AST Skater Spotlight Series – Meet Agus

Our Adults Skate Too Skater Spotlight Series is a bi-weekly blog where you get to know your fellow adult skaters from all over the world! For our next edition, you will get to meet Agus. She’s a med student from Argentina who began skating during med school. Read our blog to learn about her journey as a new skater during the pandemic and more!

What’s your name? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

My name is Agus (Agustina full name.. haha) or @aguspwr__/@agustavelli on ig. I’m 23 years old, from Buenos Aires, Argentina and I’m a 6th year med student. I’m about to start my last year as an intern, before I get my MD.

What’s your story? How did you get into figure skating?

Ok this is gonna be long….

My first experiences with skating happened when I was little, when I traveled with my family. I always loved skating whenever we’d come across an ice rink, but it was never something I ever thought of pursuing as a sport, as it’s very uncommon in Argentina. 

Since those first experiences, I always knew I loved skating but it was always limited to whenever I traveled.

Then jump to 2018 and the Pyeongchang winter olympics. I was 20, about to start my 3rd year as a med student. I watched Virtue/Moir perform their OGM programs and fell in love with ice dance (and them lol).

For the next 2 years, I followed their journey, and started progressively (or maybe just full on…) getting into ice dance and then figure skating in general.

By the end of 2019, I loved the sport, had gotten to know people that loved it as much as me, and was finishing my 4th year of med school.

Throughout that entire 4th year, I had gone through some personal growth and decided I needed a hobbie. I was tired of just being a med student. So I was stubbornly looking for one. 

In Dec 2019, I was talking to a friend about skating because we were sharing our different interests; and then shared with her this need I felt for finding a hobbie.

The first thing she said, as if it were obvious, was “then why don’t you start skating?”.

It shocked me that it had never even crossed my mind, but it’s such an uncommon sport where I live that I didn’t even know How or Where to look for a place/coach to skate. My friend told me she knew someone who used to skate, and asked for a contact. 

Cue me finding my amazing coaches, sisters Fernanda and Eugenia of @icepowerskatingclub.

I messaged them that december, they told them they’d let me know when beginner classes started, and on March 4th 2020 I had my first class. Loved it so much I bought my first skates that same day when I got home.

I had one more class after that, and then quarantine hit.

What does your skating schedule look like?

…what even is a skating schedule haha! For me, it’s basically whenever I find ice. Which can be every few months. 

All our rinks have closed in Argentina, so last year I only got to skate for 2 weeks when I traveled to the US in October. Then again this January when a tiny temporal rink opened in Bariloche, Argentina.. but it was really bad ice and I sprained my ankle 5min into the session 🙃

How have you been keeping yourself busy with the stay at home order?

Last year I had a really intense school year with it being my 5th, so I studied a bunch. Then any free time I had.. I skated. First with regular roller skates, then with my inline. I kept taking online classes with my coach and took extra ones they offered from many amazing coaches around the world. I got a spinner and started working on that. Off ice basically kept me grounded, and it really was all I knew.. having started only 2 weeks before lockdown.

What has been the most rewarding or exciting moment in your skating career?

Getting to travel to the US to skate for 20 days. I literally spent 17 days straight going to the rink, for at least 4 hours a day. It was so incredibly exciting and rewarding to finally get to put my 7 months of off ice training into practice on the ice!!! I was shocked and proud at how fast I developed so many skills during my time there.

I also got to be coached by some amazing people there, and that experience was otherworldly. 

What was the most difficult moment of your skating career and how did you overcome it?

Besides the constant desperation and need to get back on the ice every time I didn’t have any (be it bc of lockdown or just not having rinks in arg), my most difficult moment is happening right now.

I sprained my ankle pretty badly that first day back on the ice on Jan 7, and I’m now wearing an ankle walker for the next couple weeks, plus physical therapy when I get back home. It’s gonna take a couple months to recover and it’s so frustrating that I won’t even be able to inline skate.

I am also deeply scared about how weak and insecure I feel about my hurt ankle.

BUT, I’m trying to be positive, know that eventually I’ll get to skate again. I’m young and healthy and have a lifetime to keep practicing this sport. I can just take this as a break after a year of intense training and giving it my all.

What’s your favorite element to practice?

I loveeeee jumps, even if I’m still pretty bad at them. Every time I land one I feel a rush of excitement. I like salchows when i can manage them and I am looking forward to keep working on my loop as well as my flip jump (which is at…. zero)

What is your favorite off-ice exercise to practice?

Axel. AXEL. I love it because as soon as I unlocked it, I felt like my skating leveled up (even if I dont’t have it on the ice). Also spinning on my spinner; scratch spins and (surprisingly) sit spins are becoming my fave.

What motivates you?

My absolute love for the sport and all the goals i’ve set for myself. I just REALLY want to skate a whole program to a song i love haha. But mainly my coach. She’s the best, most supportive coach and she motivates me every day to keep pushing myself.

Also shoutout to my mom, who is The most supportive person ever regarding my skating and my dreams.

How has skating impacted your life?

I’ve battled with an eating disorder for a couple of years, and it affected my relationship with exercise and movement too. I had never in my life found a sport/form of exercise that i fully enjoyed and liked, and did without ulterior motives other than just… enjoying it. 

Finding that in skating absolutely changed my relationship with movement, my body, my strength, exercise overall. I finally realized what it is like to exercise because you love it and not because you fill like you Have to. I don’t even think of skating/off ice training as exercise, for me it’s just a moment of fun and happiness.

Also skating has given me amazing friends from around the world who I cherish deeply.

What’s the best advice your coach has given you?

To take every chance I have, and give my best; that is always gonna be enough. That off ice is as important as any on ice training (and this was an important advice and reminder as someone who had to stay motivated through months of off ice without barely having skated before).

Also I don’t think it’s advice, but motivation by reminding me that I come from a background where skating opportunities, facilities, etc are lacking immensely; and that despite that and every obstacle in my way, I’ve persevered every time. And that gives me an “advantage” or strength that many other people who’ve had an easier path don’t have.

What has starting to skate DURING the pandemic taught you?

OFF. ICE. IS. ESSENTIAL. As someone who has more training off ice than on it, I’ve proven to myself and others that consistent training off ice will give you an unimaginable advantage when you do get on the ice. I managed to accomplish in 2 weeks of skating, what people might accomplish in months, because I got on the ice with so much technical background and practice. As my coach says.. how will you be able to jump on the ice, with a thin blade as support, if you can’t jump on the floor with both feet planted on the ground haha.

What’s your advice for other adult skaters out there?

Go for it. No matter your age, fitness level, preconceptions about who or how you think you should be to skate. There is a place for ALL of us in ice skating. There is a community of amazing supportive people who have gone through the same, similar or even different paths than you,that will always GET YOU AND SUPPORT YOU. 

Even olympic champions were beginners once, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

Age is only a number, your background/nationality a part of who you are, and love for this sport is all you need to pursue it. 

As adult skaters, we are breaking barriers and creating a whole new path within figure skating. Being a part of that makes us strong, inspiring and amazing. So just go for it, enjoy yourself. Laugh through the failures and celebrate every victory, as small as it may seem. 

And don’t ever compare yourself to tiny 15 year olds who have skated since they were in their mom’s womb hahahah

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