appreciate what you have in your life, but also begs the question, "What would I do if I was in that situation as an athlete and a coach?" So, as a coach, I would support my athlete in whatever decision he or she would make. We have heard that Joannie will compete and I am sure that is what her mother would have wanted.
Walking through the mix zone with Rachael, I was surprised that the reporters asked her how she felt about the situation with Joannie. Frank and I both learned about what happened minutes before the US ladies practice started and we both independently decided not to talk to both girls about it until after the practice. Needless to say, when the reporters explained what happened to Rachael she was shocked and saddened. I could only think how disrespectful this was to both Joannie's family and Rachael.
On a brighter note, the IOC has organized the first ever youth Olympics in order to encourage young people around the world to participate in sport. The games will be held in Singapore in August and feature 3,600 youth athletes between the ages of 15-18 participating in summer sports. The first winter edition of this new IOC program will be held in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012. In addition to the athletes, the program will also involve young ambassadors and reporters from over 205 nations. Way to go, IOC!