Q&A with a U.S. Junior National Championship gold medal figure skater

Put on your ice skates as you read about former ice skating competitor-turned-instructor Angel Sarkisova as she recalls her time competing (and winning) in national circuits.

June 1, 2018

 

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Ice skater and instructor Angel Sarkisova glides across the ice as she shows young skaters the basics of ice skating. Photo by Justin Traylor.

Angel Sarkisova skids across the ice of the hockey rink, her long brown hair flying behind her. The 20-year-old communications major has been skating since she was 6 years old. She has competed in the U.S. Junior National Championships and earned a gold medal status in the highest level possible for the senior ladies division. Although Angel has stopped competing, she has become an instructor for the sport that she loves and realizes that this is her calling. Angel is currently working at the Lakewood Rinks while also being a full-time student at El Camino.

Staff Writer (SW): How did you get into teaching?

Angel: “When I was younger and still competing myself, I used to volunteer at my local rink by helping out with skating classes and assisting other coaches during their instruction. I fell in love with teaching kids to learn to skate, just as I once did, I told myself when I was done competing that I would start coaching. That’s how I first got involved. When I finally did retire from competition, I started teaching full time and have been coaching ever since.”

SW: What is the biggest difficulty in teaching kids to skate?

Angel: “The most difficult part of my job is getting students and parents to understand that learning a new skill takes patience, hard work, and consistency in practice. Learning a new skill can be discouraging at times, but my job as a coach is to make my students understand that process and [that] improvement is a lengthy one and its not always quick to come. Sometimes believing in yourself as a skater is the hardest part. My job is to make students believe in themselves first and foremost.”

SW: Did you ever compete?

Angel: “Yes. I have been competing since I was 6 years old. I started with local recreational competitions and from there went on to compete nationally throughout my career. My highest achieving performance has been placing fifth at the 2008 U.S, Junior National Championships held in Lake Placid, New York. I retired after competing at the highest level, Senior Ladies. I have achieved gold medal status in both Senior ‘Moves in the Field’ and ‘Freeskate’ categories.”

SW: How do you balance work with school?

Angel: “Balancing work and school are hard. My days start early in the mornings being in school full time, followed by work for the majority of the day, and then a few hours in the evening for either studying, or maintaining a social life. The hardest part of having a busy lifestyle for me is time management. When balancing social life, work, and other activities that you want to include in your day to day life, you start to battle things like fatigue and being mentally drained. The most important thing I remind myself is that the efforts and struggles you put yourself though now, will help you reap rewards later.”

SW: What do you get out of your job?

Angel: “What I appreciate most about my job is the sense of fulfillment I got when teaching my passion. I look forward to the days I get to teach at the rink, and it makes me happy to know I am passing down my knowledge and wisdom to the next generation of skaters. I love teaching all the ages and levels.”

SW: What are your plans for the future?

Angel: “My plans for the future are to encourage more individuals to try ice sports! Whether it be ice hockey or figure skating, my job is to get ice sports more exposure, and my goal is to have as many individuals try it as (much as) possible. There are so many benefits to ice sports, and I want to create a community within our generation that appreciates it just as much as I do.”

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Angel poses on the ice with one of her students. Photo by Justin Traylor.

 

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Photo by Justin Traylor.

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