Friday, 17 February 2017 15:42

Aibel Earns Silver at Empire State Games

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – The figure skating events at the 2017 Empire State Winter Games in Lake Placid were held over three days, beginning February 3, with more than 600 figure skaters competing. Those placing in the top three of their events are invited to compete at the National State Games of America to be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan in August. According to figure skating coach Amada Shelburne, with the Saratoga Springs Figure Skating Club, it was the largest contingent of total athletes the games have ever had. Shelburne, who also takes on private figure skating students, had two athletes competing this year. “Claire Aibel was 2nd in her Intermediate Test Track group at Empires,” said Shelburne. “She received a Silver Medal. My other student, Emma Nicholson, received a Bronze Medal in her group.” Aibel, a Saratoga Springs High School junior, is also a recent Gold Medalist for United States Figure Skating in Moves in the Field. She earned the Silver for Intermediate Level Freestyle at the Empire State Games. She’s been skating about 9 years, and with Shelburne for 6 years. “She’s probably one of the hardest workers that I have taught, and I’ve taught for like 40 years,” said Shelburne. “The Empires is a big one. It includes all of the State of New York and some Canadians can come down and qualify. I was proud they had worked very hard at getting themselves trained for this. They were trying new jumps, like double jumps.” Shelburne explained double jumps involve different take offs with two rotations in the air and then a backwards landing on one foot. She said it takes years to perfect. “I practiced four times a week leading up to the game,” said Aibel. “I worked on all of my jumps, my landings, and doubles. I really like learning new things and seeing improvement. I’ve always wanted to be able to do what I’ve seen on TV, like watching the Olympics and older skaters at the rink. I guess I just enjoy being there in Lake Placid. It’s really inspiring. The Olympics were held there and it’s a really nice town.” Shelburne said that one thing figure skaters learn well is that they are going to fall, and they are going to fall often. “You are also going to learn to get up and keep going,” she said. “You are going to experience failure and you’re also going to set a goal and achieve it. Figure skating is a fabulous lifetime lesson. You are not always going to be a winner and not always going to be perfect. They learn to get up and keep going and persevering and that’s what life is all about.”
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