Tuesday, March 31, 2009
How I became a Superfan of Figure Skating: Golden Girl: Republic of Korea's Yu-Na Kim wins the 2009 Ladies Figure Skating Championship (photo courtesy of Johnny Nicoloro) Last week, the all-important "Academy Awards" of Figure Skating Competitions--the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2009--came to the Los Angeles STAPLES Center. The US and South African Pairs Team Is: Nick Verreos and Kara Janx, Season 2 Project Runway Now, as many of you Project Runway fans may know (there are some of you still out there?) that back in Season 2, we were asked to design a costume for Olympic Figure Skater Sasha Cohen for the 7Th week of the show. The episode was aptly titled "On Thin Ice". Well kiddies, I was the ONLY one who even knew who Sasha Cohen was and acted like a thirteen year old girl meeting the Jonas Brothers when she was introduced to us (as well as what the challenge would be) . Not For Sasha Cohen: Nick Verreos' design for "On Thin Ice" episode, Project Runway Season 2 In short, I "came out of the closet" as being a fan of Figure Skating on Cable TV. To be honest, I was exposed to the sport by my partner and NIKOLAKI co-designer, David Paul, who is the REAL fan. So much so, that when David and his friend found out that the Championships were coming to LA, they each bought an entire WEEK'S PASS--to ALL the events! Needless to say, I didn't do that. He's SUPERFAN, I'm just a fan and a respectful TV watcher of the sport--oh and I REALLY love seeing those sometimes-wacky costumes!Superfan: NIKOLAKI co-designer David Paul, watching the practice sessions (photo courtesy of Johnny Nicoloro) The entire week passed by and David was gone from 9 AM until 11 PM, almost living at the STAPLES Center, while I tended to NIKOLAKI and various other events and duties I had during the week. Saturday came and I had enough: After 6 days of listening to him in the evening go on and on about how AMAZING the Championships were, I caught the bug!Stand Out In A Crowd: Nick Verreos at the Staples Center I went ahead and spent $200 and put my jacket and scarf on and got myself to the STAPLES Center to see the all-important Ladies Final Figure Skating Championship. My seat was fabulous (it should be for that price!) and it was near David and his skating buddies but I was by myself. A Fan With Taste: Renee Klish, the Army Art Curator for the US Army Center of Military History in Washington DC, poses with Nick Verreos at the STAPLES Center, World Figure Skating Championships I was sandwiched between two lovely ladies who promptly schooled me with the "who, what and how" of the Ladies Final Championship skaters. Little did they know that I was already "up to speed" with fifteen years of watching figure skating on TV--heck I was even sent to Italy back in 2006 for the Torino Olympics to comment for NBC on the Ladies Figure Skating Costumes! Miss Universe Parade of Nations: The top three skaters display their pride in front of the World's press The Championships were AMAZING! I cannot lie. It was such a treat after years and years of seeing it on TV to be there, LIVE, watching it all happen . The Ladies Final Championship lasted about 6 hours (yep, all you see is about 2 hours of it on TV, when they get to the top 6 skaters at the end). The top Gold Medal Prize went to South Korea's Yu-Na Kim for her gorgeous and athletic performance. She did so many triples (triple jumps), she almost made me dizzy. The sold-out STAPLES crowd went CRAZY when she won. You'd think that half of South Korea was in attendance from the roar of the crowd and the flags that were being waved. Oh Canada, Oh Canada: Canada's Joannie Rochette at the World Figure Skating Championships ( photo courtesy of Johnny Nicoloro) The First Runner Up, or Silver medal, went to one of my favorites, Canada's Joannie Rochette. I just love her. Don't know why, I just do. She reminds me of the "old school" Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen skaters. Lots of grace, beauty and artistry, which tends to be missing from the sport because it is now so heavily concentrated on athleticism and those all-important jumps. By the way, half of Canada WAS at the Staples cheering her on, as she won the Silver. Japan's Miki Ando "turns it out!" at the World's Figure Sakting Championships (photo courtesy of Johnny Nicoloro) Finally Japan's Miki Ando received the Bronze, or Third Prize. Our American contenders didn't fare so well, but my favorite and the top US skater, Rachael Flatt, was incredible and in fact received a standing ovation for her performance. Rachael ended in fifth place, which was amazing for her considering she's only 16 years old and this was her first World Championship (more on Rachael at the end of this posting--wait for it!).Lyrical Ingenue: Sixteen Year Old Rachael Flatt: Fifth at the World Figure Skating Championships (photo courtesy of Johnny Nicoloro) I was curiously drawn to her asymmetrical bodice red beaded Guipure Lace costume because the top portion silhouette reminded me so much of the design I did for Sasha Cohen on Season 2 Project Runway. The Medal Ceremony: Kristi Yamaguchi is on the far left of the photo A Medal Ceremony (which they don't show on TV unfortunately) soon followed, in which figure skating icon, Kristi Yamaguchi was on hand to present . Kristi, by the way, looked FABULOUS; her Dancing With The Stars body was in tip-top shape. After the Championships ended, I made my way to the lobby to find David and his friends, and before you could say "Michelle Kwan", I was surrounded with what seemed like 50 thirteen year old girls and their doting Mom's! They were all asking to take a photo and have me sign their booklets. I wondered if they were confused and thought that somehow I was a Figure Skater. "I'm Not a Figure Skater from Greece!": Nick Verreos signs autographs and poses for photos at the Staples Center In fact, I told the first photo-and-autograph seekers "Ummm, you know I'm not some famous figure skater right?" in embarrassment. They quickly responded with "Oh no, we know, you're Nick from Project Runway!!!!!" Well, I had no idea that Figure Skating Fans=Project Runway Fans. But now I do. Now here's that "wait for it" moment: As I finally made it out the STAPLES Center, a woman with a couple of beautiful young girls came running up to me holding a phone: "Nick Nick!! Rachael Flatt (the 16 year old US skater) is on the phone and she LOVES you and wants to say 'Hi' !!". Then shortly after, her father introduces himself, telling me that they were big fans of the show and would love it if someday I would design Rachael's competition costume. Wow, I could not believe it! (neither could David). So we'll see. Maybe Rachael Flatt might be wearing a "Nick Verreos Original" when you see her at the Olympics next year. Oh and you know that part about me not really being a "SUPERFAN". I am now. Click Below for a video of the Medal Ceremony and the National Anthem of the Republic of Korea:
video

4 comments:

Smadraji said...

Nice Posting
Gay

Taylor said...

i've been re-watching PR season 2 and was searching for a close-up on your figure skating challenge outfit and found your blog, and i'm so glad i did! great read & congrats on all your success!

Anonymous said...

Nick! Your the bomb! LOVE YOU

Elkin said...

im a super fan of figure skating, project runway AND NICK VERREOS. lol you rock and totally an inspiration.

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