Allison SanGiacomo, sophomore art major at the University of La Verne, glides through her classes with determination – the same determination she used to get herself ranked third in the nation as a roller figure skater.
SanGiacomo’s life as a roller skater reluctantly began at the age of 5 when her mother bought her roller skating lessons.
She began competing at 8.
“I used to hate it. The first day of roller skating was the worst day of my life,” SanGiacomo said.
SanGiacomo’s hate for roller skating quickly turned to love when she first participated in the South West Regional Championship.
She has participated every year for the past decade and has won seven medals.
“She does more than most skaters do and that’s incredible,” Bryson Phillippe, a close friend, said.
This year she won her first gold medal at the regional championships and qualified for the national championships, where she was ranked third in the nation.
“Every competition of mine has stood out, but this year, I was literally the happiest on the planet, because I fell and I still got the bronze medal,” SanGiacomo said.
On average, she trains four to six hours every two weeks, but most of her training gets done at work.
She is now a coach at “Skating Plus” – the same skating rink where she learned to skate.
She inspires her students through her accomplishments and stories, and she wants them to look up to her but overall, be better than her.
SanGiacomo does not have a set way to prepare for a competition.
She usually listens to the music she is going to use during her performance before she goes into the skating rink.
“That pretty much puts me in the zone,” SanGiacomo said.
She does not feel pressure or mind being watched by a large audience.
“It’s sort of relaxing, because nothing else matters when I get into a competition. All that matters are those four minutes I am on the floor,” SanGiacomo said.
Although she is a fan of Michelle Kwan, a professional American figure skater, her former coach Leonard Steinberg has been her biggest influence in the roller skating realm.
“He was not just an influential person – he was more like a father to me,” SanGiacomo said.
SanGiacomo said he taught her everything she knows about skating.
He taught her from the age of 8 to 17 years old.
“I had very big expectations for her,” Steinberg said.
“She would always listen to me and used that to get what she wanted. She met my expectations as an educator and as a person,” he said.
“Allison is determined and driven, and will be the best at whatever it is she wants to do,” Steinberg said.
Despite her involvement in regional and national championships, SanGiacomo is able to manage her time with work, school and skating.
“I’ve tried a lot of sports. I’ve tried tennis, gymnastics and more. I have piled on extracurricular activities and realized roller skating is the only thing I like,” SanGiacomo said.
SanGiacomo does not see herself leaving skating any time soon and plans on coaching for a while.
She is an art major hopes to graduate college early and become a college professor.
Alejandra Aguilar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.