BY CHARLIE WHITE
THANK YOU to all of the people who came together to make our U.S. Figure Skating Championships such a success!! First and foremost it starts with all of the volunteers — their tireless preparation and dedication to our sport makes it possible for the skaters to go out on the ice to do their thing. The judges and officials also deserve a huge amount of gratitude for taking time away from their real jobs and families to help support the sport they love. United States Figure Skating, as we’ve come to expect, gave both the skaters and fans the opportunities of a lifetime. Thank you to Boston for being such an amazing host city. And last but not least, another huge THANK YOU to the fans who made performing at these championships such a pleasure.
There are so many things to love about the U.S Figure Skating Championships. Meryl and I have been so lucky to be able to participate in many, and we have taken away many wonderful memories. In no particular order, what I think we appreciate the most about the championships: family, tradition and excellence.
As the years have gone on, this event has begun to feel more and more like a homecoming of sorts. We have grown up alongside almost all of the skaters and with many of the judges. One of the go-to questions the media likes to ask is “What are you looking forward to about the U.S. championships?” And our response, often in unison, is how much we enjoy getting to see all of our huge extended family again in one place. Many think that competition is an inherent divider of people, but we’ve found the opposite to be true. Seeing everyone once a year is something to which we’ve grown incredibly attached.
Maybe I’m biased… but I still feel I can say with certainty that U.S. figure skating has one of the most amazing histories of any American sport. Each year, every skater has the opportunity to leave their mark, and the U.S. championships give us one of the greatest platforms to do so. Every skater takes the ice knowing of the tradition of greatness. This tradition gives us all something to strive for, a bar for us to try to top. Of course I cannot forget to mention the positive influence of our sport’s past greats — some of the greatest personalities and role models in the country. They have done such an amazing job staying involved and present in our sport, allowing the rich tradition of the U.S. championships to be felt first hand.
The Olympic Winter Games — the greatest stage of athletic excellence the world has ever known; the dream of many skaters, young and old alike.
This past U.S. championships, a large part of the determination of the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team, was an incredibly difficult test for all of the skaters — of both our athletic and mental fortitudes. Stepping onto the ice and willing yourself to skate better than you ever have before, in what could amount to one of the biggest moments of your life is…hard. There’s no other way to put it. What we do is hard and very unforgiving; however, this pressure (to skate our best, to reach the Olympics) is what produces the greatness everyone witnessed. As crazy as it sounds sometimes, Meryl and I are so grateful to have that pressure, and the nerves, and the challenges to help us keep trying to do better — to be better skaters. To make the most of your opportunities in this sport, you have to be able to make yourself better during the difficult moments. What a joy to be able to watch such figure skating excellence.
Now it’s on to the Olympic Winter Games. And I’m very happy to say the skaters representing our country are a team — a team comprised of family, a team that has now helped shape the history and tradition of our sport, a team of figure skating excellence.