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Category Archives: china 2010
On Thursday, we flew back to Beijing. Friday provided us with a day full of sightseeing. We drove by the Olympic venues, we took in the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, some shopping at a Jade museum and the Pearl Market, and an acrobat show. It was a long day, with lots of walking, but it was great to see the sights and history of China. Most of us will never be back to China, so we were lucky to experience what we did in China.
All in all, the trip was non-stop go, go, go, but it was well worth it. We’re all totally exhausted after the long travel, the long days, and the uncomfortable beds, but it was an experience we’ll never forget. We’re blessed and lucky to have water skiing provide us such a wonderful opportunity. Hopefully, this is the first of many trips for Mad-City.
Pics coming soon of the awards ceremony (and the crazy amount of photographers), and opening ceremony (including video of the remote control plane crash).
For more pics, click on the thumbnails below…
Yesterday was a great day all around, except for the fact that in the end we lost by 15 points in the competition. We skied two competitions yesterday. Each one is scored and the scores are then added together. In the morning competition, we started out hot – a 4 tier act in which we built a 4 tier, carried it through the entire 1/2 mile show course, then turned around and came back as 2 3-highs. We then did a flawless ballet and flawless jump act, complete with double gainers and gainer-flip-gainer. We ended the morning competition in the lead by 20 points.
In the afternoon competition, we didn’t ski as well as we had hoped. We made the 4 tier act again, but after that we had falls in every act. I think fatigue and jet lag had finally set in. We also ended on a downer with the tandem 3 highs going down. The Chinese team skied very well in the afternoon, with some great barefooting, tandem barefooting, backbreakers, and spectacular strap doubles…..the best I’ve ever seen. They deserved to win the competition and in the end they won by 15 points.
The awards ceremony immediately following was unbelievable. There were probably over 300 photographers there as the two teams came to the podium for awards. It was like we were famous. Dan Benz won the best male skier award. I don’t have pictures of the awards ceremony, but people do….I’ll get them out when I can. It’s hard to describe but we were celebrities. This city has never seen show skiing and the people and the media and the photographers were out in full force. And so many Chinese citizens wanted pictures with us. It was fun.
Last night we had a banquet dinner with the Chinese team. They like to toast a lot, and as a result we had a lot of fun. We hit the town after that, and let’s just say we had a good time, but there’s a clear culture difference.
Today we head to Beijing and we get to go to the Great Wall and Forbidden City on Friday before heading home on Saturday. It’s been an amazing trip, and after talking to the head of the Chinese Water Ski Federation last night, there’s a good chance that Mad-City will be asked back in the future. They’ve liked us very much and it’s been a great experience.
It’s hard to explain today, and quite frankly I’m too exhausted to write the many paragraphs it would take to capture today. We left the hotel at 8:00 a.m. and didn’t return til 10:10 p.m. The competition venue is amazing. People and media everywhere, 50 foot sponsor banners lining about 3/4 of a mile of the river, VIP areas, and an athlete dining hall. We skied 4 different times today, twice at the competition venue for practices and exhibitions for the media, and twice at the opening ceremonies venue, once in a rehearsal, and once under the lights and lasers and neon of the opening ceremonies. Let’s just say the day was long, exhausting, chaotic, and a bit dangerous at times (more to come on the remote control plane crash on our show dock when we get the video downloaded). It was quite a spectacular event to be a part of, but we’re thankful to be done with today and back at the hotel. Tomorrow we have 2 competitions vs. the Chinese.
Attached are a bunch of pictures of the competition venue and media and practice, then a few of the opening ceremonies venue. I’d write more details about today, but just can’t put 14 hours of stuff into one email.
Click on the pictures below to see more…
Hi again from the other side of the world! It was yet another LONG day of travel for us. Left the hotel in Beijing at 8:50, went through a long hassle at the airport with our baggage (a total of $800 in over-sized bag charges that the Chinese picked up), boarded the plane at 10:30, got off the plane in Liuzhou at 2:30, got our baggage and endured a long bus ride to our hotel (making a couple of stops on the way to drop off other passengers). Finally got to the hotel at about 5:00, quickly dumped our luggage and headed for the ski site. We originally were supposed to have a practice, but we figured with the late time that we wouldn’t. We were correct. We did, however, head to the ski site to check it out. The “competition venue” as they call it is going to be spectacular. I didn’t take pics of it today because lots of set up and construction were going on, but tomorrow and Wednesday it should be a sight to see and I’ll send pics. Along with our waterski competition, there are also F1 speed boat races and jet ski races. It’s a large water sports event and they’re expecting big crowds.
Tomorrow the tentative plan is to practice in the morning, then at 2:30 do a co-show type exhibition with the Chinese for the media. All sorts of media are showing up at 2:30 to publicize the event and we’re skiing a co-show with them to showcase it. Then we have the Opening Ceremonies Banquet which is supposed to be pretty cool. On Wednesday we have two competitions vs. the Chinese.
A fact about Liuzhou….it’s the #5 city in the world for “night viewing”….basically meaning how the city lights up at night. The top 4 are Las Vegas, Paris, New York, and Shanghai. We got a taste that tonight. Our hotel is on a strip of high rise buildings, filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and neon lights and laser lights everywhere. Think State St. with a Times Square flair.
Attached are some pics of our day. The first is tough to see, but it’s a main road, with one half of it covered in corn for miles. Our guide says they dry the corn on the road. Weird. Other pics are of the Liuzhou airport (amazingly small…only 1 baggage claim…basically a small building, and the city has 1.4 million people….not sure how that large of a city can have that small of an airport). There’s also a team pic of us on the stage at the show site. More show site and city life pictures to come in the next couple of days.
Now it’s off to 8+ hours of much needed sleep. We are all exhausted and we have a big day of skiing and opening ceremonies tomorrow.
We’ve arrived safely in China!!! It was a long and painful day of travel. We were on an airplane for 14+ hours – we had an hour delay in Chicago for mechanical issues and a 13 hour flight to Beijing. The flight was so full that they had to bump 10 people off. We were packed in like sardines. Very crowded, very uncomfortable, but it was a smooth flight and we made it safely.
The blog site is blocked here in China. So is Facebook. Any updates I send out will be strictly via email (and then posted to the team’s website). I’ve attached some pictures of our arrival in Beijing. The airport is beautiful. We met our translator/host, Peter, who will be with us the entire week. Very nice guy. It was quite a process getting all of our luggage and ski bags, going through customs, getting currency exchanged, loading a bus and getting to our hotel. Needless to say, it’s 3:00 a.m. here in Beijing, many of us have slept very little, and we are up at 7:30 again to catch a flight from Beijing to Liuzhou.
Enjoy the pictures!! Everyone is safe and sound in Beijing!!
Departure went much smoother than expected. We met at the park ‘n ride in Madison and loaded up lots of luggage. We had a Badger Coach bus waiting for us. The excitement finally set it when everyone showed up with their matching team apparel.
We didn’t have the entire team there, though. We had to pick up Dan Benz in Janesville, and Arik Lebda met us at Ohare Airport. The ride down was fun. A few cold beverages, some great conversation, and before we knew it we were at the airport. We were a bit concerned about getting all 18 people and 36 bags through the ticket counter in an orderly fashion, but it went very, very smoothly. It was quick, efficient, and everyone got through security a-ok. Here’s some pics of the bus ride and the check in process at the airport.
Walking through the airport, we made quite a spectacle. People stared at us in our matching gear like we are a big deal. If they only knew Now we’re getting our last American meal for a week (unless we hit the many McDonalds and KFC’s in China). Our flight leaves in 2 hours. Next update will come from the other side of the world.
For more pictures, click on the thumbnails below…
One of our team members, Gabbie Taschwer, received a thoughtful travel gift today, from her Dad’s work friend, Anita, who is from Hong Kong. Anita gave Gabbie a fancy envelope that has her family’s emblem on it. This type of gift is Chinese tradition to give friends for safe travel. Inside the envelope was a generous amount of yuan (yen), too.
Good stuff happening already!!
The Mad-City Ski Team is traveling to Liuzhou, China to compete in the Sino-American Waterski Competition. The trip is from October 9-16, 2010. There are 18 people traveling in total. Team members are: Dan Wang, Gary Pickney, Cyndi Pickney, Karli Pickney, Sara Tubbs, Olivia Jahn, Sarah Jahn, Mike Nowicki, John Ager, Sandy Ager, Brea Imse, Danielle Zink, Dan Benz, Arik Lebda, Adam Schaller, Jeff Taschwer, Gabbi Taschwer, and Matt Heilman.
Getting ready to leave for 8 days for an international water ski competition is no small task. Preparations have been underway for a couple months now. The team was selected and then the planning began. Dan and Gary have been working non-stop on all the trip details – travel itineraries, act orders, flight details, equipment, baggage, costumes, money, team clothing, gifts for our hosts, and much, much more. You wouldn’t believe how many details there are to figure out. Figuring out how to get all of our equipment to China was a huge task in and of itself. We have to take the following to China with us:
- 7 pair of Jumpers
- 6 White ballet skis
- 4 swivel skis
- 4 flip turn skis
- 4 step off skis
- 4 pair of shoes skis
- clown skis
- 2 pair of pyramid boards (fortunately we get to borrow some of the Chinese wide boards so we don’t have to take 6 pair)
- 1 sky ski
- 1 wakeboard
- Too many ropes to list (pyramid, one act show, ballet, jump, etc., etc.,)
- 4 doubles harnesses
- 7 jump helmets
- 9 wetsuits
- 9 blue/silver undershirts
- 6 blue unitards
- 6 swivel line costumes
We packed 18 waterski bags full. Most of these were large 3 event bags, with a couple of one event bags sprinkled in. Each person traveling is going to check one bag of ski equipment and on bag of their own luggage. I imagine it’s going to be quite a spectacle at the airport, all of us in our matching USA warm-ups with bags and bags of equipment.
We had a great practice on Sunday, September 26. We practiced at Janesville’s show site and got a lot of good work done. We plan to do the usual show acts (jump, swivel, ballet, 4 tier), but we also plan to do lots of tandem stuff (pyramid, jump, barefoot, doubles, backbreaker), one act show, and some cool montage stuff (shoe ski gainers, wakeboard, sky ski, etc.). The jumping should be fantastic, with some quad heli’s, double gainers, gainer-flip-gainer, and more. It was a bit cold at practice (56 degrees), but we skied for 2 hours straight and had only 5 falls the whole night. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come for the competition in China.
Pics to come of our equipment packing and our practice.
Our travel itinerary is as follows:
- Saturday 10/9
- Board Coach Bus at Stoughton Rd. park ‘n ride at 3:00 to drive to Ohare Airport.
- Flight leaves Ohare at 9:25 p.m. It’s a direct flight to Beijing, China. It’s a 13 hour flight and China is 13 hours ahead. We arrive on Sunday night at 11:55. We basically lose Sunday. It disappears.
- Sunday 10/10
- Dan Wang’s Birthday spent on a plane for 13 hours!!
- Arrive in Beijing at 11:55 p.m. and hopefully get to a hotel sometime to get some sleep
- Monday 10/11
- Fly from Beijing to Liuzhou.
- Practice in the evening
- Tuesday 10/12
- Practice in the morning
- Opening Ceremonies (this is supposed to be pretty big)
- First Competition (the competitions there are head to head….you don’t ski an entire show, but we ski on act at a time…..we ski an act, then they do, then we do, then they do, etc. Then it’s judged and scores are announced. There are awards for box score type things and best skiers.
- Wednesday 10/13
- Two competitions on this day
- Thursday 10/14
- Sightseeing in Liuzhou
- Fly to Beijing
- Friday 10/15
- Sightseeing in Beijing
- Saturday 10/16
- Fly home (we leave at 7:55 a.m and arrive in Chicago at 7:25 a.m the same day. Crazy!! We get home before we left!)
That’s it in a nutshell. I’m hoping to have internet access and be able to update this blog every couple days with a recap and photographs of the trip. Enjoy!
On October 12 and 13, the Mad-City Water Ski Team will be competing in an international water ski competition in Liuzhou, China. Mad-City was selected over several other competing teams to travel for eight days to China and compete in The Sino-American Water Ski Competition. Hosted by the Chinese Water Ski Association, fifteen of Mad-City’s most talented skiers will perform 2 days of head to head competition against the Chinese in front of over 20,000 spectators.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Mad-City Ski Team,” said Mad-City board member Gary Pickney. “The hard work and dedication the team has put in over the last several years has not only produced 5 National Championships, but now the opportunity to travel all over the world to showcase our talents.”
Area water skiers have been invited to perform in various water ski shows world wide. Recent trips to Jamaica, India, and Dubai have given water skiers a chance to travel the world, and only those that excel are selected. The Mad-City Ski Team has a history of excellence, and they have been rewarded with the chance to compete in China.
“The chance to represent USA water skiing is a tribute to the quality of skiing we have on the Mad-City Ski Team,” said Pickney. “We’re excited about heading to China and performing some top notch skiing.”
The Mad-City Ski Team has been performing shows on Sunday nights in Madison for 48 years. Shows run from Memorial Day to Labor Day on Sunday’s at 6:00 p.m. As one of the finest show ski teams in the country, the Mad-City Ski Team has won 5 National Championships since 2004.
Local sponsors Lands End, Evinrude Outboards, Skipper Buds, Malibu Boats, Mueller and Future Foam have helped outfit the team to send them to China.