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Interview with Alejandra Gibson

Alejandra’s passion for the sport of figure skating began at a young age. Growing up in the Detroit area afforded her the opportunity to train at some of the best figure skating clubs in the world with top national and international coaching staffs. After spending nearly 12 years of her childhood dedicated to the sport, she decided it was time to turn her focus towards her education and business career. After a 23 year hiatus she has returned to the ice rink once again and competed in her first U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championship in April 2015. Her love for everything figure skating continues and she is happy to share her experiences through her work at the Houston Skate and Dance Shop.

*This interview has been edited for clarity.

As a juvenile competitive skater, you hung up your skates as a teenager and was off the ice for over twenty years. What made you return to the sport?

*Laughs* I needed a break from Corporate America. After I quit my full time job, I remembered how much fun I had skating as a kid, and so I initially came back to skating as a stress reliever. And then, you know, I had unfinished business from way back when so I decided to make new goals for myself as an adult skater. I rediscovered my love of the sport all over again and decided it was the perfect time to complete my skating tests. So that’s what it’s been about since then. I’m pushing to become a gold medalist!

What did you notice about the skating community when you first came back?

First, just how welcoming the other adults were in the figure skating community is. As an adult, it was nice to come back and to instantly have a community of supportive friends that I was able to make in the rink. The adult community is very supportive of one another.

That must be an awesome environment to be in.

Oh yeah. Most adults understand the difficulties of juggling work life, family life and skating life. We’re all skating for the sheer joy of skating. It’s a fun activity that you chose to do and to invest your time in. So, when you’re on the ice with adults you all have the same enthusiasm – it’s easy to connect and cheer each other on.

Did anything else surprise you?

I was happily surprised to see how many coaches were enthusiastic about teaching adult students. I thought it would be more of an issue but it really wasn’t. I stopped skating in 1991 and since the sport has changed so much since then, I was excited to be able to easily find a coach to work with.

Also, how many opportunities there are for adult skaters at every level to compete: there’s local competitions that usually host events for all levels of adults from beginner to high test, you can be involved in home club exhibitions or Christmas shows, that kind of thing. So if you’re competitive like I am, there are options for you.

What do you want people to know about adult figure skating?

That you’re never too old to start. (Or start back up again!) If you want to do it, go for it!

What advice would you give other adult skaters?

Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid if you’ve never skated. Take a few group lessons. Be open to learning new things. Push yourself. Don’t worry about falling. Just focus on having a good time and think about the fact that you’re exercising and having fun at the same time.

What do you like most about skating?

I like the fact that it is me-time. It’s me and the ice. I don’t think about anything else that’s going on in the world, none of life’s other stressors. It’s about having a good time.

You’ve competed internationally as an adult, right?

Yes, I was fortunate enough to be able to represent USA in an ISU competition. The ISU (International Skating Union) is the international governing body of figure skating. They have two big adult competitions open to skaters from all countries. One is in Oberstdof, Germany the other is in Vancouver, Canada. I went to Germany in June 2016.

What do you remember about the competition?

I remember them announcing that I was representing the USA. I know I stepped onto the ice, I think I skated my allotted time, I got off and I can remember the crowd still cheering and I thought, wow this is so much fun I wish I could remember what the heck just happened! I guess I was so caught up in the moment, I forgot to remember the details. I met so many cool and awesome people there that share the same passion. If I had to describe it in one or two words? Gosh. Exhilarating, fun (for sure), it’s hard to describe. I was so excited to be part of it.

Where are you going next?

Well, I have my US Figure Skating senior “moves in the field” test at the end of the month and I’m hoping to pass the rest of my Gold medal tests after that.

Then my goal will be to continue to focus on competing. I’ve got my eye on adult nationals (the US Adult Figure Skating Championships.) It’s a once a year competition usually held in April and I’d love to be able to go back.

Thanks for taking time to talk to us today.

Of course! I can talk about skating all day, trust me!

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