It’s been years in the making, but Harlem Township offspring, Jennifer Tieche who now lives in Westerville, is finally heading to a World Championship in figure skating — real figure skating, school figures.
Historically, school figures were more important in skating competitions than jumps and spins. School figures are the building blocks upon which everything else in skating is based. They develop body core strength and the edge quality so important in quality skating.
Unfortunately, school figures were dropped as a requirement for skating advancement in 1992, leading to an increase in skating injuries to young skaters and the change in skating from an artistic, graceful sport to extreme skating where triple and quadruple revolution jumps have become a requirement.
After figures were dropped in 1992, Tieche, like every other skater, stopped doing them. But something bothered her about skating, and in 2006 she went back to doing figures and has advanced through the figure levels – enough so that she was invited to compete in the Inaugural World Figure Championship being held on August 28 and 29 in Lake Placid, New York.
Each competitor will have to skate 16 different figures, each one a set of circles with intricate turns, and trace over the original tracing five more times trying to set each pass down on top of the prior one.
The championship competition is limited to a maximum of 16 women and 16 men. After the competition, everyone participating will hold a world ranking in school figures. At the competition Jennifer will be skating against an international field including former Olympians. Tieche said she is proud to be competing in the elite competition because it also means that she is one of the people in the U.S. being recognized for their understanding of the importance of school figures to skating.
The cost of going to the international competition is high, $500 just for the competition entry fee. To help with the expenses of the event, Tieche is looking for local sponsors and has set up a Go Fund Me account online. Tieche is a member of the Columbus Figure Skating Club and coaches skating at all the rinks in the Columbus area. She is being mentored in figures by former U.S. and World Champion Tim Wood of California and U.S. Champion Janet Lynn of Virginia.
Jennifer Tieche is the daughter of Don and Vicki Tieche, who live in Harlem Township near Center Village. She’s a 1998 Big Walnut High School graduate, and a 2002 graduate of Capital University where she majored in art and biology.
To contribute to Tieche’s GoFundMe account search for Jennifer Tieche on Facebook, then scroll down and click on her < GoFundMe.com account >.
Information for this story was provided by Vickie Tieche.