Melissa Polizzotto

Fall 2022

Level: Adult Bronze

Q: How long have you been skating?

A: ​​I started skating in my forties. Now I'm in my fifties, so I've been on the ice awhile. I started taking Adult Learn to Skate classes and a couple of years later started private lessons.

Q: When and why did you start skating?

A: ​I started skating after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The kind of NHL I have is considered incurable, so I made a short bucket list which included learning to ice skate. I was still going through maintenance immunotherapy treatments 1 year after completing 6 rounds of chemo when my neighbor asked if I would take Adult Lear to Skate classes with her. I remembered my bucket list and said YES. She quit after 2 weeks and I loved it so much that here I am, still skating. I never intended to test or compete but after performing a duet with another adult at a holiday show, I decided to join the United States Figure Skating Association, take my first tests, and compete.

Q: What do you like most about skating, and how does it help you in your daily life?

A: I love everything about skating. I love choosing music, learning a program, and finding the perfect dress (I sew some of my dresses, too). I love the sense of accomplishment when I finally achieve a difficult element. I love meeting other skaters and hanging out at the rink. Skating for me is stress relief, physical and mental exercise, and a social outlet all in one- essential facets of a healthy daily life.

Q: What is/are your favorite element(s) in skating?

A: My favorite jump is the salchow. My favorite spin is the backspin.

Q: What were your favorite skating career moments?

A: Being chosen as the winner of the Stillwell Trophy - Lower Division, awarded by the Los Angeles FSC at Adult Mid-Winter Warmup in 2019, was really special. The award was given to the skater who best expressed joy in their skating. Another moment was winning the pewter medal at 2019 Adult Nationals for Bronze III Light Entertainment with my Roxie program. Finally, hearing my name announced as "Representing the USA..." at the International Skating Union's adult competition in Vancouver, CA. The competition was conducted as an international competition, complete with a Kiss & Cry and seeing your scores and highlights of your program come up on the screen, just like on TV. Plus, I got to meet adult skaters from all over the world.

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages to being a competitive adult skater?

A: The only disadvantage is having an aging body that doesn't do what you want it to do anymore. My knees are killing me but I do the best I can and I'm grateful for every moment on the ice. The advantages - by participating in some of the USFS adult competitions like Mid-Winter Warmup, Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals, and Adult Nationals, I have been able to make skating friends across the U.S. Adult skaters support each other at competitions - we compete with each other, not against each other. It's a wonderful, supportive, and inclusive community and I appreciate what USFS has done to nurture adult skating.

Q: What advice would you give to others who want to try skating?

A: Just put on some skates and try it- I am proof that you're never too old to learn to skate. Your local rink's Learn to Skate program is the most economical way to start learning, and if you really enjoy it, private lessons will help you progress. The rink is the best place to be in the summer, too.