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Figure skating may not look like rocket science, but for some adults practicing for the championships in Salt Lake City, it looked much like major surgery. To prepare for the 4,327-foot altitude, the instrument of choice for many was a surgical mask. Said Daniel Palmeri, the 2015 Masters Ju- nior-Senior Men’s champion, “My coach Mindi Priskey had me do triple run-throughs wearing a surgical mask,” he said. “I thought I was going to die, but I do think it helped.” Competitors Rob Smith, from Florida, and Gabby Forlenza, from

New Jersey, both were concerned about transitioning from sea level to the mountains.

“I ran on a treadmill with a surgical mask on,” Smith said. Like Palmeri, Forlenza did multiple run-throughs of her program while looking like she was headed for the operating room. Fernan Balsalubre ran in the mountains near San Diego wearing his

mask. “My dog hated that, because he had to run with me,” Balsalubre said.

BY MIMI WHETSTONE After hearing the scores for their championship free dance, the nerves

were anything but over for Barbara Walker and Timothy Bookwalter. “As we speak, my son is out there competing,” Bookwalter said. Skating immediately after his father, James Bookwalter took the ice

with his partner, Melissa Patsalides, in a family face-off. “I really only have one word and that’s surreal,” James Bookwalter said about the experience. “When we decided we were going to move up to the championship level this year, the next thing we knew, they were on the ice training, too. I think we inspired them to come back and do it again.” In fourth place after the pattern dance, Patsalides and Bookwalter,

who were competing at their second U.S. Adult Championships, overtook Walker and Bookwalter to win the silver medal. Walker and Bookwalter finished fourth, in their fourth trip to the event, after competing in 1997, 2000 and 2009. “We did it because we knew this would probably be our one chance to

skate against them (Patsalides and Bookwalter),” Timothy said. “I wanted to win, but in the end, he’s my son and Barbara’s their coach, so it’s a win- win for all of us.”


Troughout the 2015 U.S. Adult Championships in Salt Lake City, competitors got to enjoy the spotlight and share their love of the sport both on the ice and with the local community. “It’s such a large part of figure skating that a lot of people don’t know

about, because it’s not mainstream,” masters dramatic skate II/III champion Stephanee Grosscup told the anchors at local CBS affiliate KUTV. “But it’s a huge part of our industry.” Grosscup appeared with masters junior-senior men’s I/III champion

Joshua Murphy on KUTV’s morning show to promote the event and share their love of adult skating. In addition to KUTV, My Fox 13 filmed a “Booming Forward” seg-

ment to promote the weekend competition, while Park City TV filmed a mini-documentary of the event, and Boston-area NPR show “Here & Now” did a feature on 75-year-old Patricia McNamara, who competed in her 21st U.S. Adult Championships in Salt Lake City.

Competitors Stephanee Grosscup and Joshua Murphy stop by KUTV for an interview about the U.S. Adult Championships in Salt Lake City.


Among the nearly 400 competitors at this year’s U.S. Adult Cham- pionships, only Cindy Tipton and Keith Clark hailed from the Oklahoma City Figure Skating Club (OKCFSC) and were the only two to represent the Sooner state at the event. “One morning I went to the rink (Arctic Edge in Edmond, Oklaho- ma) and I was the only one there,” Clark said. “I sat there and I thought, ‘Tere are a million people in this city. Why am I the only one here?’ Ten I thought that I just love this so much. It’s too bad everyone else doesn’t know what they’re missing.” Tipton and Clark placed sixth in the centennial dance event, while

Clark earned silver in the men’s bronze IV/V event. Tipton and Clark have been the OKCFSC’s lone representatives at the U.S. Adult Championships on three occasions, competing in 2012 and 2013 before traveling to Salt Lake City. “It’s really fun to be here,” Tipton said. “I’ve made lots of friends and

Timothy Bookwalter and Barbara Walker (left) share the kiss and cry with Melissa Patsalides and James Bookwalter after a father-son face-off in championship adult dance.

16 JUNE-JULY 2015

I have a fan club; my friends from college, who come with me every year. My daughter (gold light entertainment competitor and individual member Lauren Tipton) is here with us this year, so it’s just really special.”



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