Hard as Ice: What Goes Into Figure Skating

Sophomore Lexi Tingley during a practice session at Pegula Ice Arena.

Jon Kalbach

Sophomore Lexi Tingley during a practice session at Pegula Ice Arena.

Anjelica Rubin, staff writer

Figure skating is not all about pretty dresses and makeup. In fact, it is one of the toughest sports to master. Many scoff and underestimate the challenges of the ice, but the individuals who participate in the grueling sport tell a different story. From the public’s perspective, figure skating is often misconceived partially due to the pretty music and choreography. However, unlike their graceful and elegant programs, the ones bringing the performance to life are strong, tough and have tremendous work ethic.

“Skating is based on progress, you always have to work on new things,” said freshman Annie Gustafson, who has been skating since she was six years old, “[and] it helps to have a tight community like your friends and coaches who support you when things aren’t going right.” Skating can be really discouraging because of the risks you must be willing to take. Yet in the end what really matters is each individual’s love for the sport, and the dedication that is given to it”.

Balancing on a metal blade is daunting enough, but skaters fling themselves into complex footwork, patterns, spins, and jumps despite the challenges they face. It takes hand-eye coordination to just stand on the ice. Skaters often injure themselves while trying to improve.  The ice, about as soft as pavement can be painful to fall on without any protection. Along with falling comes the injuries, from bruises and bad bumps, to dislocations and broken bones, injuries are bound to happen.

Who would put their bodies through the pain, humiliation, and constant stress to land a jump or perform a consistent program? The people who feel satisfaction and pride in themselves when they finally get it right. Lexi Tingley, sophomore explained, “Though motivation may be lacking at times, it’s the mental part of skating that proves to be the most challenging. It must develop from each skaters positive self affirmations, and I think that’s why skating is so misinterpreted in the world of sports. It’s not as easy as it looks”.