This is guest blogger Keri, here for Marsi who was unable to attend today's festivites. Today's practice session was for Men's Short Program and Pair's Free Skate Program.
How it worked was that the men went first in groups of 6 men or 4 pairs. Their music would be played and they would practice their program. All of the other skaters were also on the ice practicing at the same time.
I arrived in time to see the group that included USA's Johnny Weir and Canada's own Patrick Chan. Lucky for me, they had arranged it so that the best skaters practiced last.
This was followed by the pairs, who are skating tonight (right now as it happens). The groups were not in medal contention at all. They included teams like Great Britain's Stacey Kemp and David King, and USA's Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett.
As none of these teams were in medal contention, there wasn't a lot of competitiveness or cutting off fellow skaters. There also weren't any full programs performed.
What happened was that the music would start and the pairs would perform a part of the program. Go see their coach and then do another part of the routine. This wasn't so bad because the other pairs would be full on performing at the same time.
There is no question who the best pairs performance of the day. They probably won't win a medal but it would be the pair from France, Yannick Bonheur and Vanessa James. They are the first black couple ever to compete in the Olympic Games, and I have to say that although the Olympics are colour free, they make an incredibly striking couple on the ice. They skated with far more confidence, skill, strength, or artistry then any other team we saw today. They will be champions one day for sure.
It was an amazing thing to see. Our seats were so close we were almost sitting on the ice. It would be so amazing to have seats like this for the real event.
As a final tidbit, we ALMOST met a Russian skater today. As we were leaving the venue, Sonia noticed a Russian uniform first, followed by a face we'd already seen on the ice, and said to me, "athlete! Athlete! It was Artem Borodulin! By the time I got it together to make a run for him he'd noticed he'd come out the wrong exit, and made a dash back down the stairs.
I'll leave you with a video of USA's Jeremy Abbott practicing to A Day In The Life. You can see the other skaters taking up his space.