Stellar Skating in Championship Masters Men Eventby Lexi Rohner, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
Photo by Quick Silver Shots
(4/14/07) - Davin Grindstaff (Georgia FSC) didn't have the triple jumps in his toolbox of tricks, but what he had was good enough to win the championship masters men gold medal Saturday night at the 2007 U.S. Adult Championships in Bensenville, Ill.
Moving with classic grace and quiet, clean edges, Grindstaff landed nine double jumps in his program to Dvorak's Symphony No. 7. His victory came against a stellar field, in which three skaters attempted triple jumps.
“It felt really great,” said Grindstaff, who missed last year's event because of injury. “You skate a clean program and it feels wonderful. The thing that I really wanted to do was keep up my speed and power and have every element be really strong and not think too far ahead.”
Grindstaff, 37, won the title with a score of 54.57 points. Home-crowd favorite Larry Holliday (Windy City FSC) captured the silver with a score of 48.04 points, while Bryan Rabin (All Year FSC) emerged with the bronze with 46.33 points. Brooks Jones (Du Page FSC), last year's champion, placed fourth with marks of 46.26 points.
Skating since age 5, Grindstaff took time off from the sport in his 20s. He finished second in 2005 at the U.S. Adult Championships, but a broken fibula from a shaky double Lutz landing sidelined Grindstaff for almost a year.
“There are three all-adult events in the Atlanta area, but nationals is my favorite competition,” Grindstaff said.
Grindstaff's coach, Aren Nielsen, helped his pupil maximize his point totals by crafting a complete program. Grindstaff enjoys classical music, and so enthusiastically chose various movements from Dvorak's Symphony No. 7.
“The melodies are so strong in that style of music it just feels right on the ice,” Grindstaff said.
Away from skating, Grindstaff is a communications professor at Georgia State University and appreciates the flexibility academia offers for skating.
Holliday entertained the crowd with his exuberant style and charisma, not to mention his vast skating skills. He returned to the U.S. Adult Championships after falling on a double toe loop and injuring his knee a couple of years ago. He missed two years of competition and just returned to action last December.
Holliday was the first adult skater to land a successful triple jump, a Salchow at the U.S. Adult Championships in 2004.
“I felt really good about my skate tonight,” he said. “Coming back from an injury, it felt really good."
Also a coach, Holliday said, “My goal was to hopefully be on the podium at nationals, third, second, first, whatever. It feels great to be back.”
Rabin, who two-footed a triple Salchow, completed seven double jumps, including a double Axel.
“After 20 years of not skating, my goal was to come out and do a triple jump and get a physical standard back, which I did,” Rabin said.
Coached by Derek James and Amber Corwin, Rabin was thrilled to be at the competition.
“It was a great experience to skate again,” Rabin said. “I got to come back, and just being here was fantastic.”
Jones also had a great experience.
“I felt pretty good, a little shaky but I made it through [and] that's what I came here to do,” Jones said.
Jones, who has spent time developing his style in the past year, said, “my goal was to come and skate well for my friends and enjoy it.”
Jones is will be defending his thesis this summer to obtain a PhD at Northwestern University, with a goal of working in the legal field.