PSA Honors 'Best of the Best'by Lynn Rutherford
|Florida coaches (L-R) Allison Smith, Jim Peterson and Robbie Crowley were on hand to celebrate Peterson's receiving the PSA Developmental Coach of the Year Award.|
Photo by Mark Walentiny
This story is an extension of SKATING magazine's coverage of the 2009 PSA Conference. For additional coverage of the event, see pages 12-13 of the August/September issue of SKATING.
(8/7/09) - The Professional Skaters Association (PSA) presented its Paul McGrath Choreographer of the Year award to David Wilson, who worked with skaters including U.S. champion Alissa Czisny
“This is a huge honor for me,” said Wilson, who makes his home in Toronto. “I just feel really fortunate that I found my calling in life...By mistake, I found out how much I loved doing this. I started out as a coach, and it's ironic that I have been blessed to work with so many talented skaters.”
Kathy Casey, U.S. Figure Skating's director of athlete performance enhancement and tracking, was honored with the Sonja Henie Award, bestowed upon a “female, professional skater or coach who has brought recognition to the sport in a positive and favorable manner.”
“I've won a lot of awards, but this means the most,” Casey said. ”I feel it's important for us to give back in this sport, and I feel I've done that. I ran six times for PSA president before I got the position; I have a job with U.S. Figure Skating I love, doing clinics all over the world. I'm really busy, but it's all fun.”
Bob and Dan Riegelman of Riedell, the boot and blade maker, won the F. Ritter Shumway Award for their dedication and contribution to the figure skating world.
“We really cherish our relationship with PSA and appreciate what they've done for us,” Dan said.
On-ice comic Dan Hollander, who won the U.S. bronze medal in 1997, received the Gustave Lussi Award presented annually to an exceptional professional skater. Mark Wallentiny won Photo of the Year for a shot of 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen
For the third time, the Fritz Dietl Ice Arena Excellence Award went to the Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, N.C.
“We've had an exceptional year this year and we have a great team,” said PSA Master-rated program director Jenny Wesley Gwyn in accepting the award.
Choreographer Scott Brown won the Joe Serafine National Volunteer of the Year Award. The Betty Berens Award, presented annually to a coach who has overcome adversity while continuing to serve their profession, went to David Shulman Esq., who also serves as PSA legal counsel. Heidi Thibert, the PSA sports science chair, won the Pieter Kollen Sport Science Award.
Several longtime coaches – including Slavka Kohout Button (who guided the career of legendary five-time U.S. champion Janet Lynn), Tom McGinnis (who has taught skaters at the Skating Club of Boston for decades and helms the club's famous “Ice Chips” annual benefit), Skippy Baxter, Mabel Fairbanks and Walter “Red” Bainbridge – were inducted into the PSA Hall of Fame.