Middlebury College figure skater competes in World University Games


FISU World University Games 2023 attracts athletic talent from around the world in what is considered the largest winter multisport collegiate sporting event in the world.

And the event is taking place this week at the Lake Placid Olympic Center. Several Vermonters participate in the games, which some see as stepping stones to the Winter Olympics.

Athletes aged 17 to 25 compete in sports such as alpine and cross-country skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding, ski jumping and figure skating.

Ting Cui, 20, a student at Middlebury College, will be one of them. She has high hopes for this year’s games.

Vermont Public’s Mitch Wertlieb spoke to Ting Cui. Their conversation below has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Mitch Wertlieb: First, as you’ve just recovered from a fairly serious injury, tell me what this competition means to you.

Ting Cui: Yes, I was on hiatus and trying to get back on my feet and back into competitive mode for about two years. And I’ve finally worked my way back into good competitive shape this season. At the start of the season, one of my goals was that I really wanted to qualify for the World University Games. And for the first time in a really long time, I was able to achieve one of my goals for the season, which was very exciting. And it makes it even better that now I’m a sophomore, a collegiate athlete at Middlebury College, and then I can represent them at the games too.

What was the injury you sustained a few years ago that you are recovering from?

I had two ankle injuries in the same year, from the first I was able to recover in about six months. And then the second was like a real injury to the same ligaments and bones. And that got me out of the way for quite a while, and then COVID hit, so the rinks closed. I remember my first day on the ice, I was so excited to be there. And then the very next day I got a call that they closed all the rinks and then again I couldn’t skate for quite a long time.

You must be so eager now to compete. Did you pick up the ankle injury, which as a figure skater will of course be pretty serious, did it happen during training? Was your initial injury related to skating?

Yes, the first time was on the ice. I was working on a really hard jump. And I rolled my ankle. I landed wrong And then completely rolled my ankle outward. And then the second time was off the ice, so without the protection of the boot. And I was doing rotational jumps, I was trying to get a little bit more rotation. And I guess I was just a little less conscious when I landed. Instead of landing on the bottom of my foot like you normally would, I landed on it and like a little whorl of my ankle. great no fun

“And I think what I love the most is it’s super simple, actually just the feeling of sliding on the ice and being able to turn so fluidly. You just can’t get that anywhere else, and I love the fluid motion of the earth. “

Ting Cui, physical education student at Middlebury College

And I understand that you are working on some interesting types of training, sometimes training virtually.

Yes that’s right. This has allowed me to commute quite a bit between my home base at Middlebury College this semester. But while I’m in Middlebury training, I’m on the Chip Kenyon Arena. And I work practically a lot with my coach. So I’ll have a little bit of setup going, I’ve got my laptop balanced on the boards. This then allows my phone to connect to Bluetooth and play my program music. And so it was a work in progress, trying to figure it all out. But it worked quite well.

It’s been nice to have a coach who’s also just supervising things and motivating me because it’s a lot harder to train during school because I have classes. And then, after I finish my classes, I’m already mentally tired before I go to the arena. And so it was nice to have him there just to push me.

Tell me about the events you will be attending at the FISU games. What events will you be attending specifically as a figure skater? And what are you hoping for from these games?

I will be at the women’s figure skating event. So that involves a short program, a long program. And at the end there is an exhibition gala where we put on a show program. And this is not counted. It’s just a kind of demonstration.

I just really hope that I can make achievements that I can be proud of. I don’t really have any results-oriented goals at the moment. But going into it now, I’ve had some little bumps in the preparation but I’m just hoping to be there and just do my best whatever it is at the moment.

What do you love most about figure skating? How long have you been doing this?

Yes I’ve been doing this for 13 years now since I was 7. And I think what I love the most is it’s super easy, actually just the feeling of gliding on the ice and being able to turn so fluidly. You just can’t get that anywhere else, and I love the fluid motion on Earth. It’s very different. So I’m really into ballet because I started ballet before I started skating. And so I’m probably classically trained in grace and elegance. And it’s like a whole different shape when you’re moving on the ice, which I think is pretty cool.

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