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MEET THE SKATERS: Christina Gao, Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus

July 22, 2013
By CHRISTIE SAUSA , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Skating fans enjoyed the performances of three guest skaters at the Saturday Night Ice Show on July 13 in the Olympic Center's 1932 Jack Shea Arena.

Singles skater Christina Gao and the ice dance team of Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus joined 25 Lake Placid Summer Figure Skating campers, all of varying ages and abilities.

Gao, Cannuscio and McManus closed out the first and second acts with programs ranging from dramatic to playful. All three skaters are hoping to make a big splash on the international scene this year, and each reflected on last year's season.

Article Photos

Photo by Christie Sausa
From left, Anastasia Cannuscio, Colin McManus and Christina Gao pose for a picture at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid on July 13.

"Our first grand prix last year was Skate America, which was an amazing experience, and we placed sixth at Nationals, which was really great as well," Cannuscio said.

Gao was also pleased with her season.

"So I went to Skate America as well, I got second there; that was exciting. And I had another grand prix in Paris, and I got fourth there," Gao said. "Then I went to the Grand Prix final, which was exciting too. And then nationals was OK. I came in fifth again for the fourth year in a row.

"It was a good season; it was probably my best season yet."

All three skaters started at relatively young ages - Cannuscio started skating at age 3, Gao and McManus at age 7 - and quickly fell in love with the sport.

"I started skating when I was 3. One of my aunts taught at a local rink at our hometown back in New Jersey, and she started my sister and I skating," Cannuscio said. "It kind of stuck from then on. My sister will actually be here skating next week (in the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships)."

McManus' skating career started as a convenient way for him to "waste energy."

"The reason I started skating was because my older sister Meagan took lessons at our local learn-to-skate, and I had a little too much energy running around the rink," McManus said. "So my parents decided to just throw me out there, and waste some of my energy, and it stuck. And I'm still skating."

Similarly, Gao's introduction to skating was also unexpected.

"We moved within Cincinnati to a different neighborhood and my next door neighbor was a skater," Gao said. "So my parents were like, 'oh that sounds fun,' and they just signed me up for learn to skate classes. So I kept going."

From humble beginnings, all three skaters eventually started competing at an elite level, nationally and internationally. Gao is the 2009 U.S. junior bronze medalist and 2009 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist. In the Senior division this past season, she placed second at Skate America, fourth at Trophee Eric Bompard, fifth at the US Nationals and fourth at the Four Continents championships. She also qualified for the Grand Prix final to finish sixth.

Cannuscio and McManus have also been slowly rising through the ranks. They are the 2011 US Junior Bronze Medalists, and have placed seventh in Skate America and sixth at the US National Championships this season.

Gao, Cannuscio and McManus have definite goals in mind for the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

"I have two grand prixs again, so hopefully I can skate my best there and make the Grand Prix Final again; that would be great," Gao said. "Ultimately, I would love to make the Olympic team."

Cannuscio and McManus are hoping for a strong, consistent season.

"We have different goals set. We are currently hoping to potentially get back on the GP circuit this year by getting picked for Skate America," McManus said. "The ultimate goal for this season is to have a strong season and set us up for the next season. It's important for us to have a strong season this year."

One thing the skaters all had in common, though, was an appreciation for Lake Placid.

"I've been to Lake Placid once before, in 2009 to watch Skate America when it was here," Gao said. "I really like it here. It's a really cute little village, and you get to walk around and enjoy the lake and all the little shops, they're all so unique."

"This is, I think, my 20th trip. We'll be back in a few weeks as well (for the Ice Dance Championships)," Cannuscio said. "I love it here, and every time I'm still excited to come to Lake Placid."



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