A slippery return to the ice
This spring, several weeks into her at-home quarantine, Starr Andrews sat down, laced up her skates, and proceeded to walk around the house. “They’re heavier than regular shoes so I just wanted to keep that feeling of them on my feet.”
All told, Andrews spent three months off the ice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, she did strength training at home and went to off-ice figure skating classes that her coaches led on zoom.
When she finally returned to the ice, the 19-year-old says it initially felt “super weird.”
“I definitely did not like the feeling at all. I was like… ‘I feel like I’m gonna fall on my face.'”
Still, Andrews says the time away from the rink allowed some nagging injuries to heal. “It was good for my body to have time to recover from all of the pounding from the year before,” she explains.
“Black Like Me”
Andrews, a native of California, got her start as a figure skater thanks to her mother, who had taken figure skating classes as an adult. She first rose to prominence at age nine, when a performance to Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” went viral.
As she’s grown up in the sport, she’s become accustomed to being the only black skater on the ice.
“I use[d] to cry about being the only black girl to represent USA wondering why there weren’t more people like me… Every time a little black girl comes up to me, it makes me emotional because I used to be that little girl. I always tell them you can do anything you set your mind to.” Andrews wrote on Instagram in June.
In July – to honor “the struggles that African-Americans have and still are enduring” – she skated to Mickey Guyton’s song “Black Like Me.”
“The whole [idea] behind the video was to inspire people and show them how beautiful the sport is,” Andrews reflected on Wednesday. “I definitely try to use my platform on Instagram to try and spread awareness… When I put a message out there, I want people to see it and be touched by it.”
Prepping for an uncertain season
Andrews competed in two virtual events over the summer, but Skate America will mark her return to in-person competition.
She wasn’t initially guaranteed a spot at Skate America, but due to COVID-19, Grand Prix events have essentially become domestic competitions. Of the 56 athletes expected to compete in Las Vegas, 48 represent the United States,while the other eight train in the country.
Andrews, who is currently taking a gap year after finishing high school, will be skating two new programs at Skate America. She says her goal for the weekend is consistency. “That’s always my goal: just consistent programs.”
Olympic researcher Sarah Hughes contributed to this report.
READ MORE: 2020 Skate America TV, live stream schedule
Skate America Live Broadcast Schedule
|Friday||Short Programs||8 p.m.-12 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Women’s Short||7:06 p.m.||Peacock Premium|
|Men’s Short||8:56 p.m.||Peacock Premium|
|Pairs’ Short||10:46 p.m.||Peacock Premium|
|Rhythm Dance||11:25 p.m.||Peacock Premium|
|Saturday||Free Skates||3-6 p.m.||NBC|
|Free Skates||9 p.m.-12 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Women’s Free||1:59 p.m.||Peacock Premium|
|Men’s Free||4:03 p.m.||Peacock Premium|
|Pairs’ Free||8:43 p.m.||Peacock Premium|
|Free Dance||10:17 p.m.||Peacock Premium|