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Thursday October 23, 2014
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Clark, who coaches at many arenas, was figure skating director at the Coliseum in 2005 and 2006. The Coliseum's program is still in its infancy, he says, adding that current figure skating director Carol Kletzka is trying to create a "comfortable atmosphere" where all skaters, beginning or advanced, can accomplish their goals.

Maddie Downer competed through the state level until several years ago, when the time commitment became too great. Now she's a junior coach at the Coliseum, helping other young skaters in exchange for free ice time. "The beauty of the Arctic is that it makes it possible for someone like Maddie to have her passion and still have her life," says Amy Downer.

The nineteen girls on the Coliseum Comets synchronized skating team share that same passion. Most of them skate for fun and the handful of team competitions and shows a year. Half a dozen others also take private lessons here and enter individual competitions statewide.

Michael Holt, father of Comets skater Madison, twelve, just plunked down $1,000 for custom-fitted skates for his daughter. The Manchester family also pays about $120 per competition and extra bucks for private lessons, which can run $35-$60 an hour. It's all worth it, he says, as he watches his daughter skate laps at a recent practice. She whizzes by him, pink-faced and grinning. "It's her sport, it's her exercise, it's her everything," he says.

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