Burton Powley Back on Track at U.S. Adult Championships

by Laura Fawcett and Kelly Hodge
Burton Powley won the championship gold men's event.

Event Results, News and Photos

(4/15/05) — Burton Powley is back.

It's been six years since Powley last competed at the U.S. Adult Championships, but he picked up where he left off, winning the championship gold men's competition with four double jumps.

Powley (Des Moines, Iowa) collected all but one first-place ordinal for his “Firebird” program highlighted by the sureness and height of his jumps. With his convincing victory, it's no surprise that Powley said he hopes to test up to the next level. But for now, he's thrilled to be back in the thick of things.

“I really came back to challenge myself,” said Powley, who suffered serious health problems about four years ago. “I didn't expect to be this strong. It's a great feeling. After I hit the third jump I couldn't stop smiling. My mouth hurt I was smiling so much.”

Shortly after he left the competitive ranks in 1999, Powley said he began suffering from ongoing health problems that eventually resulted in the removal of his gallbladder. Once that was taken care of, he was back on track.

Back on track for Powley, who is also a skating coach, resulted in a gold medal. He landed a double flip, double Salchow, double toe and an Axel-loop-double toe combination.

“I felt like I was 20 today,” said Powley, 47. “The standard has really improved over the years.”

Powley thinks his experience at the 2005 Midwestern Adult Sectional Championships in high-altitude Colorado Springs helped prepare him for this event.

“I had to have oxygen when I came off the ice at Mids,” he said. “Since then I've been doing double run-throughs, and I really sailed through my program tonight.”

Nicholas Chou (All Year FSC) won the silver medal for the second consecutive year. Chou landed two double jumps in his program to “Swan Lake,” but it was his lyrical, graceful skating that stood out in the field. Chou and coach Garry Mallett, who bantered with each other during the entire post-skate interview, developed the program just three weeks before the sectional championships.

Despite the camaraderie of the competition, Chou admitted to still feeling the pressure.

“I still get the chills … and the rubber legs,” said Chou, who practices twice weekly in Lakewood, Calif. “When the music starts, I just listen to it and it calms me down. I also looked out at my friends in the audience more to calm me.”

Jason Spicer (SC of New York) skated the last 15 seconds of his program a second time after problems with his music. It didn't seem to hurt him too much as he won the bronze medal with three solid double jumps, including two in combination. He fell out of an attempt at a fourth double jump — a loop.

Ross Luxton (Ice Works SC) hung on to a double Salchow and double toe and showed a fast circular step sequence to finish fourth.