Driven Figure Skater Rakes In Medals

Early mornings, tired muscles and limited free time are just a few challenges that skaters must deal with. Sophomore Jessica Rodriguex takes the pain on a daily basis and still manages to land gracefully.

Jessica has been skating since she was three years old, when she received her first skates from her grandmother. The rest is history.

Every morning, Jessica begins practice at 4:30 at the Logitech Ice Center, where the San Jose Sharks practice. Her mom, Spanish teacher Terri Salsman de Rodriguex, drives her every morning and then takes her back to school.

Practices take up to two to three hours every day. They consist of footwork, which is the core of ice skating, and then compulsory and free-dance. The free-dance helps skaters with her own unique patterns in her routines.

Her practice schedule also consists of several extra dance classes that help her to prepare and practice for her routines. She now competes in ice dancing (partner dancing) rather than ice skating because she is too tall to ice skate.

Jessica competes in the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) and is a member of the Peninsula Skating Club.

Some people do not give skaters enough credit for what they do on the ice and the amount of dedication and toughness that it takes to become a successful skater.

“Skating is a very competitive sport,” Rodriguex said. “It isn’t always as pretty as one might expect.”

In fact, Jessica has competed for and won over 100 medals. She competes in everything from local to world-wide competitions,. Even though they are “intense,” she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love to compete,” Jessica said. “The adrenaline rush that I get from the moment I step on the ice until the second I leave the ice is my favorite. There is nothing about skating that I don’t enjoy. I love to skate.”

Skating has always been an important part of her life. Jessica loves to skate and cannot seem to get enough, though it entails making hard choices.

“I have to sacrifice a lot of my time and spend it training while my friends are at parties and stuff,” Jessica said. “But in the end, the happiness skating brings me is definitely worth the sacrifices.”