CHS figure skaters, former U.S. figure skater elaborate on physicality, commitment needed for success in figure skating
December 12, 2019
While winter is the only time to ice skate for most students, for junior Kendall Erne, it’s a year-round activity. As a competitive ice skater, Erne skates two to four hours per day, six days per week. On top of these practices, she competes once or twice per month.
“I compete a lot. I usually compete five or six months out of the year and typically do one or two competitions a month,” Erne said. “Most of my competitions are out-of-state in places like Michigan, Ohio and, most recently, Texas.”
Erne started when she was 5 years old; however, she had an interest in skating since the age of 3.
“When I was really little, I just saw it on TV and I really liked it, so I stuck with it,” Erne said.
Now, many years later, Erne just placed second in the U.S. Figure Skating Midwestern Great Lakes Regional Challenge, which qualified her for the Sectionals Final.
“It’s the highest level of competition for my level,” Erne said. “At this competition, the top four placed skaters of each level advance to the Midwestern Sectionals Final, which is the highest level competition for my level in the country. I placed second at Regionals and eighth out of 18 at the Sectional Final.”
Erne said she attributes her success in skating to her physical training.
Floyd Johnson, Carmel Ice Skadium manager and former U.S. pairs figure skater, also agreed that ice skating had a large athletic aspect.
Additionally, Johnson said there is a mental aspect to skating.
“Your mind is a huge thing because you need to remember the process of (going) step-by-step in a routine,” Johnson said. “When you’re putting someone in the air (when pairs skating), you are showcasing the girl like a pedestal, (so) you have to make sure they are safe. That starts with being strong mentally.
To prepare herself both mentally and physically, Erne said she has a pre-competition routine.
“I shake my hands around and yawn to get more oxygen to my lungs and to calm me down to calm my nerves before competition,” Erne said. “To stretch, I do a few things like the splits, and I slowly try to stretch my back out more, so I can do better spin positions.”
Right now, when Erne is practicing or performing, she said her favorite move is the triple toe loop.
“They are my newest jump element,” Erne said. “To do a triple toe loop, you pick into the ice with the left toe pick, jump in the air, complete three revolutions and land on the right back outside edge.”
While Erne’s favorite trick is the triple toe loop, skater and sophomore Emily Hu said her favorite is the split jump.
Hu said, “It’s a simple jump; however, there are many variations to it. You skate forward and then turn to pick and do a half rotation while your hands go straight into the air above your head. Your legs would be going into the splits and you land forward. This jump can be done in many ways and showcases the flexibility of a skater.”
Unlike Erne, Hu started ice skating between fourth and fifth grade, but similar to Erne, she also skates in competitions.
“I compete every couple months. It really depends on the location of the competition,” Hu said. “I’ve been to many states to compete. The furthest I’ve been (is) Florida for the National excel series, and (I) placed second in my group.”
For both Erne and Hu, they said they ice skate because they have fun and enjoy it. Also, Erne said she enjoys ice skating because of the freedom she feels.
“I just like that it’s kind of a free sport (and that) you can just go out and do whatever you want. You can do a ton of cool jumps and spins, and it’s really unique,” Erne said. “My favorite part about skating is the freedom that it gives me because I get to do such unique things.”
Read about the Ice at Center Green skating rink at the Christkindlmarkt here.