LAKE PLACID - Figure skating has always been an important component of Lake Placid's sports scene, and last weekend was no exception. The 44th annual Ice Skating Institute (ISI) Championships were held at the Olympic Center Jan. 10-13, with approximately 200 competitors in attendance.
Lake Placid's ISI Championships is the largest non-qualifying ISI event in the United States, and attracts ISI skaters of all ages and abilities. The event was started by Robert Kelton, and is now organized by his son Ted Kelton.
"Lake Placid is a winter destination, and as such is the perfect place to host this event," Ted Kelton said. "The village has so much to offer, and several generations have participated in the ISI Championships."
Carly Brox of the Skating Club of Lake Placid skates in the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena during the 2013 ISI Championships in Lake Placid.
ISI is the governing body for recreational figure skating, and presents slightly different event formats, rules and levels than USFS (United States Figure Skating). USFS is the official National Governing Body of Figure Skating in the U.S. and focuses on competitive programs rather than recreational. Other competitions in Lake Placid are sanctioned through US Figure Skating.
"The biggest difference between the USFS events and ISI events is the team standings competition," Kelton said. "Also, there are various events for skaters to explore their creativity, such as interpretative, artistic and spotlight events."
The team standings competition refers to the tallying of total points from each competitor on a team, to contribute to a certain team or club's overall standing. Those with the highest point values win the overall team trophy.
Three Skating Club of Lake Placid skaters participated in this year's ISI event: Carly Brox, Rosemary Gole, and Victoria Los. All had different motivations for skating in the competition.
"I liked skating in the ISI Championships because it's in Lake Placid, and it's lots of fun," said Brox, who won first place in her artistic event.
Victoria Los, who competed in multiple events, used the competition as a practice for the Empire State Games, in Lake Placid the second weekend in February.
"I was really glad that the event organizers added me into an artistic event to skate my short program, even though I wasn't signed up previously," Los said. "I earned a gold medal in both events."
Former Skating Club of Lake Placid club president and adult skater Rosemary Gole appreciated the variety of events and the supportive atmosphere.
"ISI was a confidence booster for me - there were many skaters there of all ages and levels, and they were very supportive to each other," Gole said. "Ted Kelton and the rest of his crew were also very helpful and accommodating."
Gole also won two gold medals in her events.