Adult Figure Skaters – Inspirational Stories of “Getting Up” after Illness and Injury (Part 1)

As a long time figure skating fan and enthusiast, and now more recently as an aspiring adult competitive figure skater myself, 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.

Last month, I began a monthly blog series on this topic, publishing an introduction with several figure skating examples (link), and this month I will feature adult skaters who overcame physical challenges. In March I plan to write about people “getting up” after career falls, and I have several more adult skater “get up” stories that I will feature in April. I welcome all input and additional ideas for the rest of the year.

When at the rink working out, I so often see children fall and the bounce right back up has if nothing as happened, but falls can be so much more dangerous and even catastrophic for us adults. Even I myself took a fall last August, fractured my hip, and was on crutches for 6 weeks. But I am not giving up and am back on the ice.

So here are some short inspirational stories of other adults skaters who “got up” and did not let a fall, injury or illness deter them from getting back on the ice.

Elizabeth Ozorak tore her rotator cuff practicing pairs axel lifts just two days before competing in the US Adult Midwestern Sectionals. But she “got up,” competed anyway (unopposed), modifying the lifts so I she didn’t have to support any weight with her right arm, and a month later won Bronze Pairs at US Adult Nationals. She had surgery that summer (2012), and then came back the following season and won the silver medal in Silver Pairs.

Lori Robertson had a total hip replacement in March of 2016, but less than one year later “got up” by competing in her first competition in two years, less than a year after the surgery.

Merry Neitlich “got up” after having open heart surgery to replace a defective heart valve 14 months ago, and is now training to compete at the 2017 Adult US Nationals.

Rachel Duran Duran popped a ligament behind her right knee right before Adult Sectionals in 2013. But she “got up” by competing and modifying her program to “take it easy” and end up with a great championship score.

My UK friend Cathy Swift helped inspire me to start skating, and attended two adult skating camps with me in the US.

And my personal friend from the UK (and we should make her an honorary American adult skater) Cathy Swift wrote me, “I know many skaters in their 50s and 60s – and even older. Their standard of skating may vary, but what unites them is a positive mental attitude. I attended the Dorothy Hamill adult skating camp in 2015, and no fewer than three participants showed up with injuries. When I asked one of them if she was not worried about skating with a fractured wrist, she replied ‘But I skate on my legs, not my arms.’ This fairly typical. I injured my left knee while skating – not once, but twice, this year – and, having just been given a clean bill of health my my doctor, I am determined to learn from the example of Stan and others to “get up” and get back on the ice.

Look for more stories of adult skaters “getting up” to overcome their physical challenges in April!