Speakout!

Your Opinions

March 05, 2006

THE ISSUE: -- Kimmie Meissner did Harford County proud, skating with poise and skill beyond her years to turn in an impressive performance and finish in sixth place in the women's figure skating competition at the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy. What was your favorite moment or part of following Kimmie's Olympic odyssey?

Reaching for stars and touching them

My favorite moment was on Thursday, Feb. 23, prior to her long program. We got a glimpse of the warm-up activities of several of the top 10 skaters.

They were out of sight of cameras and the limelight, seeming not to even notice they were being recorded. Some had on earphones listening to music. All were going through the routines of warming up their muscles for the big skate. They were twisting, stretching and bending arms and legs.

Kimmie adjusted a stationary bike at one point, then later seemed to be walking the perimeter of the room. As she walked, there was a moment when she looked up and noticed she was walking right past the Olympic symbol on the wall. She reached up and touched it.

For a moment, an instant, time stood still for me. I could only imagine she was thinking, "It is real. It's not a dream. I am only 16 years old and while working hard for 10 years with a goal to go to the Olympics I thought it would be in 2010. But here I am, living my dream. Wow!"

Connie Schepers Bel Air

The writer was Kimmie's second-grade teacher at Hickory Elementary School.

Her short program was her best ever

My favorite part of following Kimmie's Olympic experience was watching her skate her short program better than she ever has in competition and seeing the pure excitement on her face afterward.

It was awesome to see her go out and attack the program with everything she had. Kimmie should be incredibly proud of her sixth-place finish, being the second-youngest competitor and the youngest in the top six.

Sonia Parrott Merrimack

The writer is Web master of the Kimmie Meissner Fan Center.

Displaying winning personality

I've coached girls' fast-pitch softball for 18 years, and Kimmie has the type of character and personality coaches dream about. She is a "down to earth," athletic, hardworking young lady who just happens to love skating.

Regardless of the media attention and growing fan base, she's been handling herself great - both on and off the ice. She has wonderful, strong family support and has high-quality coaching. I believe she did the Olympics right - I got the impression that she thoroughly enjoyed the experience - good for her!

Her sixth-place finish is exceptional considering that most of the international judges have never seen her before. This is an acknowledgment of her skill. Will she be back for the 2010 Olympics? It's mostly up to her, but if she stays with the sport and continues to enjoy the skating, I think we will see her again. But regardless of her future skating endeavors, she is already a winner.

Larry Antley Keller, Texas

Sweet, gracious in person

My favorite part was the day I had the honor of meeting Kimmie at the fundraiser held by Buontempo Restaurant in Bel Air in January.

Kimmie was sweet and gracious and gave me an autographed picture, and she also signed my figure skate. I had these two items next to my TV when I watched both her short and long programs. It made watching her Olympic experience extra special for me.

Mary Hulshoff-Stitz Bel Air

We want your opinions

ISSUE:

Harford County Council President Robert S. Wagner recently proposed changing the way council members are elected, moving from candidates who are elected by district, to having voters pick them on a countywide, at-large basis. In 2000, Harford voted to switch from at-large to in-district, a move that took effect two years later. The bill, which likely will have trouble passing, came as a surprise to many political observers, some of whom speculated that the proposal is related to the council's recent handling of the comprehensive rezoning process.

YOUR VIEW:

What's better for Harford County: council members elected by district or at-large? Tell us what you think. Send e-mail responses by Thursday to harford.speakout@baltsun.com. A selection of responses will be published next Sunday. Please keep your responses short and include your name, address and telephone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.

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