In all my 50 plus years of skating, I have never experienced so much joy of skating as what goes on at the World Figure & Fancy Skating Championships & Festival. During the week of September 26 through September 29, 2019, I attended the event for the fourth time. It is really like no other event in skating.
Here’s an example: Olympic Figure Skating Champion Dorothy Hamill is part of the event, but instead of her being tucked away in an inaccessible V.I.P. area, she is available for every attendee. Dorothy will chat with whoever is there, but of course, will take the time to smile for a photo with her fans. I’m impressed that she even tells those who pose for pictures with her that if they don’t like the photo, she will pose for more pictures.
Dorothy was also doing official duties such as judging and refereeing and she gave out awards. She worked hard alongside other volunteers. Other famous skating “greats” were present including the legendary Donald Jackson and Gary Visconti. In 2018, Richard Dwyer delighted everyone with a re-creation of his famous Dwyer Girls number just before the Fancy Skating competition and although he is over 80 years old, did two Axels!
The famous people present are not the only thing that makes this unique skating event special though; there is a shared joy of what skating is about. Although the skaters who win become World Figure & Fancy Skating Champions, the beautiful tracings that get drawn on the special black ice show off what a blade can do. I’ve never seen so many skaters and competitors smiling and hugging!
The fancy skating portion of the competition was a delight to watch since the emphasis wasn’t on landing multi-revolution jumps, but on skating quality and beauty.
It was almost shocking to see the original figures skated. I didn’t know that creations done with blades can become art. In addition, the new figures that the World Figure Society has added are so fun to do.
I take part each year in the Festival part of the event which means I’m there to support the competitors and the World Figure Society, but to also have fun and learn on my own. This year, my daughter Rebekah, who is on break from her ice show tour, joined me on a morning patch.
“Mom, I’m going to practice the unique figures I learned when I am on tour,” Rebekah told me. “I’m really excited about figures now!”
Rebekah and I did what I call challenging and fun figures together on side by side patches like a double three-bracket, a small sized double three loop, a small sized serpentine that included rockers and three turns, and a full size serpentine that included a counter and a bracket. Also, on two different mornings, I laid out forward outside and inside eights while wearing my ice hockey skates on the black ice.
I encourage everyone who skates or loves skating to consider attending the World Figure & Fancy Skating Championships & Festival. It will give you a boost and also inspire you to be part of what truly is ice skating joy.
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