Her picture is on the entrance doors of the Xcel Energy Center and a huge video of last year's winning national championship performance adorns the side of the arena on the corner of West 7th Street and Kellogg Boulevard.

But just show up with a wrongly issued credential and being Kimmie Meissner isn't enough to get inside for practice without some heavy-duty scrutiny.


"That's me," the Bel Air teen said to security personnel, pointing at one of her many likenesses. "I'm Kimmie Meissner. Really."

Really, indeed. Who else would want to be outside these days, where the morning temperature registers below zero and the wind chill subtracts from that. (The state motto is "L'Etoile du Nord," which reliable sources tell me translates to, "Flesh sticks to metal.")

After several minutes of wrangling, Meissner is allowed to go in and warm up for her 40-minutes of ice time.

Her identity crisis extends to the Internet. Despite having a password, she has been foiled in her attempts to log onto icenetwork.com, a product of U.S. Figure Skating, to watch video of U.S. men's champion Evan Lysacek.

"I wrote to them, 'I'm one of the skaters. I'm Kimmie Meissner.' I feel kind of silly," she said, grinning sheepishly.

There's been little publicity for her, but that's been of her own choosing. She's been ducking the press as she prepares to defend her title, taking a page from the Turin Olympic playbook of Sasha Cohen, who did her best Greta Garbo in the days leading up to competition.

However, Meissner's identity crisis ended at the Figure Skating Club of Minneapolis, which invited her to practice for free. Surrounded by admiring young skaters, Meissner seemed like her old self.