Skating Carries Hopkins High School Student Around the World

Golden Valley resident Liz Burke competed in Sweden for the Junior World Challenge Cup synchronized skating competition.

Figure skating has taken Liz Burke to various national competitions, including this year’s Synchronized Nationals in Worcester, MA. The senior and Golden Valley resident visited France for the French Cup. And March 15 through 17, Burke competed in Gothenburg, Sweden, with other members of Edina’s Team Braemar in the Junior World Challenge Cup synchronized skating competition.

Thanks to figure skating, Burke has seen the world.

“Ever since I was little, I just always loved (skating),” Burke said. “I don’t think there was ever a time I just hated it and I wanted to quit.”

Burke actually didn’t become a synchronized skater until this season. Aside from a couple months skating with a group when she was little, she’d been a singles skater her entire time on the ice.

But Burke’s strong points were always edges, flexibility and footwork—strengths well suited to synchronized competition. Entering her senior year, Burke decided she’d do something new and try out for Edina’s synchronized team.  

Team Braemar has high expectations for its synchronized skaters. The team went to the Junior World Challenge last year, and so this year’s skaters knew they’d have a lot to work up to.

But skating is in Burke’s blood. Her father played hockey in high school, and the two have a playful figure skating-hockey rivalry.

“He has gained respect for the sport over the years,” she laughed.

Of course, there are key differences between singles skating and synchronized skating. In singles, Burke only had to worry about letting herself down. In synchronized competition, she had to worry about mistakes affecting the entire team — although she said her teammates don’t grudges.

And, she no longer gets the entire sheet of ice to herself.

“It was weird skating close to people,” she said.

Visiting other places gave Burke a whole new look at skating. In France, the Minnesota skaters had to bundle up while skating because the rink was so cold. In Sweden, they got to know the Italian skaters during bus rides to the hotel. They also got to meet other skaters at a party following the competition.

Skating may have many more travels in store for Burke. She’s looking at three colleges: Smith College in Northampton, MA; Lawrence University in Appleton, WI and Miami University in Oxford, OH—the latter of which has a synchronized skating program. She also tried out for Disney on Ice, which could lead to numerous new adventures.

The synchronized skating season runs June through May, so for now Burke is continuing her skating as usual—waiting to see where she’ll go next.

“I don’t really have any regrets from switching over (to synchronized skating),” Burke said. “I feel like I accomplished as much as I would’ve in singles.”


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