My name is Jackie Rizzitelli and I skate for Skyliners on the senior line. My dance coaches, Denis Petukhov and Melissa Gregory, asked me to be a part of their performance in the 100 Days to Sochi event in Times Square, so of course I said yes. This Tuesday I had the privilege of spending the day in the city with a number of winter Olympic athletes. It was truly an amazing experience.
We started off the day with a two-hour practice on the synthetic ice so we could get comfortable skating on it. After practice we went back to the hotel room to relax and get our hair and makeup done for our first performance at 3:00.
Performing in the middle of Time Square was such a rush of energy. As soon as we were done with our afternoon performance, we went to an autograph and photo session, which was something I had never done before. There was some time to relax and browse the booths before dinner and our final performance at night. This evening performance was the main event; we knew that we had to really get into it and get the whole crowd involved. We stepped onto the ice and got right into character. Four skaters, myself included, had to take on the persona of hockey players; my coaches were the figure skating performers, and Karl Giant from Jerseylicious sang his hit song “Turning It” right from center ice. In doing hockey and figure skating together on the ice it brought together the two programs my coaches teach, Kick Ice and EduSkating. Performing at Times Square was truly an amazing experience and I am so happy I was able to be a part of it.
While spending the whole day in the city, I kept thinking what it would be like if synchronized skating made it as an Olympic sport. I had the opportunity to converse with some of the Olympic athletes and I told them I was on Team USA for synchronized skating. The majority of them knew exactly what the sport entailed and they wished the sport good luck in trying to become a part of the Winter Olympics. The athletes kept telling me to follow my dreams. They said that even if I have to stop skating before synchronized skating becomes an Olympic sport, I should know that I am currently a part of the growth of the sport so that hopefully one day it will become a part of the Winter Olympics.