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Editions

Back on the ice… and loving it

02 Nov 2011

Back on the ice… and loving it Image

Docklander Sharon Hedley has returned to her childhood passion of figure skating after nearly 30 years and is blossoming from the experience.

As a teenager Sharon (right) won a novice Australian gold medal in the sport but gave it up when she married in 1982.

The Dock 5 resident didn’t really give ice skating a second thought – that is until the Icehouse came to her home town Docklands early last year.

And now she’s rediscovered the feeling of freedom that goes with gracefully gliding and spinning across the ice.

“It feels fantastic to be back on the ice,” the 54-year-old said.  “It’s such a buzz.”

Sharon’s involvement goes beyond skating.  She has accepted an invitation to learn to judge the sport and is now giving back to the sport by developing a new generation of skaters.

And she is not content to rest on her laurels with just figure skating.  She is taking lessons in ice dancing and hopes to go all the way to the top grading with this side of the sport too.

“It’s a sport you can do until you can’t walk anymore,” Sharon said, pointing out that there were competitors in a recent contest in their 60s and 70s.

But, she admitted, while the mind was willing, the body was still lagging behind where she was 30 years ago.

“I did a jump before and went a little higher than I wanted to.  I thought whooa,” she said.  “I still get dizzy when I spin, but I’m sure I will get over that.”

Sharon never lived near an ice rink in her earlier life.  She grew up in Sydney, where she won a NSW and Australian title in 1973 and moved to Melbourne with her family.

Back then, she skated at St Moritz in St Kilda before the formerly iconic landmark was bulldozed to make way for apartments.  From there she moved to a rink in Dandenong where she also used to coach juniors before and after school.

She made the decision to quit skating so she could dedicate her time to her marriage.  But with two children now grown up (aged 25 and 27) Sharon has more time for herself.

“I am happy to accept where my life has taken me so I don’t really have any regrets about giving it up,” Sharon said.  “And if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be able to make a come-back would I? I can combine everything now – marriage, working and skating.”

She’s thankful that the Icehouse came to Docklands when it did.

“When this thing just landed on my doorstep, it was like a sign,” she said.

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