Go figure: a look at the Eau Claire Figure Skating Club - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Go figure: a look at the Eau Claire Figure Skating Club


Eau Claire (WQOW) - We're all familiar with the sport on ice that uses stick and a puck but, there is another sport that requires a little less padding and a lot more finesse.

Cold ice, razor sharp skates, and the fear of falling onto a frigid, unforgiving field are enough to keep most people from taking up the sport of figure skating. But nothing stops the 62 members of The Eau Claire Figure Skating Club from lacing up their skates.

"It started in 1936. It got disbanded for awhile, it kind of went dormant. It's been very active since 1972," Angie Southworth of The Eau Claire Figure Skating Club says.

Girls ages three to 23 can flip, twist, and glide with the best of them but, that's not all they do.

"The spins, there's a bunch of different spins. There are forward spins, back-scratch spins and camel spins. Camel spins are the one where their leg is out behind them and they're spinning. Flying camels: you'll see those in the Olympics. We have girls that are doing those," Southworth says.

There's the axel, the half axel, the triple axel and the double axel, which isn't two turns like the name would lead you to believe, it's actually two and a half.

And then there's spirals, which, of course, aren't spinning or twisting or turning  because that would be way too easy to understand.

"The spirals are when they're on one leg and the other leg is up behind them. They look like they're stretching. That's their spiral," Southworth says.

Once you have the names down, it's time to practice, practice, practice.

"I like the challenge it gives me: the double loop. It's a jump. You are on an edge and you jump up, spin twice and then land," Madeleine Mathias, a 16-year-old member of the club says.

"I want to do a side catch foot. You stick your foot straight up in the air and hold it with your hand and skate. I'm flexible but I just can't hold it there," Reese Southworth says, who's been skating since she was three.

From regional competitions skaters can advance on to national competitions and, from there, the Olympics.

"You never know, you might be seeing an Olympic skater in progress," Southworth says.

"The Olympics are a little out there. But I want to get first a regional competition sometime," Mathias says.

"We haven't had any Olympic skaters but we've had some regional skaters," Southworth says.

We may not see any familiar faces in Sochi next year but with the talent we have in Eau Claire, the 2018 Olympics could be a different story.

The non-profit club uses shows and competitions to raise the funds to rent out ice-time. They also teach people of all ages how to skate.


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