Seven-year-old Anne-Marie Wells had never watched herself figure skate before. Moments after she finished her routine in the seventh annual Capital Regional Council figure skating competition at Mount Vernon Ice Rink, the 3-foot-tall second-grader from Potomac got her chance.
With her mother by her side, Anne-Marie Wells watched herself on videotape in the lobby of the rink. Quietly, intently, she saw herself zip through a series of double axel, spin, and camel moves in her white sequin outfit. When the tape ended, she ran off to find friends, unconcerned with the fact that she had just been on TV.
For her mother, however, it was a thrill. "I had never seen her either," said Rose Anne Wells. "Of course I'm proud. I'm her mother."
More than 180 ice skaters, from age 7 to 16, participated in the training competition. Although it was a happy day for Anne-Marie Wells (she finished first in her age group), it was a day of falls for most of the other skaters, most of them competing for the first time in front of spectators.
"I'd say that of all the competitors here, all are doing something wrong and nearly all fall sometime in their routines," said tournament official Robert Lively.
The competition is intended to bring the figure skaters up the development ladder; it's the grammar school of ice skating. "You take any raw, untrained commodity and stick a pair of skates on them and put them on ice, and they're going to start falling," said John Steele, president of the Skating Club of Richmond.
Nevertheless, the long day of skating, which began at 7 a.m. and ended at night, was great fun for the participants.
"I want to skate as long as I can," said 8-year-old Stacey Turcotte, of Bowie. "I started when I was 4 and I don't want to give it up."
In the day's most advanced level of competition, Bridget Barkeit, Washington Figure Skating Club, took first place, followed by Jennie Heppel, Washington Figure Skating Club, and Heather Katzen, Skating Club of Northern Virginia.