Ice Skating

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With Adult Competition Series, U.S. Figure Skating Harnesses Grown-Ups’ Passion for the Sport

7 Mar, 2018

By: Michael Popke

With the Winter Olympics renewing interest in figure skating, it’s worth highlighting U.S. Figure Skating’s Adult Figure Skating Program for athletes 18 and older.

Skaters in six age groups will compete in the 2018 U.S. Adult Championships hosted by the Yarmouth Ice Club in Marlborough, Mass., from April 10-14.

While those annual championships have been happening since 1995, the national governing body last year introduced the Adult Competition Series, which culminates March 9-11 with three non-qualifying events associated with each of the three Adult Sectional championships: The  Eastern Sectional, hosted by the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society in Ardmore, Pennsylvania; the Midwestern Sectional, hosted by the ONYX-Suburban Skating Academy in Rochester, Michigan; and the Pacific Coast Sectional, hosted by the Pasadena Figure Skating Club in Pasadena, California.

Each sectional participant is allowed to skate in a maximum of four events, and the top four competitors in each qualifying event will advance to the championships.

The new ACS season, meanwhile, ran from July 1 to February 28 and included six age group categories: 18-20, 21-35, 36-45, 46-55, 56-65, and 66 and older.

“The Adult Competition Series was developed to provide a meaningful series of events for adult athletes in the Adult 1 through Adult Bronze levels, encouraging these skaters to enjoy a fun, yet competitive environment where they can experience the community of adult skating,” according to U.S. Figure Skating’s “2017-18 ACS Handbook.”

“Once you have the passion to be on the ice, it’s hard to let it go,” Donna Wunder, competition chair at the Yarmouth Ice Club, told The Saturday Evening Post, which recently profiled three ACS competitors, Wunder “thinks the resilience of adult figure skaters can be an inspiration to everyone. … Maybe that’s why these mature skaters have risked falls, concussions, and broken hips to dedicate hours of ice time to self-improvement,” according to the article.

Among the skaters the magazine profiled are Lisa Stevenson, a 50-year-old florist whose kids play hockey, andRebecca Hamlin, 33, who holds a Master’s degree in international politics and serves as chief of staff for Massachusetts State Rep. Timothy Whelan. As a youth competitor, Hamlin skated at the Tony Kent Arena, where Nancy Kerrigan and Paul Wylie trained for the Winter Olympics in the 1990s.

According to U.S. Figure Skating, the Adult Competition Series “supports the growth of adult competitive opportunities at the grassroots level. And it improves the financial viability of the adult sectional championships and other competitions that include events for adult athletes.”

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