After finishing fourth in the ice dancing competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships last year, Santa Rosa's Kim Navarro tripped and fell during the awards ceremony, a spill she blamed on her excitement.
Following her performance Saturday at the U.S. Championships with partner Brent Bommentre, Navarro wasn't just excited. She was fighting to choke back tears.
In what she termed the highlight of her career, Navarro, 26, and Bommentre, 23, finished third at the U.S. Championships in St. Paul, Minn. Their rewards? A bronze medal -- and a trip to the World Championships in March in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The trip to Worlds will be a first for Navarro and Bommentre, who began their partnership in 2005 and were alternates on the 2006 Olympic team.
"This is at the top. This is a dream come true," said Navarro, her voice cracking during a phone interview Saturday night. "I never thought we'd be on the world team."
But the duo realized their dream thanks to a smooth free-dance performance Saturday that allowed them to retain their hold on third place in the three-day competition.
Navarro and Bommentre skated to Led Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Loving You," sung by Corinne Bailey Rae.
"We were both pretty nervous," said Navarro, a graduate of El Molino High. "It was almost scary out there. But I just tried to stay calm and think, 'We do this every day.' "
Navarro, who graduated cum laude from Columbia University, trains in Delaware and Pennsylvania, but manages to visit Santa Rosa several times a year. Her mom, Lisa, a former professional pair skater, still teaches at Snoopy's Home Ice in Santa Rosa.
But on Saturday night, about an hour after her competition ended, Navarro wasn't thinking about coming back home. She was thinking about Sweden.
First, however, she needed to navigate the awards ceremony.
"I'm getting nervous," she said. "I don't want to trip again."
You can reach Staff Writer Eric Branch at 521-5268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.