Longtime St. Peters Rec-Plex skating instructor Mandy Whitacre (pictured above) will be wearing multiple hats at the Ice Sports Industry’s World Team Championships.
The World Championships, scheduled for July 22-27, return to the Rec-Plex for the first time since 1998. Mandy was a referee judge last year when they were held at New England Sports Center in Boston. Things will be more hectic for Mandy this time around on home ice.
“I’m the mom of one of the skaters, I’m the coach of many of the skaters and I’m an ISI referee judge. It will feel quite a bit different for me,” said Mandy, who expects at least 50 skaters from the Rec-Plex program to compete. “I’m excited. I’m really thrilled for it. I want all my kids to have a great time.”
The World Championships are the biggest of six events held annually by the ISI. When they last visited St. Peters, the original Rec-Plex building was just 4 years old. The Rec-Plex now includes 12-year-old Rec-Plex South, which houses two of the three ice rinks the complex will use to hold the World Championships. The Rec-Plex also has hosted ISI synchronized skating championships and the ISI Winter Classic.
“ISI knows we have the facilities that can handle this size of an event,” Mandy said. She said between 50 to 70 teams typically compete in the World Championships.
Last year, there were skaters from Thailand and four other countries.
Age range of the skaters was 2 to 91. As many as 2,000 skaters (all ISI members), along with their families, could be in St. Peters for the nearly week-long competition, Mandy said. That means business could be humming for local hotels, stores and restaurants.
“When we have skaters coming from across the world to our facility, we want to show them what St. Louis and St. Peters have to offer,” Mandy said. “It can do wonders for our programs. It’s exciting for our Learn to Skate skaters to hear about a national event being held at the rink. It will draw kids into our rink as well as adults.”
Categories of competition in the World Championships include figures, footwork, freestyle, rhythmic, artistic, interpretive, couples spotlight, stroking, ensemble, solo composition, couples/pairs, synchronized teams, jump and spin, production, dance, hockey, pattern, family spotlight, kaleidoskate and team compulsory.
“There are some events that are super-fun to watch and entertaining, and other events that are more technical but still equally fun to watch,” Mandy said.
“Skaters might be skating a program or they might be skating just the elements (axels, jumps, spins). Spotlight events involve props, costumes, elaborate presentations of ideas on ice. We also have group-number presentations that can involve over 100 skaters. ... We’ll have duets, family spotlights, ice dancing. We even offer a hockey event. You’ll see skaters out on the ice performing original compulsory (circular) figures. Just the gamut. You’ll see everything when you come. Ribbon events, people throwing hula hoops around on the ice, you name it.”
The event is open and free to the public. Check the ISI website at www.skateisi.org for more information on the event. CLICK HERE for a public ice program schedule for the week of the ISI Worlds. For more information on the St. Peters Rec-Plex, visit: www.stpetersmo.net/rec-plex.