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Ageless Coaches - The Ageless Legends of the Skating Rink
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The Ageless Legends of the Skating Rink

In the ever-evolving world of figure skating, there is one constant that has captivated fans for decades - the enigmatic presence of skating coaches who appear to defy the passage of time. These individuals, who have etched their names in the annals of skating history, seem to possess an uncanny ability to remain perpetually youthful, their appearances frozen in time like their past accomplishments.

One might wonder, what is the secret behind this ageless mystique? Is it simply a testament to their unwavering dedication and passion for the sport, or is there something more profound at play?

Many skating enthusiasts argue that the key to this phenomenon lies in the coaches' relentless focus on their past achievements. Rather than showcasing their current work or the successes of their students, these coaches tend to cling to the glory days of their own competitive careers, reveling in the memories of their triumphs on the ice.

This singular focus on the past could be a way for these coaches to maintain a sense of relevance and authority in a sport that is constantly evolving. By constantly referencing their bygone era, they establish themselves as the gatekeepers of skating knowledge, their expertise rooted in the "good old days" when they were the undisputed champions.

However, this strategy may also come at a cost. By failing to acknowledge their own evolution or the achievements of their students, these coaches risk becoming relics of a bygone era, disconnected from the contemporary landscape of the sport. Their students, who seek not just technical expertise but also a dynamic and forward-thinking approach, may find themselves yearning for a more holistic and inclusive mentorship.

Perhaps, the true secret to the ageless appeal of these skating coaches lies in their ability to strike a balance between celebrating their past accomplishments and embracing the dynamic progression of the sport. By seamlessly integrating their wealth of experience with a willingness to adapt and learn, they could truly capture the essence of what it means to be a timeless figure in the world of figure skating.

After all, the true measure of a coach's legacy is not just the medals they've won, but the lasting impact they've had on the lives of their students and the continued evolution of the sport they love.

Coaches please dive in! Maybe time to post a new photo of yourself!

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The maestro piano-playing music you hear in figure skating performances could very easily be that of a K-State graduate who’s a medal-winning skater himself. 

Kansas City native Stephen Kucera ’17, ’18 earned his business administration (accounting) and applied music (organ) bachelor’s degrees from K-State. A year later, the master of music and the ice earned a Master of Accountancy degree and a minor in leadership studies. 

His soothing, artistic, articulate way of making a piano’s keys jump like Kucera does on the ice even entertained Derby Dining Center patrons from 5:30-6:45 p.m. almost every Friday dinner during his six years at K-State.

“Playing the piano at Derby was important to me because it gave me a chance to process, reflect on, and write a final chapter to the week,” Kucera said. “It allowed me to recenter before the weekend. It was fun to meet new people and bring them along for the ride.”

Masterful in music, cutting on the ice. That’s Kucera, who today shares his love for both with K-Staters worldwide.

In the beginning 

His story about being free on the frozen pond began at the youthful age of 7.

“I started skating in my hometown of Kansas City at age 7 by taking group lessons. I moved on into private lessons,” he said. 

“At age 11, I competed against Olympic-champion-to-be Nathan Chen and was thoroughly trounced by him, finishing second at the Broadway Open at the Colorado Springs World Arena,” Kucera said. “I went on to place fifth at the Southwestern Regionals, just missing advancing to Junior Nationals by one place.”

His health took a turn for the worse when he was 10 and 13, but it was figure skating that energized him when he needed energized. 

“Figure skating and the 30 minutes I could will my body to do every week gave me life,” Kucera lamented.

Coming back at age 14, Kucera set and achieved the goals of passing his gold tests in skating skills and singles.

“I would go on to place 10th at the Midwestern Sectionals Championships in 2009 in Wichita,” Kucera said.

However, figure skating eventually became too expensive for his family. 

“I put it away and only skated for diversion when I returned home to Kansas City or at the small rink in the Manhattan City Park,” Kucera said. “I focused on taking university courses, paying for college and starting my career.”

You’re never too old to medal 

“I came back to skating at age 25 and did some skating in Tulsa before moving to Dallas,” Kucera said. “It was there where I came back to test my partnered pattern dance and solo free dance gold tests this last year.”

Now 29 and living in Dallas, Kucera decided to move on from Olympic-level competition and begin competing in the adult competition ranks.

“Skating to a medley of Lil Nas X songs, I placed first in the Gay Games in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico,” he said. “I placed second at the Midwestern Adult Sectionals in Sioux Falls and placed third, winning the bronze medal at the 2024 U.S. Adult National Championships in Cleveland.”

Not a bad way to end his time in his 20s.

“I was thankful to be a part of the illustrious field and was thankful to medal at my first time at the U.S. Adult Nationals,” Kucera said. 

“Regardless of the struggles I have faced in my life, skating is a place where I am able to escape the pain and fly free,” Kucera said. “I find it a liberating medium where a person can be who they are, and where they can be particularly honest in their storytelling, and where that openness is embraced.”

His time on the ice isn’t even close to being over. That proverbial piano just started playing on the arena’s PA system. There to perform will be a proud Kansan and proud Wildcat.

“Next for me, I plan on working toward landing my double axel and two different triples,” Kucera noted. “Skating to Spider-Man, competing at an international figure skating competition and returning to U.S. Adult Nationals. A double axel is a jump with two 1/2 rotations in the air, and a triple jump has three rotations. Completing them are part of the goals of my return to skating.”

All rise for the judge 

Kucera can also be found behind the ice’s plexiglass lined up near center ice.

“I serve as a judge for U.S. Figure Skating, where I can judge singles for all domestic events except four competitions,” Kucera said. “In addition, I serve as a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force for U.S. Figure Skating.”

He trains with some of the world’s best skaters.

“I train singles with U.S. Nationals champion Mariah Bell and U.S. Nationals competitor Morgan Bell,” he said. “I study ice dance with Australian Olympics competitor Brooklee Han.”

Because of Kucera’s love for ice skating.

“Growing up, I struggled with performance anxiety and the rush of adrenaline,” he said. “Part of the reason for coming back to competition is to work through it and gain confidence in the heat of competition. Currently, I am focusing on slowing down my jump technique and counting my spin rotations slower to achieve full credit and maximize the points.”

‘Be the change I want to see’

Kucera gave his all to his beloved Alma Mater while a student from 2011-2018. 

“During my six years in Kansas State University Student Governing Association, I served in all three branches of government, including four years as student senator, speaker pro tempore, and student support director,” Kucera said. “I received the Outstanding Contributor Award from Kansas State University Student Governing Association in 2018.”

He also received the Anderson Senior Award for Outstanding Leadership from the K-State Alumni Association in 2017.

Kucera has also been recognized for playing keyboard for the 40 graduation ceremonies at Bramlage Coliseum.

“Figure skating means a place where I can escape much of my pain,” he said. “It is worth it for the verdant plateau I achieve and the clear, liberated state of mind. In a lot of ways, it is my therapy.”

And figure skating has shaped the man he has become. 

“I have learned much about hard work and perseverance,” Kucera said. “It's not about falling down six times, it's about getting up the seventh time.”

That’s why he’s a medal-winning ice skater and renowned pianist. 

“Kansas will always be my home,” he said. “K-State challenged me to give back and make a difference. Be the change I want to see in the world.”

Check out some of Kucera's figure skating and musical performances:

WATCH NOW

— Article written by Gary Van Cleave ’85, K-State graduate in journalism/mass communications. He has written over 300 articles on athletes across the state in the past two years.



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The Shining Blades are based in the Mira Mesa community of San Diego, California. We proudly represent the San Diego Figure Skating Club (SDFSC) in U.S. Figure Skating sanctioned competitions at the Preliminary and Pre-Juvenile levels.

As skaters’ skills improve, many advance on to our sister teams under Team del Sol.

At the 2022 Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships our Preliminary team took the BRONZE medal and our Pre-Juvenile team took the SILVER.

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SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – We have High School Ice Hockey in San Diego? We sure do. The NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, run the “Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League” for schools throughout all of Southern California.

After defeating St. Mary’s in State Championship at Anaheim Ice Arena, The D1 San Diego Central Jets are headed to the USA High School Hockey National Championships in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Becoming the first San Diego Team to represent California in the Tournament.

“We’re just elated! We just want to go there and represent the league and the city as much as we can.” said Jets Head Coach and former San Diego Gulls Center (1995-2000) Brad Belland.

The Jets open up their National Championship schedule against the Centennial Coyotes (AZ) on Wednesday, March 20 at 4:00 p.m., then against the St. Anthony’s Friars (NY) on Thursday, March 21 at 10:15 a.m., before their final matchup of the group against Salt Lake City Stars (UT) at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, March 22. All matches can be streamed live at usahockeytv.com.

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‍JANUARY 26, 2024 - APRIL 4, 2024HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday: Closed

Tuesdays - Thursdays: 10am - 8pm (last entry 7pm)

Fridays & Saturdays: 10am - 9pm (last entry 8pm)

Sundays: 10am - 7pm (last entry 6pm)

LOCATION

Wyland Center at Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar CA 92014

GET DIRECTIONS

https://beyondvangogh.com/san-diego/van-gogh-san-diego-tickets/

Reposted Admin Rink's post.

Two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu plans to return to figure skating competition next season, ending a two-year retirement.

A video compilation of Liu training jumps was posted on the 18-year-old American’s social media on Friday. The video ended with the lines “this 2024-25 season” and “back on the ice.”

U.S. Figure Skating later confirmed that the skater plans to compete next season, which begins in earnest in September.

“It was good for me to take time off from skating, and I am beyond excited to begin skating again with my newly found perspective,” she said, according to USFS.

Before retiring in April 2022, Liu made history in her early teens.

In 2019, at age 13, she broke Tara Lipinski‘s record as the youngest senior U.S. figure skating champion. She repeated as national champion in 2020.

She was also the youngest woman to land a triple Axel internationally (age 12) and the first U.S. woman to land a quadruple jump in competition (age 14).

Liu was the top American woman at the 2022 Olympics (sixth place), then earned bronze at the post-Olympic world championships.

She announced her retirement two weeks later in April 2022, saying she was done with her figure skating goals and ready to move on with her life.

https://www.nbcsports.com/olympics/news/alysa-liu-comeback-figure-skating


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Two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu plans to return to figure skating competition next season, ending a two-year retirement.

A video compilation of Liu training jumps was posted on the 18-year-old American’s social media on Friday. The video ended with the lines “this 2024-25 season” and “back on the ice.”

U.S. Figure Skating later confirmed that the skater plans to compete next season, which begins in earnest in September.

“It was good for me to take time off from skating, and I am beyond excited to begin skating again with my newly found perspective,” she said, according to USFS.

Before retiring in April 2022, Liu made history in her early teens.

In 2019, at age 13, she broke Tara Lipinski‘s record as the youngest senior U.S. figure skating champion. She repeated as national champion in 2020.

She was also the youngest woman to land a triple Axel internationally (age 12) and the first U.S. woman to land a quadruple jump in competition (age 14).

Liu was the top American woman at the 2022 Olympics (sixth place), then earned bronze at the post-Olympic world championships.

She announced her retirement two weeks later in April 2022, saying she was done with her figure skating goals and ready to move on with her life.

https://www.nbcsports.com/olympics/news/alysa-liu-comeback-figure-skating


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Welcome to the SDIA YOUTH Ice Hockey Program 

SDIA Youth Hockey League is fun!

SDIA Youth Hockey League is fun! Experience the joy of carrying the puck up the ice on a breakaway and the excitement of scoring a goal or making an amazing save.

With an emphasis on fun and safety, our youth league develops skills on the ice, confidence, pride, focus, responsibility & teamwork.

From the bonds created in the locker room to the relationships formed on the ice - hockey creates lifelong friendships. Hockey encourages time management skills that help kids balance school, responsibilities at home, playing with friends and time at the rink. We offer a house league program for all youth ages, as well as tournament and travel team options for you and your favorite hockey player(s) to choose from.

 If your child is interested in learning to play hockey, try our 6 weeks free learn to play hockey for ages 4+.

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Madison Chock and Evan Bates compete in championship ice dance

at the U.S. figure skating championships Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Madison Chock and Evan Bates have become so dominant in ice dance that not even a sudden illness could stop them Saturday.

Two days after they began developing flu-like symptoms, the longtime figure skating partners took to the ice and laid down a free dance at the U.S. championships that was good enough for gold. Chock and Bates scored 215.92 points to easily outdistance Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko for their third straight title and fifth overall.

“I think Evan and I have always had a lot of determination and willpower,” Chock said, “and we thought, ‘Would we regret not going for it and just trying our best today?’ And when the answer to that question was, ‘Yes,’ we were like, ‘OK, let’s go make it happen. Let’s step out there and give it all we’ve got.’ We did that today and I’m really proud.”

by: DAVE SKRETTA, Associated Press

Posted: Jan 27, 2024 / 07:19 PM PST

Updated: Jan 27, 2024 / 08:56 PM PST

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Join the SDICE SKATING Fan Zone Community!

Are you passionate about all things ice skating? Do you love connecting with fellow enthusiasts and sharing your love for the sport? Look no further! The SdiceSkate Fan Zone is the perfect place for you to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for ice skating.

Here's why you should join our community:

1️⃣ Connect with Fellow Skaters: Meet and connect with skaters from all around the world. Share tips, tricks, and experiences with a supportive and enthusiastic community.

2️⃣ Stay Updated: Get the latest news, updates, and announcements about ice skating events, gear, and trends. Stay in the loop with everything that's happening in the ice skating world.

3️⃣ Share Your Passion: Whether you're a seasoned skater or just starting out, our community welcomes everyone. Share your stories, photos, and videos, and inspire others with your love for ice skating.

4️⃣ Exclusive Content: Gain access to exclusive content, interviews with professional skaters, and behind-the-scenes insights into the ice skating industry.

Join us today and become a part of a vibrant and supportive ice skating community. Let's glide together and celebrate our love for this amazing sport!

See you at the SdiceSkate Fan Zone! --

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