Saturday, March 15, 2008

Adult Figure Skating Championships Slated

Fifteen years ago, figure skaters over the age of 21 were out of luck as far as competitions go. Deemed too old to compete on any other circuit, organizers with the U.S. Figure Skating Program Development Committee got together to plan the first ever U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships, which were held a year later in Wilmington, Delaware in 1995.

In its first year, 421 skaters showed up for the four-day event — only 100 had been expected. Competitors are divided by age, then into three skill levels — gold, silver and bronze — and finally as “masters” (those who have competed and passed tests as children) and “adults” (those who began to skate later in life). Events include singles, pairs, ice dancing and “interpretive,” where the emphasis is on the skaters presentation.

At age 80, Lake Placid resident and figure skater Barbara Kelly has competed in all but four championships and made her interpretive debut at the 1995 event dressed as a turkey and skating to “Turkey in the Straw.”

Kelly traveled to Delaware with her friend Shirley Seney who, through networking, exhaustive promotion of the Olympic Center’s three ice rinks and a letter of intent to woo the judges and officials, lured the championships to Lake Placid. This year’s event marks the fifth U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships to be held in the Olympic Village.

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