Meissner, the silver medalist at the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships that year, finished sixth at the Olympics in only her third international competition on the senior level. A month later, she won the world title.
Question: What was your first impression?
Answer: It was overwhelming. It was surreal and huge. I was nervous, but I was more excited.
Q: What was your biggest memory?
A: I've never said this before, but it was at the closing [ceremony], watching the flame go out because then it was over. It was so final. My favorite memory was walking in with all the other athletes and seeing the arena filled. That was when it really hit me, "That's right, I'm an Olympian." Then two weeks later when they extinguished the flame, it was, like, "Wow, this is so sad."
Q: In figure skating, you get nominated to the team and then you're whisked away in about a week only to get to the Games and have to wait until near the end of the event to compete. What do you do to stay loose?
A: Leading up to the Olympics, I just got better [laughs]. I kept doing great programs every day. I thought, "Yeah, I'm doing pretty good." But I was glad I didn't have to wait much longer because when I got up there I still had those two weeks and it kind of crushed me. I was there, and I wanted to start. So I had to keep practicing, and I got anxious.
Q: After she made this Olympic team with a second-place finish at nationals, Mirai Nagasu told reporters that what excited her was "all the free stuff. I can be stereotypical and say that Asians are very cheap, but I like getting gifts." What is the free stuff?
A: As soon as we got there in Turin and got our credential, they ushered us off to get all our stuff. We took a shopping cart and went to every station. At the end of our little round, the shopping cart was overflowing. We got to try everything on to make sure everything fit, and if it didn't fit, they tailored it right there. ...
Q: Like what kind of clothing?
A: We got long-sleeved shirts, T-shirts, sweat shirts, shoes, pants, sweat pants. We got sunglasses, gloves, hats, everything. It was just so much stuff. They wanted us to look good. I agree with Mirai. It's pretty awesome. Great swag. And you can still wear it. It never goes out of style.
Q: So you still have all your stuff?
A: Oh, definitely. I try not to wear it because I'm afraid. I lose everything all the time and get holes in stuff. I don't want to ruin it, but I wear it a lot anyway.
Q: So is the Olympics the coolest thing or was worlds even cooler?
A: I think the Olympics were the best. It's all athletes, not just your own discipline, your own sport. You kind of get stuck in that when you just go to your own competitions. ... When you go to the Olympics and see everyone else is doing the same thing but they're competing in all these crazy things that look hard and you know they're looking at your sport and thinking that looks hard. But it's cool to be with other athletes and experience the highs and the lows and all the emotions going on.
Q: Growing up, the Olympics must have felt like the ultimate to you. Did it live up to your dreams?
A: It was more than I expected. You don't know what to expect, and then you're living it.
Q: Did it change you?
A: I don't know. It made me feel good about myself. It gave me a lot of experience to grow and learn. But I stayed the same, I guess.
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