by Peg Coleman
Watching the National Figure Skating competition was a treat as Michele Kwan was back in competition. Having watched her skate many times over the years, I watched again with a sense of expectancy and anticipation that something special was about to happen. She has always captured my imagination with her interpretation of the music, so beautifully expressed in graceful energy and creative movements. Each note of the music seems so carefully considered and planned for. Not a note seems wasted or movement squandered on some meaningless gesture of hands or feet. Her wonderfully expressive face seems to capture every change of atmosphere in the music. There is that "I was made for this moment" sense about her.
Others have moved in that same atmosphere. When Peggy Fleming won Olympic Gold in the 60's her grace and charm captured the imagination of America. When the English couple Jane Torvil and Christopher Dean finished their ground breaking four minute program in the Pairs competition skating to Ravel's Bolero, the crowd at Olympic stadium went wild. Torvil and Dean introduced a style of skating never before seen in pairs competition. Their groundbreaking presentation opened a completely new style of competitive skating. Their willingness to take a chance and challenge the way presentations had always been done enabled future pairs skaters to express themselves in new movements and combinations never before attempted in ice competition.
These skaters each presented us with very special moments. Their performances captured moments of completeness where music, movement and expression were in almost perfect harmony and they allowed us to share the wonder of it with them.
As I watched each of these skaters, unbidden tears would roll down my cheeks. They were silent witnesses to incredible moments of beauty not often seen, but undeniable when they are.
Michele Kwan was asked after winning the National Title this year if she is ready to set her sites on winning a place on the next Olympic Team. She answered with care, saying she had no idea what the next few years held. When asked if she would keep on competing she said "oh yes" without hesitation. When pressed further as to why, she answered "because I love it. This is what I love to do."
There is something in moments like these that keep me coming back to watch the next competition, the next performance, whether it is skating, basketball, cycling or some other sport. It is a sense that each of our lives are meant to work in that same way; integrated, purposeful, meaningful and to be, yes, beautiful.
No matter how many times I am privileged to witness performances such as these, I am left with the same sense of awe, respect and challenge. These are people who acknowledged something inside that seemed to say they were meant for this, and then who had the courage, commitment and determination to pursue whatever it is to the very best of their ability.
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