Skating through High School

Skating+through+High+School

Teagan Dillon, Staff Reporter

Synchronized skating takes a lot of talent, teamwork, and determination.  Most often when people think of skating they think of jumping and twirling, said junior Mackenzie Elkow, but synchronized skating explores other aspecst of skating such as blocks, pivots, wheels, lifts, etc.

Last year during Spring break, while most people were packing for their vacation to Florida or preparing to stay home in dreary Michigan, junior Mackenzie Elkow flew 4,000 miles to Goteborg, Sweden, for the Synchronized Skating World Championships.

Elkow’s team, the Crystallettes, are based in Dearborn and are known for being one of the best synchronized teams in the United States.  The Crystallettes were one of just two teams from the United States to travel to Sweden for the World Championships, which was a major accomplishment.

The team consists of 20 girls from the metro Detroit area between the ages of 16 and 26.  According to Elkow, each member dedicates roughly 25-35 hours each week to skating.

“It can get pretty hard balancing schoolwork and skating,” said Elkow.  “But I’ve been doing this my whole life so I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Elkow has traveled all across America, Italy, Switzerland, and Sweden with her team, sweeping nearly every competition.  With so much success comes rituals.  From singing certain songs to having the same stretching partner at every competition, the Crystallettes are always focused.

“Some may say we are superstitious,” said Elkow.  “But for us we like to continue doing what’s worked in the past.”

Synchronized skating takes a lot of determination and endurance.  Not only do the skaters have to concentrate on their routine, they must engage the crowd and judges.  With so much to focus on, injuries run high.

“Last summer I split open my chin, broke my jaw, got a concussion, chipped my teeth, and got stitches in my chin from a bad fall,” said Elkow.

For nearly two months Elkow could not skate, which was the longest break she had in years.

In the winter Elkow skates for the Mercy Figure Skating team which practices every Friday before school and takes part in several competitions throughout the season.  She hopes to continue skating in college and improve every year.

“Skating has taught me so many lessons about life,” said Elkow. “I can’t imagine where I would be without it.”