As a long time figure skating fan and enthusiast, and now more recently as an aspiring adult competitive figure skater myself (yep – started at age 59,) my love for this sport is deepening. And now I am even more excited about the recently announced “Get Up” campaign from the US Figure Skating Association. The main theme is that, in all aspects of our lives, we may fall, but the more times we get up and persevere, the stronger we become.
Figure Skating is a tough sport! (link to article) It may look smooth and glamorous, but those falls on that hard ice are brutal to the body and soul. But there is a lesson here that we can apply to our personal, athletic and even business lives – that when we fall, instead of just lying there feel sorry for ourselves, we need to pick ourselves up, learn from our mistake or from the challenge we were presented, and continue toward our goal.
Here are several examples of skaters (including myself) who picked ourselves up after a fall and continued on to become stronger.
• The first example shared in the December 2016 US Figure Skating Magazine was from 4-time US Champion Jeremy Abbott’s appearance at the 2014 Olympics. He had an extremely hard fall and devastating crash into the boards, but after 13 agonizing seconds picked himself up and completed his short program.
• And then there is one of my favorites, 2016 US Men’s Champion Adam Rippon. After being our 2012 silver medalist, Adam was training hard and primed for his dream of making the 2014 Olympic team, but those dreams were shattered as he fell to his worst finish ever at nationals at eighth. Many skaters would call it quits after that disappointment, but Adam resolved to train harder than ever, winning his first Senior National title in 2016 and then making his first Grand Prix final that Fall.
• Two of my favorite female skaters are Mirai Nagasu and Ashley Wagner. After finish third at US Nationals in 2014 and then be shockingly omitted from our Olympic Team, Mirai took the disappointment with maturity and grace and continue to train hard and improve, and continues to delight fans with her beautiful programs. And Ashley Wagner has had many ups and down in long career, and now as the oldest US female competitor finished second at 2016 Worlds, ending the USA’s ten year drought of winning a ladies’ world medal.
• And not only adults, but young teens can exhibit the guts of coming back from a major fall. Early last year, I wrote of such a young man in what became my fifth most read blog of 2016. Featuring a young teen with great determination, “Lessons from a Young Teen” asks my readers how would they handle going from second place to second from the bottom in one year in a sports competition. This inspirational short piece shares how a young figure skating athlete handled this challenge.
• And finally in my own life. I started figure skating at age 59 and had just passed my first two tests and preparing to enter a major competition in Atlanta. But in August, I fractured my hip. But that is not going to stop me; after being on crutches most of August and September, I am back on the ice and just skated in our local club’s Christmas exhibition, and now preparing to compete in the Eastern USA Adult Sectionals in March.
I do hope this “Get Up” campaign from US Figure Skating touches many people and resonates with everyone since this important lesson of getting up after a tough time applies in all aspects of life – personally, professionally and of course in sports!