Archive | May, 2013

Oklahoma Strong

28 May

Members of the figure skating community rally to support the victims of last week’s storms  

By Mimi Whetstone

May 20, 2013, started like any other day. Residents of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area began their daily routines under the watchful eye of local meteorologists, as several factors were expected to cause storms throughout the area that evening. What no one expected, however, were the events that followed that afternoon.

“The tornado had hit the ground hard beginning in Newcastle, about 45 minutes away, heading northeast,” Jackie Brenner, skating director and administrative manager at Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Edmond, Okla., recalled. “Moore is the main community south of Oklahoma City where our south side arena, Blazers Ice Centre, home of Sooner Skating Club (SC), is located. It is approximately 10 minutes south of our home. It was horribly devastating. Our community gets out of school at 3:20 p.m. and the tornado hit Moore hard just past 3 p.m. It’s terrible that all the children were still in school and parents at work.”

The storm killed 24 people, including nine children, and was estimated to be 1.3 miles wide with peak winds ranging from 200 to 210 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Approximately 2,400 homes were destroyed in the cities of Moore and Oklahoma City, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, and the twister was registered as an EF5, the most powerful category of tornadoes.

“Many of my athletes’ families are from Moore, but to my knowledge, no Oklahoma figure skaters were directly impacted,” Brenner said. “I’m still reaching out to the hockey community, but have yet to hear that any ice families were directly affected.”

In the days following the tragedy, Oklahoma’s figure skating community rallied to help those who weren’t as fortunate in escaping the storm’s destructive path.

“Pat Young (manager at Arctic Edge Ice Arena) and I coordinated a drop-off point for donations at Arctic Edge West arena all last week,” Brenner said. “This was an opportunity for individuals to drop off donations locally as traffic patterns on the south side of town were limiting.”

Blazers Ice Centre in Oklahoma City, Okla., located just 10 minutes north of Moore, is accepting donations as well, and is specifically looking to collect items such as towels, washcloths, trash bags, tarps, work gloves and tools.

In addition to accepting and delivering donations, members of the Oklahoma City Figure Skating Club (OKCFSC) and Arctic Edge Ice Arena collected help for Operation BBQ Relief, a non-profit organization established in 2011 following the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo., to provide compassion and meals for victims of natural disasters, while others volunteered their time to assist with the clean-up process.

“My daughter, Ciana, spent time with her dad picking up debris, etc. around two homes in Bethel Acres with our church volunteers,” Barbara Higgs, president of the OKCFSC, said. “Her first comment to me, via text message, read ‘How depressing’ as they passed by the areas to get where they were going. She was finding pictures and toys out in bushes and yards which makes you think about who these people were and what they lost.”

The OKCFSC, Sooner SC and Tulsa FSC are working together to host a blanket drive for the temporary housing set up for victims in the University of Oklahoma dormitories. Oilers Ice Center in Tulsa, Okla., offered free public skating with the donation of a blanket over Memorial Day weekend and the Tulsa FSC continues to sell “Pray for Oklahoma” T-shirts for $15 on their website (, with all proceeds going directly to those affected by the storm. Several additional fundraising events are in the works, including a possible exhibition benefit and Skate for Moore fundraiser.

“We are seeing what we can manage in order to do ice show or exhibition to raise money for tornado relief,” Higgs said. “The board has not met on this yet, but the show or exhibition would be something later down the road. The victims of this storm will have needs for a long time.”

“I have heard several people say they’ve cut down what is needed as far as supplies for now,” Higgs continued. “I feel that giving toys to the kids affected would be difficult with so many displaced, but maybe we can collect toys later, once people are getting back into their homes. We could also send school supplies before school starts back up in August. Various ideas come to mind, but we will discuss them as a board at our next meeting and decide how we want to proceed further.”

As families sort through piles of debris and look forward to a long and arduous rebuilding process, the people of Oklahoma, including its figure skaters, continue to stand behind those affected and provide support however possible. Those wanting to help are encouraged to purchase shirts from, take donated items to Blazers Ice Centre and continue to look for future efforts on behalf of the figure skating community through the OKCFSC (, Arctic Edge Ice Arena (, the Tulsa FSC and the Sooner SC (

“Oklahoma City is not the most beautiful part of the country, but the people are truly extraordinary,” Brenner said. “Blessed are we to raise our children in a city that pulls together in tragedy.”

Photos provided by Barbara Higgs

California arena renews partnership with Olympic coach Frank Carroll

28 May

The Toyota Sports Center of El Segundo, Calif., announced last week it will renew its longtime partnership with Olympic coach Frank Carroll this month, with Carroll and his elite skaters training at the facility for the upcoming Olympic season.

Photo courtesy of  Linda Leaver

Photo courtesy of Linda Leaver

Carroll is the only figure skating coach to hold the title of “Olympic Coach of the Year,” coaching students to Olympic medals, 11 World titles and numerous U.S. titles. His extensive list of champions includes Michelle Kwan, Christopher Bowman, Tiffany Chin, Timothy Goebel, Evan Lysacek, Jennifer Kirk, Mirai Nagasu, Denis Ten  and Carolina Kostner.  In addition to his impressive list of students, Carroll has been inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating, World Figure Skating, Professional Skaters Association and International Skating Institute halls of fame.

“Our figure skating department is thrilled to have the return of this elite level of training,” Juliette Harton, director of skating at the Toyota Sports Center, said. “It raises the level of excellence in everything we do and the new energy is inspiring. Mr. Carroll brings strong, respected leadership to a superb staff deep with Olympic-, World- and national-level coaches.”

More AAC gala photos

20 May

Here are more behind-the-scenes photos from at the Athletes Advisory Committee gala fundraiser, which took place at the World Arena during 2013 Governing Council in Colorado Springs, Colo. Coverage of Governing Council, including photos, fun facts and action items, will be featured in the June/July issue of SKATING magazine.

Photos by Mia Tolleson

Thirty-three Americans Compete at 2013 ISU Adult Figure Skating Competition

18 May

By Lexi Rohner

Thirty-three adult figure skaters represented the United States last week at the ninth International Adult Figure Skating Competition in Oberstdorf, Germany. Hosted by Deutsche Eislauf-Union and held at Eislaufzentrum Oberstdorf, the event boasted the largest participation in its history with 332 skaters from 25 countries entered in free skate, interpretive, ice dancing and pairs competitions. The event also included seven synchronized skating teams.

U.S. athletes compete in 25 events (46 starts) in ladies, men’s, pairs and ice dancing.

Developed in 2005 by Rhea Schwartz and the late Paula Smart, both former chairs of U.S. Figure Skating’s Adult Skating Committee, along with Switzerland’s Wolfgang Stummer and France’s Barbara Standke, the event is the only ISU-sanctioned adult competition. Skaters range in age from 28-78.

Of note is the repeat appearance of Midori Ito, the 1989 World champion, 1992 Olympic silver medalist and the first woman to land a triple-triple combination and a triple Axel in competition. At the 1988 Calgary Olympics, Ito became the first woman to land seven triple jumps in a free program.

This year both face stiffer competition for the title from five additional skaters from the U.S. and Germany.

“Oberstdorf is a wonderful venue with two rinks, and is loaded with skating history,” said Schwartz, likening its charm to Lake Placid.

Activities include Program Component and Technical Component seminars, on-ice Opening Ceremonies (held on ice) Tuesday night and a final banquet to be held Saturday night.

Main page:

Results page:

Facebook page:

Eissportzentrum Obertsdorf:



Leslie Amacker (Masters (Elite) Ladies II Free Skating; Masters Ladies I + II Artistic Free Skating)

Brandy Lokken (Silver Ladies I Free Skating; Silver Ladies I Artistic Free Skating)

Elizabeth McGlauflin (Masters (Elite) Ladies II Free Skating; Masters Ladies I + II Artistic Free Skating)

Jennifer JONES (Masters Ladies I + II Artistic Free Skating)

Diane STEWART (Silver Ladies II Artistic Free Skating)

Sherri HICKS (Masters (Elite) Ladies II Free Skating; Masters Ladies I + II Artistic Free Skating)

Colleen HUBER (Gold Ladies III Free Skating)

Maureen CARRIGAN (Silver Ladies II Free Skating; Silver Ladies II Artistic Free Skating)

Jill EMERICK (Silver Ladies II Free Skating; Silver Ladies II Artistic Free Skating)

Mary BULLOCK (Silver Ladies III Free Skating)

Monique LAGNERIUS (Bronze Ladies II Free Skating; Bronze Ladies II Artistic Free Skating)

Priscilla HEATON (Masters (Elite) Ladies II Free Skating; Masters Ladies I + II Artistic Free Skating)

Brenda WITTMAN (Masters (Elite) Ladies II Free Skating; Masters Ladies I + II Artistic Free Skating)

Rachael CRIM (Gold Ladies I Free Skating; Gold Ladies I Artistic Free Skating)

Terryl Lee ALLEN (Bronze Ladies III Free Skating)

Susan PUGH (Bronze Ladies III Free Skating; Bronze Ladies III Artistic Free Skating)

Trisha HESSINGER (Masters (Elite) Ladies III + IV Artistic Free Skating)


Jorge De Lima (Gold Men II + III Free Skating; Gold Men I + II + III Artistic Free Skating)

Kris FIDLER-BALLARD (Gold Men I Free Skating)

Alan EMERICK (Gold Men II + III Free Skating)

Ross LUXTON (Gold Men II + III Free Skating; Gold Men I + II + III Artistic Free Skating)

Ian CATINDIG (Silver Men I Free Skating; Silver Men I Artistic Free Skating)

Jose HINOJOS (Silver Men I Free Skating; Silver Men I Artistic Free Skating)





Trisha HESSINGER / Chuen-Gun LEE (Masters (Elite) Pattern Dance; Masters (Elite) Free Dance)

Laura FANTARELLA / Oleg VOYKO (Masters (Elite) Pattern Dance)

Jisun BARTELS / Oleg VOYKO (Masters (Elite) Free Dance)

Alicja GALA / S.K. LEONG (Ice Dance Bronze Pattern Dance)

Elizabeth ELLSWORTH / Oleg VOYKO (Masters (Elite) + Adult Short Dance)

World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame Photo Tour

8 May

The World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame is located on the first floor of U.S. Figure Skating’s Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. and is the international repository for the sport of figure skating. The only institution of its kind in the world, the Museum is dedicated exclusively to the preservation and interpretation of the history of figure skating. Join us below for a tour of the museum in photos and captions. Thanks to Karen Cover for contributing to this project.

2013 AAC Gala in Photos

7 May

On Saturday night at Governing Council, the Athletes Advisory Committee held a gala fundraising event. Here are pictures taken of the event courtesy of Chuck Bigger for U.S. Figure Skating.

SKATING magazine – April Issue

6 May

Click on the cover to view the entire digital version of the April SKATING magazine.

2013  april cover


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