Seeing the Opportunities

Scott Brody is committed to long-term involvement, leadership development in figure skating

Above: Photo courtesy of Sarah Arnold

By Mimi McKinnis


When Scott Brody describes the pipeline he’s working to develop within the sport of figure skating, he speaks from experience. 

Having skated recreationally through elementary and middle school, he began competing at the regional level while in high school. He went on to compete at two U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships before earning appointments as a sectional singles/pairs judge and regional singles/pairs referee. He served as an athlete member of several U.S. Figure Skating committees, and currently serves as chair of the collegiate subcommittee, chair of the nominating committee and regional vice chair of singles and pairs for the Upper Great Lakes region on the judges management subcommittee.Scott Brody poses with a group of students on the ice. The group is holding a large University of Michigan flag which is blue with a large yellow M in the center.

“I want to collaborate with other programs to develop a pipeline for a skater to start out in the competitive track, then go on to compete with high school programs, then move onto collegiate skating,” Brody said. “After that, I want to help skaters find out what’s next, whether that’s officiating, becoming an adult skater, getting involved in competitions or on committees and leadership in general. All three of my current positions really tie together in that way. It’s all working toward finding ways to pave the way from high school to collegiate skating, then onto volunteering and into leadership.”

Like many of his friends and fellow men in the sport, Brody got his start on the ice while tagging along to the rink with his big sister, Jessica. After deciding hockey was too much of a contact sport for his liking, he pursued lessons in figure skating—but he didn’t flourish until, as he puts it, “unintentionally falling into the world of collegiate skating,” while pursuing an undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the University of Michigan.

“When I showed up to the first practice, because I knew nothing about collegiate skating or the intercollegiate program, I didn’t know what the level of intensity was going to be,” Brody said. “I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but I knew I didn’t want to be training every day of the week anymore. For me, school was definitely my first priority. Then when I graduated college, it turns out, collegiate skating was where my skating really shined the most. It’s not that I didn’t love it before, but that’s where I really grew to love the sport because of the community it fosters.”

Intentional or not, Brody stumbled into a community of students with a common interest—one that led him to his future wife, and a glimpse of the future that’s possible within the sport beyond a traditional one-and-done competitive path. 

“I knew at that point, after I graduated, I didn’t want to be actively on the ice anymore,” Brody said. “I realized quickly, early on in grad school, I still loved skating. But when I went to the rink, I’d skate around and I wasn’t enjoying it. I didn’t have a competition or anything to train for, and I was okay with that. I didn’t want the intense training. I just wanted to be involved.”

Undergraduate degree in tow, Brody began working toward a graduate degree from another U of M, this time at the University of Minnesota, where he ultimately obtained a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry in December 2022. Committed to continued involvement in skating, he quickly began volunteering with the school’s figure skating team, and, through the process of co-chairing two intercollegiate competitions, spent time with the officials who sparked his interest in becoming a judge.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is a great way to stay involved in the sport without having to do long programs,’” Brody laughed. “My involvement really took off from there. I saw that there were all these opportunities within the sport like judging. I started refereeing. I stepped up my committee involvement. It’s been a great way to stay involved and give back to the sport without being on the ice every day.”

Now consulting in the Chicago area with a firm in the pharmaceutical industry, Brody is still committed to his involvement in skating, using his current positions within the organization to communicate the opportunities he discovered along his own path through the sport.

“When I started as the chair of the collegiate subcommittee, I wanted to be able to make it easier to find information about the program—which schools have teams, how to join a team, what even is collegiate skating,” he said. “My big message was that academics come first, but here’s how you can stay involved. And if you find a school you want to attend that doesn’t have a collegiate skating program, here’s how you can start one. The second piece was that I wanted to make sure that others could have the same amazing experience that I did.”

By creating and communicating a clear path from skater to leader, Brody hopes to leave a long-term impact on the organization as a whole, raising up the next generation of young leaders imperative to the sport’s future.

“U.S. Figure Skating as a whole is trying to move in a direction to increase awareness of all the opportunities within the sport, whether it’s skating programs or officiating,” he said. “There is a dire need for young officials. That’s where that piece comes in to say, ‘Okay, skating doesn’t have to end after high school.’ Then ‘Okay, skating doesn’t have to end after college.’ You can become an official or stay involved at an administrative level. You can learn and lead in other ways.”