Staying Sharp on the Ice


Junior Mary Kiray figure skates competitively

When did you first start figure skating and why did you decide to participate in?
My grandma tried to force us to the classes. I was doing it with my sisters, but they quit since they didn’t like it but I stayed and have been doing it for 11 years now.

What is your favorite part of ice skating?
My favorite is ice dancing, which is like ballroom dancing, but on ice. There are a total of about 20 ice dances, like tangos, waltzes, and you have a set pattern that you have to learn and compete in that level, then test to move on to the next level.

Where have you competed recently?
I just got back from a competition in Colorado. I was there for five days. It was the first ever solo ice dancing competition.

What do the judges look for at a figure skating competition?
They judge you on your overall technique, on how well you perform each individual task and then they judge you on your artistic interpretation of the music and your outfit. For technique, like jumps, if you don’t land right, if you don’t point your toe, if you over-rotate, if it doesn’t look smooth, you get deducted.

What is your practice routine?
I take a couple of laps around, stretch, get warmed up, then I go through spins and go over all my dances. I repeat that over and over again for practice.

What would you normally wear while figure skating?
When I practice, I just wear a practice skirt, tights, gloves and a jacket. When I compete I have about six different dresses. Some of them are long, since for ice dancing you have to wear long dresses to your knee, and then for freestyle you would wear a really short dress, which is what you usually see figure skaters in.

What are your plans for ice skating after high school?
I’ve been competing almost all my life, but I don’t want it to become a profession. Right now I teach ice skating, and I’m probably just going to teach after this along with something else. I’ll do it in college, but I’ll probably just teach my four-year olds as a part-time job afterwards.

What famous figure skaters you admire?
I admire figure skaters my age who are going out and competing in the senior levels of figure skating and the Olympics, such as Rachel Flatt. They have school and everything, but they still practice a lot of hours every day. By Caroline Zhang <[email protected]>