November 5, 2020

I’m the one in the red hat.

I’m an adult, competitive figure skater, so of course I watched the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on January 6-7, 2018. These elite skaters are incredible. The speed, intensity, focus, and ability is mindboggling. There were surprises, exultations, disappointment. Some costumes twinkled as if lit by a million fireflies and others were somber, monochromatically dramatic. Watching them energized me, inspired me. February will bring the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and I will follow those skaters chosen to participate with fingers crossed for perfect programs and medals.

The thought of medals brings me back to my own skating. Adult skaters have their own national championships. We are divided by gender, ability level, and age brackets. In 2015, at 58, I began my fourth year as a competitive skater and I participated in my first U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championship. I entered two events: Ladies Bronze IV Freeskate and Bronze IV Light Entertainment. My first time and I won a bronze medal for my freeskate and a silver for my light entertainment. As we received our medals a man spoke from the small crowd surrounding us, “You are all national medalists and no one can take that away from you.” My heart skipped a beat as I realized I was one of a select few older adult skaters who sweated and struggled to achieve something I believed was reserved for young athletes.

I’m still in awe of someone who can land a quadruple-anything jump. Heck, more than one revolution is crazy for me to consider! Yet, I’m proud of my accomplishments.

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