Amie Adjakple, a freshman at Great Neck North High School who began skating at the Parkwood Rink at 6 years old, recently won a gold medal at the National Synchronized Skating Championship with the Skyliners Novice Team.
It all started for Adjakple during one winter break when her mother took her to the local rink to experience a winter sport. In the beginning, she was unable to even walk on the ice, but after taking a few lessons she began to enjoy skating and took a few group and private lessons. She gradually increased practice hours and private lessons. For the past five years, Adjakple has been skating every day, aside from when the rinks are closed for holidays.
She typically wakes up at 5 a.m. to be on ice by 6 in the morning. This proves her dedication to skating as most kids her age savor every last minute of sleep before school. Like any sport, skating requires commitment, discipline, a strong mentality and a willingness to sacrifice to achieve. In addition to waking up at the crack of dawn every day for individual practice and private lessons, Adjakple has taken ballet lessons once a week since she was 3 years old, which helps advance the artistic side of skating. She has also been taking off-ice training, such as Crossfit, to strength core muscle, as well as stretching class to improve flexibility. Clearly, Adjakple is determined to succeed in skating and works hard for her rewards.
Adjakple’s skating group, the Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team, capped a record-breaking season with four of its qualifying divisions winning gold medals and its Senior line earning bronze at the 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Rockford, IL, from Feb. 23 to 25. The Junior, Novice, Intermediate and Juvenile divisions all topped the podium and were crowned National Champions after competing against the best teams in the nation.
“This season has been truly exceptional, with all of our lines performing at the top of their game,” said Josh Babb, Skyliners head coach and director of Synchronized Skating. “Earning four 2017 national titles and the Senior Bronze is a testament to how extremely hardworking and determined our skaters and coaches have been.”
Synchronized skating, Adjakple’s specialty, consists of 8 to 20 highly skilled athletes performing a program on ice together, moving as one flowing unit at high speeds. It is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations and challenging step sequences. Approximately 600 synchronized teams and nearly 5,000 synchronized skaters are in the United States alone, with elite competitions at both the national and international level. Although it is not currently an Olympic sport, a significant movement toward including it at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games is growing, and perhaps we will be seeing Adjakple compete.
Adjakple’s best skating friends are Manhasset teenagers Alyssa Politoski, a 10th grader, and freshman Tracy Wang. The three have been skating for Skyliners for a few years and are ecstatic about setting an all-time record for their team.
During synchronized skating season, after individual training in the early morning, the team meets on Saturday and Sunday for three to six hours each week to practice its program in either Monsey, NY, or Stamford, CT. The teammates typically use their commuting time to complete homework. Adjakple and Politoski skate on the Novice line while Wang competes on the Intermediate line.
Skyliner Novice earned its first-ever national title with a powerful Camelot-themed program that earned a score of 75.93. It was a perfect end to their undefeated historic all-gold medal season. Skyliners Intermediate earned its second-straight national championship, skating to a dazzling Wizard-themed program, which earned the group a high score of 65.31.
A lot of blood, sweat and tears was required for Adjakple and her team to accomplish so much this year.
“The experience leading up to nationals was tiring, nerve-racking and a whole lot of fun,” said the ninth grader. It was a bonding experience, since Adjakple was able to spend so much more time with her synchro teammates while flying to Rockford and in the days leading up to the competition. It was exhausting and stressful, explained Adjakple, who said, “Although there was no pressure put upon us, we felt the need to deliver our all-time best performance because we had an all-gold year—and to give that up would be disappointing.”
The positive attitudes and devotion these young skaters had definitely paid off as they saw great results from their efforts. Amie Adjakple is a name to remember. She’s got big plans for the future.