Every four years, students watch the winter olympics and remember how mesmerizing and complex figure skating is. One thing that Mt. Greylock students may not know about the sport is that there are figure skaters among us. One such skater is Samantha Whittum, who competed in her seventh Bay State games this winter. We looked into Whittum’s background as a figure skater to learn more about the sport and her involvement in it.
For Whittum, figure skating is certainly not new. She began to skate as a four year-old when she was signed up for the Christmas Brook Figure Skating Club learn-to-skate program. Incidentally, she now helps out at the club as a coach. She explains that “it feels as if my figure skating career has come full circle.”
Whittum has grown from her four year-old self into a competitive skater. She trains three days during the week and on weekends as part of the club Production Team. This constant, rigorous training has taken her far in the seven Bay State games that she has competed in. This year, all of the hard work majorly payed off as she skated to a first place finish for her flight.
According to Whittum, one of the more difficult aspects of competition is getting around nerves. “Sometimes in competition,” Whittum says, “my nerves get the best of me. This year I strived to be more calm when going out onto the ice. After my program finished, I felt proud knowing that I skated the best I could and managed to feel relaxed while doing so.”
The fact that Whittum was put in first place by three of the five judges was great, but she believes that the best part of the sport has to be “the moment when I achieve a jump or spin that I’ve been working on for a while. The sense of accomplishment is such a good feeling and it always keeps me motivated to try new elements that may seem daunting.” Additionally, Whittum treasures the friendships that she has made as a figure skater. She states that “my club has turned into a second family to me that I’m really grateful for.”