U.S. Figure Skating announced today the recipients of the 2021 Athlete Alumni Ambassador (3A) award. The 3A award is a scholarship program that recognizes skaters who have achieved figure skating excellence while actively volunteering.
For the 2021 award, skaters must have competed at the novice or junior level at the 2020 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, the 2021 U.S. Championship Series presented by Toyota or the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Candidates were asked to submit a two-minute video explaining how COVID-19 impacted them and their skating community and how they applied new knowledge about themselves and the world to the skating community.
The Athletes Advisory Committee (AAC) selects one overall winner and one winner from each discipline (ladies, men's, pairs, ice dance and synchronized). The overall winner receives $2,000, while each of the remaining five honorees receives $500, which can be used at the skaters' discretion.
The 2021 3A award recipients are listed below.
Elizabeth Hong, Pasadena FSC (overall) – Time away from the ice during the pandemic helped Elizabeth Hong find a new perspective on the social interactions she and fellow Pasadena FSC skaters were missing out on. As the Pasadena FSC junior board vice president, Hong helped organize virtual events where skaters could connect with each other and others in the community, including a virtual 5K in October 2020 raising mental health awareness. Despite a blade injury and concussion upon her return to training, Hong continues to persevere and be a part of the skating community.
Nathaniel Chen, Los Angeles FSC (men’s) – Los Angeles FSC Nathaniel Chen used his experience from quarantining to balance academics and skating to help other skaters in similar situations. The LAFSC junior council president organized webinars focusing on competition tips from officials and top skaters. He also created an academic advisory program to provide resources for club skaters to succeed on the ice and in the classroom.
Allison Zheng, Peninsula SC (ladies) – During the pandemic, Allison Zheng spent her extra time off the ice starting a small business, where 60% of every purchase goes toward a nonprofit of the customer’s choosing. So far, Zheng has donated over $5,000 in proceeds from her business. In addition, Zheng worked with the Best Buddies program, chatting through Zoom with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Megan Winch, Hershey FSC (pairs) – Megan Winch found new ways to stay motivated and train during the pandemic and used her new knowledge to help other skaters in her community. She organized Zoom events and taught beginner inline skating classes. Winch also volunteers to judge Compete USA competitions in the area as a way to give back and share her passion for skating with upcoming generations.
Katarina Wolfkostin, Peninsula SC (ice dance) – Katarina Wolfkostin, who is a 2020 U.S. ice dance junior silver medalist with her partner, Jeffrey Chen, wanted to help out the community she saw so affected by the pandemic. She organized a food drive and made masks with a group, which they distributed at a local shelter and medical clinic.
Yvonne Burke, Liberty FSC of PA (synchro) – During the pandemic, Skyliners junior skater Yvonne Burke found her strength in listening and determination. She used these characteristics to volunteer with the Special Olympics via Zoom and motivate and entertain her teammates. She used the time off the ice in a positive way, training and staying in touch with teammates, growing closer than ever.