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SUSAN JORGENSEN AND ROBERT YOKABASKAS


The Yokabaskas family: Robert, James, Lauren, Bobby and Susan enjoy the beach near their home in Maine. Photo courtesy of Susan and Robert Yokabaskas


didn’t think about figure skating. We were out of it for 10 years. Ten they built this new rink in Falmouth with this ‘outdoor’ pond they call it. It reminded me of Sun Valley. Susan said, ‘We’ve got to go skate.’ So we did one day and the skat- ing director at the rink saw us.” “We were trying to remember the steps to


the Yankee Polka and he noticed,” Susan said. “We wanted to try and skate as date nights because at that point our youngest was in first grade. I finally had some time and we thought we’d go skate one day a week for fun.” People came out from the main arena next door and asked them to teach. It’s been more than 15 years since that fateful night, and they said they still love sharing their knowledge and experience with people who love skating. Coaching wasn’t new to them, as they had done it full-time for a couple of years after they re- tired, first in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and then at the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society.


While they don’t want to coach full-time,


they enjoy staying connected to the sport. Over the years, they’ve taken a few students to compe- titions, but most of the serious skaters head off to Boston or other rinks in New England where there is more ice time. Tey’re surprised there isn’t local interest in


ice dancing, given the international success of U.S. teams over the past 12 years, but the young skaters are enthralled with jumping and spin- ning.


Looking back on their skating career, both


say two National Sports Festivals (later called the Olympic Festival) were favorite events because there were athletes from many sports and an Olympic-like opening ceremony. Part of a large group of ice dancers training in Wilmington, Delaware, they thrived as competitors. Tanks to choreographer Jill Cosgrove, they became quite an expressive duo, and at the Sports Festi- val in Colorado Springs, Colorado, they skated last. Teir Spanish free dance in 1983 showed them off to perfection and the audience gave them a standing ovation.


“It was like walking on air,” Robert said. “Tey put a cartoon of us in the newspa-


per,” Susan said. Of the current ice dancers, they enjoy


Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada, appreciating their long lines, as well as the ex- plosive twizzles of two-time and reigning U.S. champions Maia and Alex Shibutani. Tey’re very complimentary of Marina Zoueva’s chore- ography and said they loved Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s Olympic free dance. Facebook reconnects them with old skating


friends. “It’s fun to see where people’s lives have gone — some into coaching, some into judging — kind of cool,” Susan said. As of a few months ago, Susan and Robert became empty nesters. Tey’ve taken on a num- ber of home repair projects, such as painting, that keep them quite busy every weekend. “Tat’s our excitement, the ceiling in the


dining room,” Robert said. “We’re predictable. Our kids know where we are all the time.”


SKATING 9


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