FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/08/2022
CONTACT: Jon Lundin, Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games Head of Communications & Media ([email protected]) Tel: 518-637-6885
By: Meri-Jo Borzilleri, Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games Organizing Committee
Tickets for the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games Figure Skating Competitions and Skating Gala are Available to Purchase HERE
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Two U.S. figure skaters are hoping that the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games will be the launching pad to regaining their form after years lost to injury. Ting Cui, from Pikesville, Md. who attends Middlebury College, and Nathan Chapple of Solon, Ohio, who attends Cuyahoga Community College, are healthy and have high hopes for the FISU Games, held every two years. The Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games will be the first time they’ve been held since 2019, after the 2021 Universiade in Lucerne, Switzerland, was canceled due to the worldwide pandemic.
The Jan. 12-22 Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games is expected to bring together 1,500 collegiate-athletes, age 17-25, from 600 universities in 50 countries to participate in Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, curling, freestyle and freeski, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, short track speed skating, snowboarding, ski jumping and speed skating. Athletes will compete in 86 medal events in Lake Placid and the North Country area, including Saranac Lake, Wilmington, North Creek, Potsdam and Canton.
The Jan. 13-16 figure skating competition and exhibition consists of events in men’s, women’s singles, and ice dance and concludes with a skating exhibition gala at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16. Figure skating takes place in the Olympic Center’s Herb Brooks Arena and tickets can be purchased at LakePlacid2023.com.
Besides Cui and Chapple, other U.S. team members include: in ladies singles — Wren Warne-Jacobsen, from Bemidji, Minn., who attends the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; and Finley Hawk from, Munster, Ind., who attends Purdue University Northwest. The U.S. men’s singles competitors are Goku Endo, of Torrance, Calif., who attends UCLA; and Dinh Tran, a Cal State-Long Beach student from, San Francisco, Calif. The U.S. ice dance team features Angela Ling, who attends Cal-Berkeley and Caleb Wein, a University of Maryland student, both from Rockville, Md.; Raffaella Koncius, from Palos Verdes, Calif., (Penn State) and Alexey Shchepetov, from Ardmore, Penn., along with Lorraine McNamara, Germantown, Md., (University of Maryland) and Anton Spiridonov, from Novi, Mich.
McNamara’s former partner is Quinn Carpenter, with whom she won the 2016 world junior title. Spiridonov’s mother is Elena Garanina, the 1981 FISU World University Games champion for Russia.
The FISU World University Games have been a springboard for some U.S. figure skaters to compete in and win medals in the Winter Olympics. That includes World University Games 1987 bronze medalist Paul Wylie, who went on to win an Olympic silver medal in 1992 and is now the director of sport at Lake Placid’s New York State’s Olympic Regional Development Authority. Two-time Olympian Michael Weiss won gold at the 1995 Universiade, and 1989 FISU bronze medalist Nancy Kerrigan won Olympic bronze in 1992 and silver in 1994.
The last FISU Games figure skating medals won by the U.S. came in 2003, when Angela Lien won the ladies’ silver medal.
For Cui, the Games represent a return to international competition after a promising career was sidetracked by a twice-injured ankle, subsequent minor injuries and the pandemic.
The 2018 U.S. junior bronze medalist and 2019 World Junior bronze medalist now juggles training with school after enrolling at Vermont’s Middlebury College. Cui said making the U.S. team was her main goal this season.
“I’ve been trying to get back into things since 2019,” said Cui, 20, an international and global studies major. “When I made it, it was really exciting that I had finally met one of my goals that I set for the season for like the first time in a while. I had it in my mind, like ‘OK, this seems really attainable for me. It’s such a great opportunity for college athletes. I really want to go to the University Games.’”
Cui is coached by renowned international coach and nine-time Austrian national medalist Roland Burghart; Olympic gold medalist and world champion Natalia Linichuk and Priscilla Hill, former coach to Olympians Johnny Weir and Ashley Wagner. Cui also knows Lake Placid, having trained with Wylie for a few months before college.
Cui’s home training base is the Patriot Ice Center in Newark, Del., but she has had to be creative with her training at the campus’s Chip Kenyon Arena, scheduling her ice time around Middlebury’s men’s and women’s hockey programs. “We’ve been training virtually,” Cui said.
She balances her laptop on the boards and connects with Burghart to give him a visual. That frees up her phone to play the music for her program. “It’s kind of fun. I’ve got a whole setup going.”
Cui trained as a full-time student this fall, regaining her competitive footing at sub-national events to qualify for both the FISU World University Games and U.S. Championships immediately following in late January.
“I decided to go back to school and try and make both work… I think I liked having both (skating and college) because they kind of balance each other out. And then skating doesn’t feel too overwhelming.”
Chapple has been competing for more than a decade and hopes the World University Games can propel him to long-held goals of competing on the senior international circuit for Team USA in the Grand Prix series, skating’s top annual tour.
Injuries like patellar tendinitis in his left knee, a high ankle sprain, Achilles problems and stomach surgery kept him off the ice for most of the past four years. Chapple has been healthy this year, regaining his form enough to post second- and sixth-place finishes in sub-national competitions. Getting named to the FISU U.S. World University Games team was big. Chapple said he had gained a sense of accomplishment from “finally earning a spot in something amazing like an opportunity like this.”
Chapple’s home base was Winterhurst Figure Skating Club near Cleveland, Ohio before he moved to work with coaches Amber Gil and Rohene Ward at the Glenview Community Ice Center outside Chicago, Ill. Chapple got into skating at age six after watching the Olympics on TV and seeing short-track speed skater Apolo Ohno. The nearest speed skating program was too far away, so Chapple decided to pursue figure skating.
Chapple, a Black skater, is an ambassador for the Diversify Ice Foundation, whose mission is to support and mentor underrepresented groups in competitive figure skating.
“It’s very important because there’s not really that much diversity in the sport,” said Chapple, 23. “Seeing an organization that’s trying to promote it is nice to see in the sport – to see that there’s something improving, that there are people that are putting in an effort to advance the sport.”
Chapple says he takes his inspiration for hard work from his mother, Angela, who adopted him as a single mom while she worked – and continues to work – three jobs as a college professor and teaching consultant after decades teaching in inner-city schools.
Chapple has found he likes teaching, too. For the past seven or eight years, he has taught in Learn to Skate programs, and he coaches at the rinks where he trains. “I just like giving back to the sport,” Chapple said. “I like having people feel accomplished with something they’ve done, whether it’s planning a jump or getting a spin better.”
Fans can follow the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with @LakePlacid2023, @SaveWinterHQ, #lakeplacid2023, #savewinter.
For more information about the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games, the torch relay celebration, or to purchase tickets, visit www.lakeplacid2023.com.
PHOTO COURTESY: Getty Images
MEDIA ADVISORY: Application requests for working media accreditation for the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games continue through December 12, 2022. To apply for media accreditation, click HERE. To download the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games’ media guide click HERE, the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games’ media services guide is available HERE.