Sisters Hope to Earn Team Third U.S. Championship
By Alex Stoller
They’re not famous like Ashley Wagner, Michelle Kwan or Peggy Fleming, but sisters Kim ’08 and Sarah ’11 Eddy are also national champion ice skaters. They just share that distinction with 16 other women on a synchronized skating team.
DC Edge, which includes fellow Terps Shana Weisberg ’12 and Caitlin Lombardi ’13, will defend its title Feb. 26 at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Providence, R.I. The team also won gold in 2012 and 2014 in its adult division; the eight divisions designated by U.S. Figure Skating range from juvenile to masters.
“We’re always constantly trying to be the best team in the country,” Kim says. “Everyone has that Olympic dream of winning gold. In synchronized skating there can be 18 people that get to share that moment together.”
The adult competition isn’t the Eddys’ only shot at gold: Kim (left) and Sarah (right) coach one of the two UMD synchronized skating teams, which advanced to the championships, too.
“Every practice, you really enjoy being there,” says Ashley Dorsey ’16, who joined the team her freshman year. “They’re happy to be there with us, and they’re happy to take time out of their lives to come back to Maryland and help us be the best we can.”
The sisters from Laurel, Md., started young, Kim at 6 and Sarah at 3, brought to the rink by their mother, an ice skater herself. Though they took lessons for years, Sarah says, “I think there’s kind of a point in single skating where you kind of make it or you don’t. Neither of us were really that strong in our freestyle skating.”
Then a synchronized skating team from Bowie, Md., performed an exhibition at the Columbia, Md., ice rink where the girls practiced. The sport, they discovered, combines the glamour of synchronized swimming with the jumps, twists and grace of figure skating, and the morphing shapes, united jumps and backwards skating mesmerized Kim.
In 2000, at age 14, she decided to try it out. After Kim’s first year on a team, Sarah joined too. “We’ve basically been doing synchronized skating ever since,” she says.
When it was time for Kim to go off to college, she at first said she wouldn’t attend a school that didn’t have a synchronized ice skating team. She chose Maryland—a university without one—but by her senior year had started the campus team. Two years later, Sarah joined as a freshman.
Now they coach UMD team practices three times a week at the Herbert Wells Ice Rink in College Park, and they rehearse three hours a week with DC Edge to perfect its technically challenging and entertaining routines.
The Eddy sisters credit ice skating for their close relationship. “I think sometimes our skaters that we coach think we’re a little crazy because we’ll say the same things at the same time,” says Sarah. “But, we’ve never competed against each other. We’ve been on the same team, Kim has coached me as a skater, and we’ve coached together.”
When they aren’t at practice, Sarah works at Vital Voices Global Partnership, a nonprofit in D.C., and Kim works as a high school science teacher in Howard County. In addition to their shared love for skating, the sisters also enjoy other winter sports like downhill and cross-country skiing.
On the ice, the Eddys like sharing their love for the sport with younger skaters and helping it grow—something that might get easier with the worldwide push to add synchronized skating to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
“It’s kind of something in the sport that everyone involved is really hoping for,” says Sarah. “We would love to see that happen, and hopefully it would encourage generations of younger girls to take up synchronized skating as a real option.”
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