Case in point - yesterday's MEN'S Novice finals and the free skate. The 1st place winner was Nathan Chen, a 4-year veteran of this competition who has achieved (among many other accolades) the ripe old age of TEN YEARS! (However, if you would have told me he is only 6 or 7 I would have believed it since he is a rather adorable little guy.) His performance to Peter and the Wolf was mesmerizing! And the "old man" of 11 who came in second (Emmanuel Savory - who kind of reminded me of "Kenny" from the Cosby Show) performed a crowd (and judge) pleasing skate to music from "The Simpsons". (Emmanuel & Nathan are the little guys at the left side autographing programs.)
The Novice Pairs Free Skate and Novice Ladies Short program were also something to see. Though I was expecting to see some nerves (I mean aren't there any kids here for the first time?), these kids were amazingly poised and mature given that some of these competitors are barely in their teens. During breaks between events, Margo and I would wander the concourse chatting up the kids and getting autographs. It was wonderful to see that in addition to being remarkably talented youngters, they are still just basically kids - surprised that anyone wants their autographs and wondering if they will have time to find some nachos before they head to the stands to cheer on their fellow competitors. It was incredible!
The younger kids weren't the only "stars" we've seen. Here I'm getting Evan Lysacek's autograph before he took 2nd in the Men's Senior skate.