If you had asked me to describe myself prior to the accident that changed my life forever, the first words that would have come out of my mouth would have been, “I am a figure skater.” From as far back as I can remember I have been in love with moving across the ice.

When I was a little girl my father flooded the lake on our property so that my four brothers could play hockey, my sister and I could figure skate, and the neighbor kids all joined in on the fun! He also pulled together some leaders in the community, and together they built a hockey rink with boards and lights, a pleasure rink, and a warming house for anyone to enjoy. Between the ice in my back yard and the rink next to the Elementary School, I spent every moment possible learning to copy the older children, thus began the development of my identity.

By the time I was nine, my parents saw my determination and started driving me 50 miles in one direction to the nearest in-door skating club, where I quickly moved through the levels of group lessons and advanced to private lessons and competitive skating. At the age of 12, I was skating nearly every day as an individual skater and a member of a precision skating line, which competed throughout the country.

The commitment to figure skating is not one to be taken lightly. Throughout my junior and senior high school years, my father would open the door to my bedroom at 3:45am and say, “Sarah…time to get up.” By 5:30am I was on the ice for compulsory figures and then a session of freestyle before he drove me another 35 miles to school. All of this time together with my parents driving, was in many ways the reason we developed such an amazing bond.

I turned from a competitive to a professional skater around my 20th birthday, and have since coached thousands of individuals of all ages, abilities, figure skaters and hockey players. Skating was in my blood, and to this day I still get butterflies when I lace up my skates. However, I was on the ice every day until I found myself lying in a bed in a burn center after surviving a helicopter crash in 1994. My private students all found other coaches, the classes I taught were filled by others professionals, my precision team moved forward without me, and it took me three years to find the strength to put my skates on again.

Possibly the greatest loss I endured, aside from my skin, was my place within the skating community. It wasn’t that I was pushed out, but I fell behind…and the trauma my body and my sole experienced changed me in ways that are difficult to explain. Because of that loss, I sincerely treasure each and every moment I get to spend on the ice.

Therefore, when I was blessed with an opportunity to help organize and skate with the live Minnesota Youth Symphony for our club’s 75th Anniversary last year I was over the moon…and when I was asked to work with my great nephews on their skating skills, my answer was a resounding “yes!” Here are a few photos on my afternoon on the ice with Nathan, Elliot, and Ethan just a couple weeks ago.

Skating with Nathan
Back Outside Edge
Forward Inside Edge
Nathan and Elliot

With love and sincere appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012


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