Part One: Do You Know the Way to San Jose? 

Editor’s note: Our intrepid correspondent Coy Covington, aka The Gay Blade, will be in San Jose, Calif., all week, where he is reporting for Dallas Voice on the competition, which includes several skaters who train in North Texas. Look for more reports throughout the week.

Six elite athletes training in North Texas totally know the way to San Jose … but where they really want to go is Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

The journey starts today when the Senior events kick off at the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif. The U.S. Championships serve as the final qualifying competition before U.S. Figure Skating names its nominations to the Olympic Team, as well as the 2018 World Figure Skating Team and the 2018 Four Continents Figure Skating Team. Team USA will send three ladies, three men, one pairs team and three ice dance teams to the Olympic Winter Games taking place in Pyeongchang, Feb 9–25.

Alex Krasnozhon

Leading the team of talented Texans (well, they’re not all from Texas, but they do all train at the DrPepper Star Center in Euless) is reigning US Pairs bronze medalists Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc. Look for Cain and the openly gay LeDuc to capitalize on their long lines and elegant stretch not to mention athletic prowess (devilishly difficult side by side triple loops) to turn judges heads. Results of the draw for starting orders for the Short Program put them skating last, which has its pluses and minuses. But they looked smokin’ hot in yesterday’s practice session, so expect them to scorch the ice when skating in the clean-up position. Cain and LeDuc are in impressive company with their training mates. Amber Glenn will hit Senior Ladies with a terrific triple-triple combination and competing in Senior Men are Jimmy Ma (huge quad toe), Timothy Dolensky (jaw-dropping spins) and recently crowned Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Alexei Krasnozhon (killer quad loop), pictured left.

NBCSN will host live primetime coverage of Nationals beginning with the ladies short program Wednesday at 10 p.m., and continuing with the pairs and men’s short program on Thursday afternoon. The short dance will be on NBCSN at 3 p.m. on Friday. NBC begins its live coverage on Friday at 7 p.m. with the ladies free skate. On Saturday, the pairs free skate will air on NBC at 3 p.m., with the men’s free skate following at 7 p.m. Competition will conclude with NBC’s coverage of the free dance on Sunday at 2 p.m. NBC will also present the Smucker’s Skating Spectacular on Jan. 13 at 3 p.m.

With coaches Darlene Cain and Peter Cain at the helm, ‘Team Texas’ is looking beyond Euless and San Jose all the way to Pyeongchang. Happy trails!

— Coy Covington