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The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

The Wolf

The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

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Jordan Anderson
Staff Writer

Competitive world of ice skating is much more than holiday tradition

Art+by+Sam+Dunn
Art by Sam Dunn

As people begin to dress in puffy coats and decorate their homes with festive lights, families flock to their local skating rinks. It’s been a holiday tradition for families since the 1800s. For some, it is more than just a once-a-year thing for fun; it’s what they dedicate their entire lives to.

Figure skating is extremely tiring and demanding on the body. It’s a sport in which athletes push their bodies to their limits, comparable only to other sports like ballet and gymnastics. Beginner to professional skaters spend almost every day at local rinks, despite long drives and expensive fees. Skaters put up with the extreme cold in the hopes they can one day compete against hundreds of others skaters who are just as talented.

If you enter the rink this holiday season, it is advised you wear tights, pants, hats, gloves and layers of sweaters to keep warm. Intermediate skaters, on the other hand, only feel warmth in minimal attire by frequently keeping themselves moving during their session. When skaters fall– which happens very frequently – they are left with snow clinging to thin and tight clothes. 

As a figure skater myself, I have just learned to become accustomed to the cold. The temperature conditions and fatigue that come with figure skating are less than ideal, but skaters can always learn to adjust. 

Age is an entirely different struggle, as people can never grow younger and, therefore, become more reckless. Olympic-level figure skaters began at a young age to be conditioned to land jumps before their muscles are fully developed. The younger you are, the less awareness you have about the dangers that come from this challenging sport. 

It’s difficult to feel hopeful about beating the odds and successfully becoming a professional figure skater when the current world champions are barely out of high school. 17-year-old U.S. figure skater Ilia Malinin was the first person to ever land a quad axel, a move thought to be impossible with its 4 ½ rotations in the air landed on a single blade. 

It was only in the late ‘80s to early ‘90s that skaters like Midori Ito and Tonya Harding accomplished the impossible feat of landing a triple axel. They were both adults when landing the jump.

  It’s as if figure skating is seeking younger and younger people. However, this is not something that should deter new skaters from trying. There is “Learn to Skate” at Sherwood Ice Arena for teenagers and adults that anyone can join, even if you’ve never stood on the ice before. Learning the basics may help you show off in front of your family, or it could spark a passion that can someday take you to Nationals.

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Daisy Valencia, Staff Writer

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