Sherry Long (’23) dazzles on the ice in competitive figure skating

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Jeanette D'Addabbo

Sherry Long (’23) balances on one foot as she raises her leg high in the air.

The music crescendos from the ice rink’s speakers. The tiny figure in the middle of the ice twists and spins through the air, drawing the audience’s eyes, until her final bow in the center. The crowd claps wildly, cheering for the grace and sophistication they’ve just witnessed. Yet despite the elegance ice skaters are known for, there lies a whole world of skating that the average person doesn’t know about. For competitive ice skaters, a performance accounts for only a tiny percent of their time compared to the rest of the hours they put in.

Sherry Long (‘23) has been ice skating for around 10 years. She entered her competitive synchronized skating team when she was in fifth grade. Since then, she’s routinely competed in competitions on the regional, national, and even world level. 

“I started figure skating because I had a friend who did ice skating, and that inspired me, because I really looked up to her growing up, and I wanted to be involved with some of the things she was involved in,” said Long.

Ice skating incorporates both athletic and aesthetic aspects, which are shown through the extensive spins, twists, and turns that performers execute. When competing, skaters face a panel of judges, who will grade them on based on their technicality and artistry. 

Long also feels that these aspects are present in any sport, whether it be gymnastics, ice skating, football, or basketball.  Practicing for competitions takes a lot of time, and the skills and teamwork only come out of hours and hours of hard work. It becomes hard to juggle between extracurricular activities, homework for school, and sports, but Sherry has her schedule figured out.

I think it’s really worth trying new things, especially trying something that you are unfamiliar with, and finding a community.”

— Sherry Long ('23)

“I try to balance my day by figuring out at the beginning of the day what I want to accomplish for the day, especially factoring in skating there, I switch my schedule around based on what I have to do in the day, to make sure that I’m still productive,” said Long.

Long’s career in competitive ice skating is full of passion and hard work, but it started with her willingness to put herself out there and try a new sport. 

“I think it’s really worth trying new things, especially trying something that you are unfamiliar with, and finding a community,” said Long.

Despite the difficulty of juggling multiple aspects, Sherry can’t help but appreciate ice skating for what it is.

“[Y]ou can’t have the artistic element of skating without the athletic part, and vice versa, you can’t have the athletic element without having some sort of artistic element as well,” said Long.