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All That Glitters Could Be Gold
Costumes play important role in a figure skater's performance.
By Anne Leitheiser, Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Kimmie Meissner shows off her newest costume, which she hopes to wear during competition at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, in February. Meissner talked to Kid Reporter Anne Leitheiser about the upcoming competition while at a media summit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2005.
Kimmie Meissner shows off her newest costume, which she hopes to wear during competition at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, in February. Meissner talked to Kid Reporter Anne Leitheiser about the upcoming competition while at a media summit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2005.
(Photo: Suzanne Freeman )
Costumes are a big part of figure skating. They must be interesting and appealing to the eye, but functional for athletic moves.

Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukov, who have been skating together for five years, talked to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps about the role that costumes have played in their careers. Gregory's ice-dancing career even began with her attraction to the cute outfits.

"I started skating when I was really young and I went to the rink and saw the costumes on the wall," said Gregory. She visited a rink where her cousin skated. The rink owners displayed the costumes the skaters would be wearing at the competitions. "The only way that I got to wear the pretty costume was if I was in the ice show, so I said OK, let's do it, and I signed up for classes."

Gregory and Petukov joined other members of the U.S. Olympic skating team at a demonstration of the new scoring system for figure-skating. The demonstration was part of a media summit held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October. Journalists were treated to a look at the costumes skaters are planning for their Olympic performances.


Figure skaters Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukov talk to Kid Reporter Anne Leitheiser at a skating demonstration in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2005. Gregory and Petukov tested out their new costumes for the 2006 Winter Olympics at the demonstration.
Figure skaters Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukov talk to Kid Reporter Anne Leitheiser at a skating demonstration in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2005. Gregory and Petukov tested out their new costumes for the 2006 Winter Olympics at the demonstration.
(Photo: Suzanne Freeman )
Gregory and Petukov are still working out some of the kinks in their new outfits. The elaborate costumes that the figure skating pair wear for their world-class performances are made by a married couple who are ballroom dancers. The figure skaters, who are also married, design the look and tweak the final details.

"We also put on the little extra things that make us look special on ice," said Petukov.

"We know what looks good on us," added Gregory. "You have to take into consideration what looks good on the ice in a big arena in strong lights in front of a big crowd."

Figure-skating costumes help convey the theme of the skater's performance. Many costumes help explain the emotions of the dance.

Figure-skater Kimmie Meissner, who at 16 years old is one of the top contenders for a U.S. medal this year, showed off her new costume of red silk and gold spangles. She says her costume will help her connect with the audience during her performance. A strong reaction from the audience is essential to a strong rating from the judges.

"If you're really into what you're doing, then the audience is going to be into it too," Meissner said. The performers who put as much thought into their costumes as their acting and their skating will win the medals.

Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.