SKATING FOR FUN AND FITNESS

SKATING FOR FUN AND FITNESS

Wessling, Susan

Sasha Cohen will be skating with the public in three events this fall. Cohen, the reigning World silver medalist, will take part in Marshalls Skate Fests, a team effort between U.S. Figure Skating and Marshalls. Cohen will skate in events in Chicago, Houston and New York. Each city will host on-ice clinics designed to encourage more people to skate for fun and fitness.

“It is going to be fun, especially if they are fans and are supportive,” Cohen said. “It is always fun to skate with people that admire skaters, and I think it will be a good opportunity to show them what I do and see what their interests are.”

Cohen, who turns 20 in late October, is a true believer in the benefits of physical fitness. “I think it is really important to have a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “The way our culture and technology has evolved, they have made things so convenient that we almost don’t have to walk or exercise any more.

“I think it is so important to exercise and not just to do it in a gym and on a treadmill, but to actually enjoy outdoor physical activity or the sport that you love. I think it makes you healthier and a better overall person.”

Marshalls recently signed on as the presenting sponsor of the Basic Skills program, U.S. Figure Skating’s premier grassroots program. Skate Fests are part of an effort to generate greater participation in the Basic Skills program.

Marshalls Skate Fests will take place on the following dates:

Chicago: Sept. 18, Seven Bridges Ice Arena, Woodridge, 111.;

Houston: Sept. 19, IceSkate USA at Memorial City Mall; and

New York: Nov. 20, Wollman Rink in Central Park

Known for her competitive spirit, Cohen has shown her kinder side this past year by “adopting” a U.S. soldier who is a specialist in the U.S. Army Signal Battalion. She sends the soldier letters, postcards and care packages. “Someone told me about it, and I thought it would be a really neat thing to do,” she said. “It is something that seemed very appropriate with what [our country] is going through to be supportive of the U.S. soldiers. They are putting their lives on the line.

“I write them to let them know they have support back home, to wish them the best and tell them I hope that they can come home to their families soon.”

Cohen had a stellar 2003-2004 season. She medaled in every event she competed in with five golds, three silvers and one bronze. Cohen is the first U.S. woman since Tara Lipinski in 1998 to win gold at the ISU Grand Prix Final (2002-2003).

Cohen will open her season at the 2004 CampbelPs International Figure Skating Classic on Oct. 1 at the Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn. Skaters will be competing for $200,000 in prize money, which will be divided among the top six ladies’ finishers and the top six men’s finishers. The event will be broadcast on ABC on Oct. 10 from 1-3 p.m.

SUSAN WESSLING

Copyright Ashton International Media, Inc. Oct 2004

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved