Hey All,

I'm FINALLY slowing down enough to give my exciting report on COI Anaheim.

First of all I need to send a HUGE Thank you to Grace for the Back Stage Passes Jack for the stuffed animals and the framed poster of The Kween herself (your generosity RACHS) , and the Kwanderful people I met at JT Schmids you all were so sweet, so genuine, If The Kween were there, she'd be so humbled to see the graciousness she projects is also reflected by so many who love her. My friend, Mindy was with me and it was just wonderful to show her how sweet & gracious MKFers are. Thanks again.

While waiting to get into the Pond a camera man decided to ask me who my favorite skater is. Well if there is one thing I'm not is camera shy. So with that question I proclaimed MICHELLE KWAN! He followed with "Who else?" Well I was dumb founded. Is there really any other skater to enjoy???? I'm kidding of course. I started naming off a lot of the skaters that were to skate that night. He finally asked me if there were any Japanese skaters I liked. (That's when I figured he's probably from a Japanese TV station.) Well once he gave me that clue I started gushing over Shizuka Arakara. And since I'm not in the least bit camera shy, I proceeded to imitate Shiz's trademark Ina Bauer. Now you have to realize that I'm in no way shape or form an athelete of any kind, but I did my 41 year old level best Ina Bauer I could muster. The camera man LOVED it. I LOVED being in front of the camera. (I am such a ham!) So it was a win/win situation.

The show was great! I'm so glad my friend Mindy bought these tickets! It was my birthday gift that I wll never forget!

I LOVED hearing the crowd go nuts the second The Kween went on and the lights came on her. No other skater received that response. And that is how it should be.

I wasn't really planning on getting all that excited over any other skater than Michelle, but I have to say Victor Petrenko really knows how to work an audience. I love how he got the audience involved & clapping. He was my first standing ovation of the night. His performance to Sammy Davis jr.'s "The Birth of the Blues", was as Dick Button would say "Spiffy".

Speaking of Mr. Button I bet he had fun recording that piece of Dan Hollander. It was a great spoof on Olympic figure skating. I loved everything from knocking off the current Russian leader, to making nice w/the French judge. I'm usually not a fan of skaters who insist of taking their clothes off on the ice, but Dan was smart about it in this routine & I laughed and loved it all.

I'm usually not a T&M fan but their routine was so heartfelt and smooth they skated like Olympic Champions for sure.

From one OGM to another, A&P were just breath taking! I can't remember the name of the song they skated to but I know I couldn't take my eyes off of them.

My friend Mindy's favorite was B&A & they did not disappoint! I'm so glad they kept that routine in the tour. It's wild & rages with energy. Gets my heart goin in a wonderful way.

I could watch Stephan Lambiel spin forever. He's just exceptional at it as he is with all of his skating.

I've always like the hula hoop lady. I personally find her routines quite innovative - especially since she really can SKATE as well. Props to her indeed.

I've always found myself to be a bit of a snob when it come to the acrobat guys. I'd see them on TV & just sneer "They don't deserve to be on the ice! They're not skaters! They're just acrobats on skates! Big whoop!" Well, I still think they can do what they do regardless of the surface they're standing on, I really did enjoy watching them build from one difficult trick to the next. It was amazed in watching what they did. Very innovative indeed!

As far as I was concerned, Sasha was the biggest surprise of the night. She was 100% flawless and she was extremely real in expressing the music. I totally believed everything she was expressing. I wasn't planning on it, but at the end, I stood up and gave her standing ovation. To my big surprise, however, I was one of very few who did. As a matter of fact, I don't think anyone got a SO after any performance. Of course, I could be wrong.

Poor Evgeny, I just can't watch him and watch The Kween at the same time. But I'm sure he did well just the same.

Then Michelle Kwan came out and the crowd went NUTS!! She had to take a minute to calm everyone down before she could do her performance. Oh and her performance was breathtaking indeed. Even from where I sat on the 4th level I was mesmerized by her edges and the love she gave us all through her skating. To paraphrase Dick Button, "She gives me her heart & I fall in love with her every time." (That's a close paraphrase to what he says anyway.)

Grace, your pictures of The Kween are a huge blessing to a girl who was on the fourth level. I had no idea just how deep & how wide The Kween was smiling through out her routine. I don't know who was having more fun: us watching Michelle or Michelle skating for us. (Maybe that's why she had the video cam in Las Vegas.) Thank you Grace for sharing those pics. As far as I'm concerned, they truly were Kwanderful!

Before I got to the "backstage part" I was stopped by skating fans begging me to sell them my backstage. This was my birthday gift though so I told them I was keeping it for sure! Boy am I glad I did! To see those skaters close up like that was moment I will never forget. Marina Anasina (sp) was so sweet to help me find her picture in the program book so she could sign it for me. I got a chuckle out of Dan Hollander assuring a fan "we get paid to find these things for you".

I must say I LOVED the dress Sasha was wearing, a cute strapless dress, white with a red/pink floral print. I asked her where she got it. She said it was her sister's dress. I said that her sister has great taste in dresses. She said something like "Yeah I saw this & said 'I know what I wanta borrow today'". It was a cute moment.

Ohhhhhh Michelle (sigh) she was just so radiant backstage. I had no idea she could look that good back there. While she signed my book. I told her that as part of MKF I could attest to all the graciousness she projects is carried out with all the other MKFers as well. She just smiled. I had a camera that my friend Mindy loaned me, but she said it only had 3 frames on it so I had to be careful & naturally I chose to only use them on The Kween. She had moved on before I could get my camera out but she heard me once it was out and flashed that Kwanderful smile my way. Later I gave the camera back to Mindy who developed that pic & framed it for me as an additional BDay gift.

When it was all said an done I was soooooooooo HYPER!!! I couldn't sit down to type very well but I couldn't sleep either. I was still hyper at work the next day. I stayed up in the clouds till sometime after 1PM that day. Then EVERYTHING inside me just crashed. I had that good a time and I thank Mindy, all the MKFers, the cameraman, and of course, The Kween herself, for making Forty-one feel fabulous! It was all indeed "first rate".

Crystal

aka dramaqueenjc