With brushes and blow dryers, stylists go for gold - FOX 13 News

With brushes and blow dryers, stylists go for gold

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Seems like we just watched Team USA bring home the gold from the Olympics in London. But did you know the 2012 Hair Olympics is about to start in Italy?

The best of the best from the world of hair styling worldwide will go head to head in Milan.

Two of this year's competitors are from St. Petersburg, and the third flew in from Seattle recently to do an exhibition at Sunshine State Academy in Clearwater.

It was a rare chance for the entire team to get together with their trainer from Orlando and do a demonstration in front of a live audience.

Trainer Dale Dees, of Orlando, says the competition in Milan will be fierce.

"This team is going to have to comb the best they've ever combed in their entire lives," Dees said.

Dees knows because he's been there. He won gold in 2008, and says he'll never forget it.

"That feeling, I can remember like it was yesterday, to hold the flag, to hear the national anthem being played was phenomenal," he recalled.

Palm Harbor stylist Flora Linton is hoping to experience that for herself. She's won before as a member of the men's team, but this will be her first for Team USA.

"It's kind of crazy to think that I'm going to be wearing red, white and blue for the United States and there's only three of us in this category. I'm still overwhelmed by it all," Linton said.

Linton has been training nights, weekends and days off with her teammate from St. Petersburg, who's also a veteran, with the medals to prove it.

Brook Lawson wants people to know they are as serious about their competition as what we see every four years on TV.

"It's just like going to the Olympics, only for hair dressing. We train just like an athlete would train," Lawson said.

We got to watch them in action, doing a timed trial. They'll have 18 minutes to do the best up-do of their lives. With Dees manning the stopwatch, and students changing "USA," and applauding encouragement, the team clipped and combed and sprayed.

Team USA member Elena Basmova of Washington says when the clock's running, they tune everything else out.

"You need to concentrate on your models and your future style and just do what you do," Basmova said.

The models don't just sit there and get styled. They're part of the competition. All the stylists say their models are watching and thinking ahead, handing them clips and hair spray and accessories. Every second counts.

"5,4,3,2,1..." A huge cheer goes up. Team USA is done and the models are ready to pose. The judges inspect their work from every angle.

Dale Dees likes what he sees. He thinks this team has the best chance the United States had in years. Dees sounds confident.

"We are bringing home the gold."

Team USA left today for Milan and will compete on October 7th and 8th.

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