When three teenage figure skaters hit the ice_ these childhood by runout


									                                COLD WAR                                      on   ICE
                                When three teenage figure skaters hit the ice, these childhood friends
                                support one another but maintain a quiet rivalry. The girls tackle their
                                physical training, adolescence and competitive drive, while keeping
                                their first priority, friendship, intact.   Story and Photos by Roland Franklin

78 | MPJ 08 | Cold War on Ice                                                                                     Franklin | MPJ 08 | 79
                                                                                                                                             anging out at the local mall,
                                                                                                                                             chatting on the phone with
                                                                                                                                             girlfriends and watching
                                                                                                                                             countless hours of the latest
                                                                                                                                  MTV “The Hills” reality television show
                                                                                                                                  are just a few things average teenage girls
                                                                                                                                  might do during the weekend.
                                                                                                                                     For competitive figure skaters Sydney
                                                                                                                                  Jones, Danielle Mather and Kali Purt,
                                                                                                                                  there is nothing average about their
                                                                                                                                  weekends. Their schedule demands long
                                                                                                                                  hours, dedication and discipline.
                                                                                                                                     The three teenage girls have been
                                                                                                                                  neighbors and friends in Oswego for
                                                                                                                                  more than 10 years and have developed a
                                                                                                                                  sisterly bond that changes when they face
                                                                                                                                  each other on the ice. The girls do many
                                Friends and competitors, Kali Purt, Danielle Mather and Sydney Jones practice jump spins          things together but compete against one
                                during warm-ups prior to taking the ice at the Syracuse Figure Skating Competition.               another in the same skill division.

                                Purt, Jones and Mather apply the finishing touches to their makeup before competing at the annual Syracuse Figure Skating Competition.

                                Jones (left), performs a lay back spin during her performance at the Empire State Winter
                                Games in February. Jones won the silver medal at the figure skating competition.

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The girls wait their turn to skate while a competitor from a different figure skating club performs her program.
“When the finals are coming around, you can’t help but to secretly wish someone slips,” Jones said.

                                                                            Jones and Mather read the results of the
                                                                       Syracuse Figure Skating Competition. Mather
                                                                        went on to take first place at the event, while
                                                                                            Jones held a close second.

    “When we were younger, skating, it             fun,” Mather, 15, said. “I usually do my             open year-round in Syracuse not to                the winner. Everyone can’t be the winner,
was just about having fun,” 16-year-old            homework in the car, change clothes in               mention all the competitions that can be          that’s the life lesson they learn.”
Purt said. “It’s so competitive now that           the car, and sometimes eat dinner in the             as far away as Vermont.”                              Although competing against friends
we’re older. Now, there’s tears involved           car, but it’s always worth it.”                          Dan Mather has been president of the          is a difficult road to navigate, each of
and friendships to balance.”                          The trio has proven hard work pays                Oswego Figure Skating Club for three              the girls has found they can rely on each
    For Purt, the icy sport has been in her        off, each having won several awards and              years and a board member for seven.               other for support.
family for as long as she can remember.            competitions across the state this year.                 Although the girls have been                      “Sometimes having the other girls
    “I tried other sports like ballet or              “Taking second place at the Empire State          neighbors and best friends for more than          around can be annoying but when you’re
gymnastics but nothing kept my interest            Games was amazing,” Jones,12, said. “It was          10 years, sometimes their friendships             down you always know they’re going to be
like figure skating,” Purt said. “I was            my first time competing there unlike Kali            blur during competitions on the ice.              there to help you through it,” Purt said.
basically a rink rat growing up because I          and Danielle, so it was kind of special.”                “It’s hard to celebrate if you did well and       When the medals and trophies begin
spent all my free time watching my older              Juggling practice, school and                     one of your best friends didn’t,” Jones said.     to collect dust on the shelves, the families
brother play hockey or learning to skate.”         friendships takes a strong emotional                 “When we were younger it was all about            of all three girls hope for one thing.
    The girls, who spend 20 hours a week           and financial support system from the                just having fun, now it’s about winning.”             “Looking back at what all the girls
practicing, travel between several rinks           skaters’ families and friends.                           “It’s difficult for the girls cause they      have gone through, (we) parents are
around Central New York and have very                 “This is not a cheap sport,” Danielle’s           all share the desire to be the best,” Dan         more concerned that they garner their
little free time to themselves.                    father, Dan Mather said. “When practice              Mather said. “The girls have to realize           friendships,” Dan Mather said, “which
    “I’m taking honors classes and keeping         season ends around spring we have to                 that it’s not always who was technically          will last even when figure skating is said     Sue Jones (center), mother of Sydney, brings the girls together for one last hug
straight A’s so there’s not a lot of time for      commute to skating rinks that remain                 the best but who the judges perceive as           and done.”                                     before they head to compete at the Syracuse Figure Skating Competition.

82 | MPJ 08 | Cold War on Ice                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Franklin | MPJ 08 | 83

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