Ice skating: Eddy sisters strike gold in synchro skating

It's been almost two weeks, but Kim and Sarah Eddy say that their gold medal performance with DC Edge at the U.S. Figure Skating Synchronized Skating championships has yet to sink in.

"I think we're still in shock," said Sarah, the younger of the two sisters. "The team went in just hoping to skate well. Even just to medal, we would have been ecstatic."

Instead, DC Edge, which placed fifth in the 2011 competition, rocked the synchronized ice skating world by scoring a record-setting 72 points, nearly 12 points better than the previous high.

"We were shocked the scores were so high. Way higher than any scores we have gotten this season," Sarah said. "We were blown away."

It was DC Edge's first medal in the adult division of the competition. The team's master's level team won a bronze medal.

The Eddys, both graduates of Mt. Hebron High School, began ice skating at an early age. Kim was in first grade, and Sarah was a three-year-old tagalong.

"My mom had been a slightly competitive skater growing up and she encouraged us to start skating," Kim said.

The girls did group lessons at the Columbia Ice Rink and then progressed to private lessons. They tried ensemble skating, now called theater on ice, but the ensemble skating program at the time faded after a year or two.

Kim enjoyed the team aspect of skating, so her sophomore year in high school she joined the Bowie Metroliners, a synchronized skating team.

"I absolutely fell in love with synchronized skating," she said.

So much so that she refused to look at any college that didn't have a skating team. As fate would have it, she fell in love with the University of Maryland, which did not have synchronized ice skating.

Kim continued to skate with the Metroliners until she aged out. Then she started a synchronized ice skating club team at Maryland. She was the team's coach and continues in that role today.

Sarah joined the team when she went to Maryland. She served as president of the club her last three years in college.

There was no sibling rivalry.

"We worked well together so it made it easier planning things out" for the team, Sarah said.

Synchronized ice skating started at the University of Michigan nearly 50 years ago.

What initially began as ice skating cheerleaders for hockey games, evolved into a sport that now has 14 different skill levels.

The divisions have different program lengths and requirements.

The adult division program is 3 minutes, 30 seconds long and has nine required elements — including a circle, block, line and wheel.

DC Edge's adult team has 16 skaters and an alternate. The team practices together once a week and skaters are also expected to practice on their own.

"You have to have a high level of trust when you do synchro," said Kim, who teaches science at the Homewood School. "You are in close quarters and you really have to trust your teammates."

Kim said she finds skating to have a calming, relaxing effect. "I just enjoy being on the ice. When I step on the ice I feel at home."

DC Edge is part of the Washington Figure Skating Club. The team practices at the Wheaton Ice Rink.

Kim has been with DC Edge for three years; this is Sarah's first year.

At nationals, DC Edge's program had an aviation theme. The skaters wore flight attendant inspired costumes and the first song they skated to was from the musical "Catch Me If You Can."

Sarah, a video media specialist for the National Park Service, said that the year's theme and program are revealed to the whole team at the same time. The team started practice last summer; the national championships conclude the year.

Tryouts for next year's team start later this month.

Adult synchronized skating has taken off.

"It has really sprung up," Kim said. "It has gotten more competitive in the last six years or so as people skating on junior or senior competitive teams" reach 21, the minimum age for adult synchro.

"Because of this win, we have gotten a lot of attention and we are expecting huge tryouts," Kim said.

Kim slept in her gold medal the night of the competition.

"I think she was too tired to take it off," Sarah said.

"The gold medal is awesome," Sarah said. "We finally made our parents' 20-plus years of investment pay off. It's no shock that skating is an expensive sport, then to have two daughters do it."

"It was incredible to win and to be so connected to the team," Kim said. "This team was an amazing group of people."

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