While figure skating may capture the attention of millions of Americans during the Winter Olympics, some students are dedicating themselves to the sport all year, regardless of Team USA.
Figure skating includes competitive synchronized skating, but some skaters also participate in performances such as “Nutcracker on Ice,” which the Webster Groves Ice Rink puts on every year during the holiday season.
Senior Sofia Kattentidt explained she has been figure skating since she was eight years old. She said she mainly participates in performances such as “Nutcracker on Ice,” or most recently, “It’s a Wonderful Life on Ice,” which the Webster Groves Ice Rink put on in July.
Performances include weeks of practice leading up to the show and a dress rehearsal– all of it leading up to the actual show. “I haven’t done drama, or acted in shows, but I feel like that’s [what performances] feel like,” Kattentidt said.
On the other hand, synchronized skating, otherwise known as “Synchro,” includes five out-of-state competitions per year. The team travels together, competing in front of judges.
“[Competitions] are very professional-feeling. We have unofficial practice ice, and official practice ice in front of judges, then we complete our two programs,” senior Josie Buescher explained.
Competition season is November through March, but practices run year-round.
Competitive skating includes team practices that are up to three and a half hours, consisting of a half hour warmup, two hours practicing on the ice and then an hour practicing off the ice. Skaters end up spending twenty plus hours skating a week.
When skaters practice alone, the timing is a lot more sporadic, lasting from half an hour to two hours. Kattentidt shared that while practices are fun, they can also be frustrating. “You want to be good at something automatically, so when you’re not, it’s frustrating,” she said.
Skaters tend to practice at the Webster Groves Ice Rink, but rinks in Brentwood, Kirkwood and Creve Couer are also common practice locations.
Despite the level of commitment that it requires, students still say that figure skating doesn’t get the same level of attention as other sports.
Buescher said she started competitively skating when she was 10, but recently had to retire from competitive skating due to a foot injury.
“Figure skating doesn’t get enough credit, although it is starting to,” Buescher said. She explained that since figure skating is a sport one has to start at a young age; it’s not school sponsored– which can cause the misconception that it isn’t a sport.
Injuries are common among skaters. “Almost all [competitive] skaters have had a significant injury,” Buescher said. She explained that most skaters finish out the season while skating through their injury and going to physical therapy afterwards. “Coming back can be very frustrating because it feels like a lot of progress is lost,” she added.
All routines go to music, regardless of whether it’s a performance or a competition. The music can be classical or even pop– Katentidt said her favorite was “Dance of the Flutes” from “The Nutcracker”, but Buescher said that performing to “California Dreaming” by Sia in 2019 was her favorite routine.
About why they figure skating, both Kattentidt and Buescher agreed it was the feeling of performing. “It’s like how people are with running, you can just lose yourself in it and not think about anything else,” Kattentidt said.
This will be Hadley Hoskin’s first year on ECHO Staff, but she also made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.