When I left the President’s Reception at this year’s PSA Summit in Chicago, I headed to my hotel room looking forward to an inspiring day at the conference in the morning. I found myself reflecting on how much gratitude I have for the sport of figure skating that has given so much to me over the last 40 years.
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated is a popular quote attributed to Mark Twain. I share this quote as an analogy to his comment to be certain everyone in the skating community knows that I am here to stay. I absolutely love our sport and have no intention of leaving it anytime soon. I thrive when I am choreographing and coaching skaters at all levels, giving seminars, and delivering speeches.
Seeing so many of my former National Champions from different countries this week, as well as the incredible friends gained over the years, and my wonderful team at Jackson Skates that have kept me successful with their skates, makes my heart sing with appreciation and joy. Thank you to all of you.
As time goes on it is incumbent for senior members of US Figure Skating to pass the baton to the up-and-coming leaders of our sport to educate and inspire younger coaches. To that end, this was my last PSA Summit and my last time conducting Ratings Exams. It is also the end of my 6 years serving on the Board of Governors of the PSA. I will also be relinquishing my position as Co-Chair of the Accelerated Coaches Partnerships Committee which I have enjoyed working on with my amazing Co-Chair, Deborah Leitner-Jones. This truly has been a great ride.
This week has been filled with so much delight that I can barely contain myself. It started with my former student, Kathryn Vaughn, achieving an amazing accomplishment by passing her Senior Choreography Ratings Exam. Years ago, she was also the costar in my Cabaret theatre production starring as Sallie Bowels. We've shared a wonderful journey together.
It was incredible to see the entire team of Jackson Ultima Skates at the trade show. I rarely get to see Raj, Kevin, and Mark all in one place. If you can, check out their newest technology offering special insoles for our skates which help us attain better alignment and comfort creating greater stability in take-offs and landings. I can personally attest to the comfort and support I receive from my Jackson Skates. I get a new pair every year so I may keep performing my craft at the highest level.
Skating is filled with longevity and transitions. As I have always told my students as they moved forward in life, perhaps going to college or starting a family of their own, these transitions are a beautiful part of life. I love watching the next chapter of their lives unfold. I have always said that choreography is an outward expression of an inner thought, feeling, emotion, or replication of a specific genre of music. This too is how life goes. We should go forward with confidence to turn the page and open the next chapter as it can be even more exciting than the previous one.
I look forward to having more time now to travel anywhere in the world to choreograph or give inspiring seminars or speaking engagements. It is a fabulous experience to be able to take the time necessary to create wonderful works of choreography that will inspire the judges, audiences, and more importantly the skaters themselves.
My greatest gift in life, however, is to have my Tiamo (my love), Michelle Mills by my side for 43 years. She has always been there to critique and not be afraid to tell me when my work needed to be reworked if it was not quite good enough for the deserving skater I was working with. In a way, this is a love letter to my Tiamo to say thank you and I love you!
It will be my great honor to continue my work with any of you who are as excited as I am for our wonderful sport of figure skating. I am here for you!
The session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.