Ice Skating In Peru? Yes Please!
During the 2000s, there were two attempts to build an Ice rink in Lima, Peru. Both resulted in temporary ice rinks built next to a mall and a city park. They were poor recreational rinks with no programs whatsoever and definitely smaller than half a professional ice rink! Since ice skating is not a popular entertainment in a warm weather city like Lima, they all closed within the year.
In 2011, a semiprofessional ice rink was open in one of the center districts of Lima, an initiative that was at first a combination with an ice rink and an entertainment park for children. It started as a recreational rink and introduced the public to a completely strange experience. Its name was Iceland Park.
In late 2012, the Argentinian coach Sergio Lois started a school for learning to skate in Iceland Park. He focused on developing the basics of figure skating. Sergio had experience in figure skating as a top 10 competitor in Quad Roller skating, participating in many international tournaments, including the 2006 World Championship in Murcia, Spain. He had also been an ice skating coach in Argentina, a country where figure skating was more developed than any other country in South America.
In 2013, Sergio decided to start a project that involved a long term training to create the Peruvian Figure Skating Team. As a result of this idea, two skating schools were created: Iceland School and Ice Magic School (IMAS), both coached by Sergio. At first they were only a small group of skaters that were competitive enough for basic skill competitions which took them to the First South American Championship 2015 held in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the first Peruvian Delegation of Figure Skating, skating against other delegations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador, almost 80 competitors. The Peruvian Team was composed of 5 competitors and they were all awarded gold medals in their own category.
During 2016, the amount of skaters increased exponentially, so several training schedules were created in order to fulfill with the demand. Group lessons increased so much that two coaches from the Russian circus touring in Peru had to be brought in. Off-ice training, dancing and ballet were included in the figure skating team training. All this was possible with the assistance of a second coach from Argentina, Mery Acevedo, a well-known figure skater for her Flying On Ice performances.
By the second South American Championships in 2016, our delegation reached 29 skaters between the ages of 8 to 31, including two Peruvian ice skaters that train in the US and Switzerland. They were all participating between Basic Skill to Preliminary levels, earning 28 medals.
As we are preparing for the third South American Championships to be held in Quito, Ecuador, the Peruvian Figure Skating Team project is starting to reach its limits in regard of infrastructure. Last Summer 2017 (January to March in Peru) the beginner group lessons had more than 220 skaters in 12 different schedules!
Since most of our skaters had a late start at an average age of 13, their training has been rigorously monitored by our coaches. As Peruvian first generation of figure skaters, their improvement has been marked by a highly demanding training, reaching the limits of personal effort. As a result, we have skaters in every single category up to Juvenile level and also 5 skaters training abroad (USA, Switzerland, Germany, UK).
Our training consists of 4 practices on the ice a week as well as 3 practices off-ice; all under our coaches’ supervision. The on-ice practices are divided in Basic Skill, Free Skate and Advanced Free Skate groups. Also Sergio Lois, the main coach, gives skaters private lessons whenever the skaters required them.
Although not every beginner has the skills to be part of the Peruvian Figure Skating Team, we already have over 50 active competitors! Therefore, the space in the ice rink for practices is getting short. As the only semiprofessional ice rink in Peru (40 ft x 98ft), our only option is to adapt our training schedule, but as more enthusiastic skaters start to join in, we are looking for better options.
We are currently exploring options to build a professional ice rink in Lima with all the required equipment to train our team and to provide training services for all skaters in the region. The South American Championship in 2016 was a success, with more than 280 skaters participating from 6 different countries, and Peru has a prime location for all skaters in South America.
Our goal as a Figure Skating school is to train our skaters to represent Peru at the elite & professional level. Peru has very little participation in the Winter Olympics (3 skiers) and none in international competitions of winter sports.
We are working to create a place where perfection is achievable and to show our country that a complete different sport has arisen. This is the mission coach Sergio Lois instilled when he started, and so it continues.
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