Lithuanian skater wows Spice on Ice
The folks in the bleachers clapped along with “Black Betty” as Reklys, an eight-time Lithuanian champion figure skater, spun and jumped across the Janesville Ice Skating Center.
What the crowd couldn’t see was the small mob of young skaters “backstage” with their faces pressed against the Plexiglas and their eyes glued to the champion’s every move.
“Wow,” they all whispered.
Reklys was one of several performers invited to spice up the fourth annual “Spice on Ice” hosted Saturday by the Janesville Figure Skating Club. He was the most medalled skater on the program.
Along with traditional figure-skating performances, club members dressed in camouflage tops to perform a tribute to members of the military.
The skill levels at the show ranged from Reklys, who has competed around the world, to preschool-sized skaters who needed to hold someone’s hand in order to make it around the ice.
Anna Steinberg of Edgerton was another skater invited to Saturday’s performance.
Steinberg, 16, got her start skating at the ice center in the summer of 2000, she said. Now she trains in Lisle, Ill.
“I come back every year to do this show,” Steinberg said.
Club member Beth Kaveggia made skating look easy, even though she’s only been figure skating for a year. But people shouldn’t be intimidated to learn how to skate, the 12-year-old said.
She had a bit of a head start because she’s had some gymnastics training, and that helped her skating, she said.
Skating is easier on her feet, and she enjoys it.
“Like when you do jumps, you feel really powerful,” she said.
Those new to the sport shouldn’t be afraid to fall down a few times. Skating gets better quickly, she said.
“It’s scary at first,” Kaveggia said. “But if you practice and work hard, it really is a fun sport.”