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Paula Turpen is all smiles as competition nears. A Patti McNamara prepares to check credentials.

mid the chaos of 485 athletes com- peting in 174 events, there’s a spe- cial camaraderie shared by those at the 2012 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships.

Sure, there are the crazy costumes (6-

foot-6 Joe Decker as “Te Black Swan”), emotional stories (Larry Holliday winning after the recent death of his coach) and truly athletic skating (Courtney Donovan’s nine double jumps), but the lasting image is the spirit of the event. In the halls of Te Edge Ice Arena in

Bensenville, Ill., longtime friendships were rekindled with plenty of hugs and storytell- ing. At the skaters’ entrance to the ice, com- petitors wished each other the best and then offered heartfelt congratulations as friends exited the ice out of breath. At the awards podium, cheers rang

through the hallway as loudly for the pew- ter medalists as they did for the gold. On the podium, elated athletes mugged for cameras and reveled in their moment. Fam- ilies beamed with pride. “If there is ever doubt that there is good in this world, just come to adult na- tionals,” said Gail Sombati, U.S. Figure Skating Adult Skating Committee chair. “You can witness moral support, cheering for your competitors and great examples of ‘paying it forward.’ “Make no mistake, we all work hard and want to do our best; we are athletes and there to compete. But we are all thank- ful for the opportunity to do what we love — share our passion for skating with each other.” Hosted by the Skating Council of Il-

Longtime pairs team Kim Sailer and David Garber talk to reporters following their skate.

14 MAY 2012

linois from April 10 to April 14, the event took months of preparation by an army of volunteers led by local organizing commit- tee co-chairs May Wiza and Pegg Hislop. “Te Skating Council of Illinois was delighted to be chosen to host the 2012 adult nationals,” Wiza said. “It was truly in- spiring to see the camaraderie that the com-

petitors showed for their fellow athletes.” “Every athlete was impressive with

their obvious dedication and passion for figure skating,” Hislop added. “No matter what the level or discipline of the competi- tion, the joy of skating was apparent.”


Te final and marquee competition of

the 2012 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Cham- pionships, the Championship Masters Ju- nior-Senior Ladies event, was packed with confident and exciting skaters. Te deep field was filled with several former champions, all of them capable of taking the crown. In fact, the top three skaters all broke 50 points by a comfortable margin. But it was Courtney Donovan of the

All Year Figure Skating Club who put down the most intelligent program to build a total score of 53.27 points needed for the victory. Just 23, Donovan is third in the world

in the Inline Roller Skating rankings. Fresh back from the world competition in Bra- zil last November, Donovan traded wheels for blades and got down to work with her coach, Jacqui Palmore. Together, Palmore and Donovan con-

structed a program to the Puss in Boots soundtrack that included no fewer than nine double jumps, including three dou- ble-double combinations. Two of her spin combinations received level threes from the panel. It was a smart, sprightly and energet- ic performance that Donovan just let build and build and build.

“Te audience carried me through,” she said. “I like to skate to the crowd, and I choose soundtracks because I think it grabs the crowd and takes them along the jour- ney.”

Te silver medal went to last year’s winner, Jaclyn Yacomes of the Body Zone


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