#JacksonFamily Interviews with Kristine Levitina // College + Figure Skating
UPDATE: Since our interview with Kristine, she placed third place at Collegiate Championships. Her podium finish earned her the Pioneer Fund Collegiate Championship Award.
Going to college can mean the end of skating, but for others it just increases the challenge. The US Collegiate Figure Skating Championships is a collegiate figure skating competition sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating. It is the highest level at which figure skating takes place at the college level in the United States. The event has been held since 1986.
Kristine Levitina of Florida is enrolled in Florida International University (FIU) and this summer she’s headed to her first collegiate championship in Adrian, MI.
How are you prepping for college this summer?
“I haven’t done any summer classes or school prep. I did a lot of honor classes in high school and FIU signs you up for a required time management course, which as a skater should be pretty easy. So this summer, I’ve been spending it working.
Besides teaching private lessons, I’m the counselor for the summer camp at Pines Ice arena [in Florida]. And weekends I do party hostess at the rink for birthday parties. So most days I’ve been at the rink eleven hours a day.”
Do you know what degree you will pursue and maybe the dream job?
“I want to study biology and eventually become a pediatrician. Kids and I have a connection, I don’t know why.”
How did you learn about Collegiate Championships?
“Honestly, I was at Florida Open competition and a fellow competitor mentioned it. She said a lot of the friends I competed against when I was younger are already there competing. That its fun, everything was super chill and no one’s down on you. When you’re older and in college you need some fun in your life!”
Well said! So some college students consider themselves too old to skate and retire when going to college. Would you consider yourself past the prime in this regard?
“No I don’t, I feel like it sometimes because of being sore from skating. But I’m definitely, not old. I have a lot left to do as a skater. After collegiate championship I’m going to compete at South Atlantic Regionals too, it’s in my backyard in Coral Springs Florida and I will be able to sleep in my own bed every night, that’s awesome.”
Have you developed a plan to balance skating (preparing for regionals) and going to college?
“I actually tried to make my school schedule pretty typical. So that means I’ll skate in the early morning and then go to FIU most of the day. Then I’ll return to Pines Ice arena and teach on the afternoon freestyles. School isn’t too far and commute is mostly interstate which is great.”
This season, who picked your music? Coach or you, the college skater?
“I picked my music (LOL) although my free skate is something that was picked for me years ago called Ancient Lands. I skated it for 2 or 3 seasons. But I felt as a skater, I wasn’t developed enough to give it the justice it deserved. I really like the music and I felt I didn’t skate to it, like the music needed so I’ve returned to it. My Short is Angelica from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Are you going into the Collegiate Championships with a particular goal in mind? Different from any other competition?
“I go into every competition not expecting a placement. I try to just improve on myself so it doesn’t matter who I’m competing against. Obviously, you do want to place well, but I’m always trying to land all my jumps or add harder jumps, and not make mistakes; like once I fell on all my spins.”
You have quite the technical expertise with skates. We understand you sharpen skates! What drove you to acquire the skill?
“I wanted to sharpen my own skates more than anyone else’s. Originally, when I wanted to learn to sharpen everyone thought I was too young. I look younger than I am, so even though I was 16, they look at me and think I can’t — which is ridiculous. Now I want to learn to drive the Zamboni!”