She works so hard and she’s been improving but what I’ve noticed is the frown. Too often she starts her short program this way, and I just can’t stress enough how important the whole demeanor is. See… Oooohhh! There it is again! But making coffee without already having a cup of coffee is just so hard! She’s been having trouble with this one for years. But she’s back on track now, a good recovery, though she’ll have to work on her language. The kids will be up soon.

Now this part of the program is really tough. She’s got to have it all—speed, perseverance, balance—or there is just no way she’s going to make it out that door. The driving force here is really her husband. He’s done a great job. Basically took a woman who was never a morning person and made her into a top competitor. He sets the alarm, he makes the lunches. Frankly, he’s the one who gets the kids up and dressed most mornings. What she has going for her is the way the family leaves the house at the same time every day. And they don’t have a car, so they walk everywhere, which makes the program both green and difficult. The judges will really like that if she can pull if off.

Oooohhh! She forgot to check the weather and it’s snowing! That’s too bad. That’s just not a mistake she should have made at this level. These women have to be in top shape. She’ll lose points for that, but now, look at the speed here, the children have their boots on, scarves… Ooohhh! She’s losing her grip, has to go back for the youngest one’s lunch… Got it! Nice recovery. The judges will look at the video, but I think she had three full rotations on that one.

She missed her husband’s cheek on the goodbye kiss. Small deduction there.

This is my favorite part of the short program. It’s a chance to show off her better side. With the kids dropped off, she’s out from behind the stroller, and notice how she makes good use of her long limbs. She has speed and determination—Look at that face! With the more technical stuff behind her, she knows she has a chance to shine on the artistry. She really has so much potential. I think we’ll be seeing more of her in years to come if she can just…

Oooohhh! She’s downgrading a yoga class for another cup of coffee! And from Starbucks, too! Shameful. She usually does such a good job of patronizing the independent shop a few blocks away. But we’ve seen this before. It’s what happens when you get tired and your nerves are shot. And, so disappointing, instead of going to work, she’s headed to the park! She’ll have to make up points somewhere else or the judges are not going to like this.

Um, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what this is. Sleeping on a bench? The coffee must have been decaf, but that doesn’t make any sense. I think after this performance she’ll want to reconsider some of her choreography. Hard to know what the judges are going to make of the shiny bit of drool under her cheek. While not technically difficult, her arm position is sweet.

It seems less and less likely that she’ll be in medal contention after this short program. The weekend program is so much longer and more challenging, with compulsory elements like No TV Before Noon, Shouldn’t We Get Some Exercise?, and Laundry. The performance here suggests she might not be up to it. Does anyone know what time the kids need to be picked up?

Wow! Look at her speed! She’s back, up and running!

And that’s why this competitor is so exciting, frankly. You never know what you’re going to get. At this point in the program the compulsory elements are done and she can just ride it out. This is her show now, and look at her go! True she skimped on work today, but now the errands are finished, the kids are home, the dinner started, and she’s sailing into cocktail hour! This is really so exciting, to see a rebound like this. This is what these women train for. All the hours of hard work pay off when you can diffuse a sibling argument, cook dinner, check e-mail, and drink a glass of champagne all at once! I might have suggested a glass of white wine—the champagne makes her look a bit cocky and the judges might not like that—but with a rebound like this she can probably get away with it. Don’t rule this one out yet!