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Stars on Ice brings together the best of the best

January 8, 2019
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Stars on Ice has been a beloved holiday tradition in Lake Placid for years, bringing some of the world's best professional and amateur skaters to the Olympic Center's Herb Brooks Arena.

This year's show was headlined by Olympic gold medalists in ice dancing Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and also featured three of the top US ladies' competitors: U.S. Olympic team bronze medalist and three-time national champion Ashley Wagner, U.S. Olympic team bronze medalist and reigning U.S. national champion Bradie Tennell, and U.S. Olympic team bronze medalist and seven-time national championship medalist Mirai Nagasu.

Other dancers included 2018 World Championship silver medalists and 2018 U.S. national champions Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, who starred in a Saturday Night Ice Show this summer, and 2014 Junior World and Junior U.S. Champions in ice dancing Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.

Article Photos

Mirai Nagasu, right, and Bradie Tennell perform during the Stars on Ice show in Lake Placid in December.
Provided photo — Christie Sausa

For Tennell and Wagner, who were last in Lake Placid to compete in the 2017 Skate America, skating in Stars on Ice was an enjoyable way to return to Lake Placid.

"It's great to be back in Lake Placid," Tennell said. "Last time I was here, I was in awe and focused on competing, but being back for Stars on Ice is more relaxed. I'm just trying to take it in with no stress,"

"With the Grand Prix there is more pressure, so it's nice to come back in for Stars and skate in a show environment," Wagner said.

Wagner is taking time away from competitive skating this year, but her characteristic fiery skating style was on full display in Lake Placid, where she skated two crowd-pleasing performances, including a powerful performance to Pink's "I'm Still Here."

"I'm taking the season off, living in Boston, to live some life and explore options outside of skating," Wagner said. "My second number (I'm Still Here) is more vulnerable. It's something I had choreographed right after the Olympics when I wasn't named to the team, and is one of those pieces about accepting where you are in life and enjoying the ride along the way."

Tennell will compete at the National Championships in Detroit, Michigan Jan. 18-27, and hopes to continue the meteoric improvement that began last year with her bronze medal performance at the 2017 Skate America.

"I'd love to be national champion (again), and my goal is to skate the best I can and take in everything so I can put my best foot forward," Tennell said.

Also familiar to Skate America viewers were Hawayek and Baker, who once again performed their popular "Austin Powers" program, which they also skated at the Skate America Exhibition.

Mirai Nagasu has been a popular guest skater in Lake Placid over the past several years, and despite a recent hip surgery, still skated two dazzling programs. Called the "triple axel queen," Nagasu was the first US woman to land a triple axel in the 2018 Olympics and went on to compete in Dancing with the Stars. She will not be competing in the 2019 national championships to allow for recovery time.

"I enjoy being here in Lake Placid, it's nice to see a winter wonderland for Christmas," Nagasu said. "It's especially nice to be part of such a family-oriented show, hopefully the audience can enjoy my passion for skating.

"With the 2018 season I had such high expectations and goals for myself. I think 2019 will be more about appreciating the little things in life and trying to be less demanding of myself."

The ladies and dancers were joined by 2017 Junior world champion and current U.S. National Championship bronze medalist Vincent Zhou, U.S. Olympic team bronze medalist and four-time national champion Jeremy Abbott, 2011 U.S. men's national champion Ryan Bradley.

Bradley, a Lake Placid Saturday Night Ice Show alumni, performed two fan favorite programs, including an energetic performance to Motown music with his signature backflips.

Abbott, meanwhile, captivated with dramatic, avant-garde programs, including an artistic performance to "How will I Know" by Sam Smith.

Zhou was the first skater to land the quadruple lutz jump in the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, and performed this season's short program in the Stars on Ice show.

The show closing number to "You Will Be Found" by the "Dear Evan Hansen" Original cast, which began included voiceovers from the Stars on Ice cast about what the Olympics meant to them, was one of the most poignant numbers in recent history, and was especially appropriate in a town known for its Olympic spirit.

The tour continues this year around the US. For more information, including ticket sales, visit their website at



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