This summer, M. Landis ‘23 took to the rink at the 2022 State Games of America in Des Moines, Iowa, bringing home a bronze medal for her Artistic-Emotional Expression Figure Skating Program.
The State Games of America brings together first, second, and third place medal winners from each state’s National Congress of States Games Competition to compete biennially in an Olympic-style event. Landis qualified for the event three years ago, during Connecticut’s Nutmeg State Games — but due to COVID-19, the competition in Iowa was postponed until 2022.
Says Landis, “Normally, an experience at the State Games is one full of bonding with other skaters from your rink; however, for a variety of reasons, I ended up being the only one from my rink to attend this competition, meaning my coach was also unable to fly out. Though it was not a normal experience, it was a lot of fun. I love watching skating and being around people who have the same athletic passion that I do. [...] I met many skaters and it was really cool to be able to hear their stories. Overall, it was a competition well worth the three year wait, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to take part in it.”
Landis began skating nearly seven years ago after trying “almost every sport — baseball, soccer, cheerleading, dance, horseback riding.” Noted Landis, “I never really loved any of them. [...] I found figure skating because my childhood babysitters [skated] and I told my parents that it was the next sport I wanted to try. I ended up getting my first skates for my birthday that year and I have been skating ever since.” After participating in a Learn to Skate program, she took part in Future Stars, learning how to “develop programs linking jumps, spins, and other moves.” After a few years of group lessons, she transitioned to one-on-one lessons with a coach. During the academic year, she trains in Norwich once per week.
As for the best part of the sport? For Landis, it’s the rink community. “At every competition, members from my rink cheer me on — and when I’m not skating, I cheer them on. [...] The support from other skaters and coaches is such an amazing feeling. One of my favorite memories was competing in the 2018 Worlds in Boston. It was a big competition for my rink and we had many skaters competing. In between our events, we watched each other skate. One of the [best parts] was watching my coach skate. She has always supported us, so it felt amazing to be able to support her when she skated.”
As Landis approaches senior year, one thing is for certain — there’s more skating to come. “I have such a love for this sport. [...] One of the ‘must haves’ for my [future college] is a figure skating club.”