Figure skaters will take to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex Sept. 8 to help the next generation of athletes, and one Ashburn skater has been chosen to participate alongside Olympians and national champions.
Event host Michael Weiss — a three-time U.S. National Figure Skating Champion and two-time Olympian — invited three aspiring local skaters to participate: 13-year-old Elise Romola from Ashburn, VA, and Luca and Gigi Becker from Bethesda, MD.
Romola is a student at Eagle Ridge Middle School in Broadlands who, besides ice skating, enjoys reading, shopping with friends and playing with her dog Mischief. She plays on a Loudoun County travel soccer team, and her favorite subjects in school are French and Math. Romola began at age 5, with dreams of Olympic Gold. Currently skating at the novice level, Elise’s accomplishments include:
- 2011 South Atlantics Juvenile champion
- 2011 Jr. National finalist (6th)
- 2012 South Atlantics Intermediate bronze medalist
- 2012 Jr. National finalist
“We raise all of our funds for the year at that show and they are awarded as scholarships to Olympic hopefuls,” said Michael Weiss, a champion skater who puts on the show through the foundation he founded.
Now in its eighth year, the Michael Weiss Foundation’s “Ice Champions LIVE!” event will feature 16 figure skaters, many of them former Olympians. Skaters include Brian Boitano, Ashley Wagner, Ryan Bradley and Kimmie Meissner.
“They all do it willingly because they’ve all been there,” said Weiss, who lives in McLean.
Twenty-seven scholarships are expected to be handed out from the money raised at event. In the last eight years, the foundation has raised $500,000 in scholarship money. The funds will be distributed later this year.
Weiss knows what it’s like to have to pay for the costs of training. His own parents spent in the neighborhood of $50,000 a year to support him and his siblings in various sports. He later went on to be a three-time U.S. National Figure Skating Champion and two-time Olympian.
“I always remembered what a difference it made to me to get support from family or a local business,” Weiss said. “So I always said that once I had the resources to help someone I would.”
The event will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, 627 N. Glebe Road. Tickets are now on sale through www.michaelweiss.org and www.ticketweb.com or by calling 866-468-7630. On-ice skating is available this year. Ticket prices range from $20 to $50 with VIP opportunities.