Posted on September 12th, 2012 *Post last modified on January 28th, 2013
Amanda Douglass, Arvada resident and skater at the Apex Ice Arena, is headed for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. The games are held from January 29 to February 5. Before the World Games, Amanda will compete in qualifying events at Lake Placid, New York in early December.
As every world-class athlete knows, it’s a long road to the top tier of a global competition. Amanda, now 26, started skating at age eight, at the “old North Jeffco” ice arena at 58th and Garrison. At the time, she took lessons from coach and instructor Bernie Creevey and fell in love with the sport.
After skating for several years under Bernie’s guidance, and working for several years with coach Kelly Swan, Amanda took some time off from the sport. She graduated from Arvada High School, and around the time Bernie returned to coaching at Apex in 2009, she and Amanda reconnected. Her love for her coach and skating was rekindled, and she took it to a new competitive level. Amanda is now in her third year of competing in state and regional events, and as she says with a laugh, “winning nothing but gold”
Her aunt is creating a display case for all those medals, Amanda says. In the meantime, she practices at the Apex Ice Arena two days a week – on her days off from her job at King Soopers on 80th and Wadsworth. Many of her co-workers and customers know about her past successes and upcoming Special Olympics experience. She enjoys the positive feedback and encouragement from her co-workers, friends and family. Although her job and her skating both keep her busy, she also enjoys bowling as a fun and active way to spend time.
“Her parents are really proud of her and so am I,” Bernie said. “She’s put in a lot of hard work and dedication.” Although Bernie has been Amanda’s primary coach, her work with Kelly also figured prominently in her progress. On the whole, Amanda’s talent, dedication, hard work and strong support network have all contributed to her achievements. She also gets inspiration from ice skating greats such as her personal favorite, Michele Kwan.
Amanda’s graceful, powerful presence on the ice brings to mind the old adage, “make it look easy.” But for a skater with her height of 5’8”, the moves are in fact more challenging, as the body’s center of gravity is farther away from the limbs. That being said, she especially loves the gliding motion of the “stretch moves,” as seen in this recent photo. Amanda’s wearing her World Games competition skating dress, inspired by the movie Robin Hood; she’ll skate to the music from the same movie. Bernie helped Amanda pick the music, and Amanda’s mother located the beautiful, medieval-themed dress. Amanda will compete in two events: compulsory and freestyle. The freestyle is 2 minutes and 30 seconds long – “but it feels like it’s so much longer,” she says.
Amanda’s parents and her coach will accompany her to the Special Olympics World Winter Games. One of the world’s largest sporting events of the year, it is projected to attract several thousand athletes and up to 25,000 families volunteers and coaches.
Congratulations to Amanda and best wishes to her as she sets her sights on a winter to remember!