Alexa Gasparotto is aiming for a spot at the U.S. Championships Credit: Rohene Ward photo

Figure skater Alexa Gasparotto is focused on making her mark this season. She finished fourth at the recent Middle Atlantic Figure Skating Championships at SkyRink at Chelsea Piers and now is training with the goal of earning a spot in the senior ladies division at the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Gasparotto, 19, grew up in Michigan and began skating at age four at one of the state’s well known training facilities. In 2020, she met prominent coach/choreographer Rohene Ward at a Diversify Ice exhibition. The mission of the Diversify Ice Foundation is to increase access and diversity in the sport. Gasparotto and Ward are both ambassadors.

“I ran into him the following year at a competition and he wanted to work with me, and I was super honored and surprised,” Gasparotto said. “I was already a big fan of his. Fast forward to now, I’ve been working with him for about a year.”

Following high school graduation, Gasparotto moved to the Chicago area to work with Ward. This year, she has a singular focus to succeed. Over her 15 years in the sport, she hasn’t seen many Black skaters, but early on she was impressed with Surya Bonaly, the European Champion and Olympian from France.

“That was because of her power and character on the ice,” said Gasparotto. “As I developed my skating career I realized power was my strong suit. The fact that Surya looked like me made it that much more special.”

Jumping has always been Gasparotto’s strength. As she’s matured, she loves learning new things, such as musical interpretation. “I’m starting to love each character that I can develop into with my music,” she said. Her short program music is “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” which she said energizes an audience. She’s created an alter ego, and she’s totally in character when she steps on the ice. For the free skate, she’s chosen cuts from the “Dreamgirls” soundtrack, which she hopes will make people ask, “Who is this girl? Why have we not heard of her?”

Gasparotto plans on starting online college in December. She took her trip to New York as a learning experience, and she enjoyed meeting new people and seeing the city. To keep building momentum for her next competition in November, she’ll be performing several exhibitions, which will serve as dress rehearsals. “Not feel the pressure, but feel the same as competition,” she said.

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  1. Excellent article on an up-and-coming Black figure skater, trained by Rohene Ward, the great choreographer of so many Jason Brown masterpieces. I look forward to Lois’ articles every week.

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