The World of Figure Skating

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Photo borrowed from time.com

Photo borrowed from time.com

Jamie Squire

Jamie Squire

Photo borrowed from time.com

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Figure skating is a sport demanding of great effort and attentive dedication. Although I have not thought much about this beautiful sport recently, my aspirations when I was much younger were focused on pursuing figure skating. Unfortunately, this dream died pretty fast, and I stopped skating for quite a long time; however, for others, figure skating is a passion they have actively followed for many years. To many of them, this sport is inspiring, motivating, and much more than a simple hobby. Figure skating is what helps them find inspiration and develop their purpose in life.

I do not know much about figure skating, but I do have a close friend who has been ice skating for most of her life. Ashley Gaskin (ACP senior) has spoken to me on multiple occasions about her involvement in ice skating. Interested in learning more about her experience with ice skating, I asked Ashley to allow me to interview her in order to become more informed on her exposure to this rigorous sport:

Ashley Gaskin is photographed to the right of this image

Q: How long have you been ice skating?

A: “I have been ice skating for 9 years.”

Q: What rink do you practice at? How long have you been there?

A: “I practice at two rinks: Ice Den Chandler and AZ Ice Gilbert. However, I do not belong to the clubs adjoined to either of them. I am actually involved in the Santa Fe Figure Skating Club, which represents the Genoveva Chavez Community Center Ice Arena. I train in the summer at Sun Valley, Idaho where one outdoor rink and one indoor rink is provided. I have been training every summer there since 2013. I began skating at AZ Ice Gilbert when I was 8 years old. I continued until I was 12, and then switched to Ice Den Chandler as my primary rink.

Photograph of one of the ice rink where Ashley practices 

Q: How often do you practice each week?

A: “I currently practice three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). I skate from 5:45 am to 7:00 am on those days, which allows me to practice 3 hours and 45 minutes a week.”

Q: How do you find the motivation to practice as much as you do?

A: “Honestly, I feel like I should be practicing more. But, there is definitely an upward and downward spiral with motivation. Sometimes, you want to crawl into yourself because it has taken for what seems like forever to land a perfect jump or a correct spin, especially when the people around you appear to have everything figured out. Nevertheless, I’ve learned that everyone is working on something different to make themselves better. What I may be good at, someone else may be struggling with. We all have our struggles and accomplishments, something I find intriguing about this sport. I find it interesting that figure skating is challenging for me, yet it serves as my primary form of motivation. This has challenged not only my physical ability, but my mental state, as well. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered something that tests my determination and level of mental security like figure skating.”

Something which should be noted is that figure skating is not only a passion that challenges young individuals out there, but is also a career many can pursue. Ice skaters can decide to go beyond their local ice rink and follow into competition level. Not many of our students follow figure skating; however, what should be known is that one former ACP student recently accomplished an achievement remarkable and notable in the ice skating world. Ashley was kind enough to tell me more about this student:

Q: I heard about a previous ACP student who won the The Grand Prix of Figure Skating. Can you tell me a little bit about him and his accomplishment?

Clément Bucco-Lechat
Photograph of Camden Pulkinen

A: “Camden Pulkinen, who was an ACP student from 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, recently entered the ISU Junior Grand Prix for the third time in his skating career. Currently, the season of the Junior Grand Prix is still in session, and the skaters qualified for the Final have not been chosen yet.

“However, Camden competed in the short program and the free skate at the Austria competition and won gold. This means he can potentially qualify for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final. In his past years, Camden was the ISU Junior Grand Prix 2017 Silver Medalist, two time JGP Austria Champion, and the 2018 Junior National Champion. I also believe he ranked second in the 2018 Junior Grand Prix competition.”

Q: What is the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating exactly?

A: “The Junior Grand Prix is hosted by the International Skating Union (ISU). This is where skaters from around the world compete at the Junior level. It is followed up by the Junior Grand Prix Final where the winner of figure skating is determined.”

Q: How does this competition work?

A: “The Junior Grand Prix mimics the Grand Prix of Figure Skating in which skaters compete at the top level (Senior). At the end of the Junior Grand Prix, the top six of each group—Men’s, Women’s, Pairs, and Ice Dancing—compete against each other at the Junior Grand Prix Final.”

I find those who pursue figure skating incredible and extremely talented. Moving on ice is already difficult enough to do for many people. This emphasizes how skilled ice skaters really are. They are able to perform and dance while maintaining balance and composure throughout their entire event, which is an extraordinary task to accomplish. I applaud everyone who takes part in this intense sport and definitely encourage people out there to follow Camden as he enters different competitions.

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