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Series: The Shade of Synchronized Skating #5

Posted by Aurora Tights on
Series: The Shade of Synchronized Skating #5

The Shade of Synchronized Skating is a project collaboration between Aurora Tights and Get It Called that highlights three synchronized skaters in a self documented series covering the months from November to April. The Shade of Synchronized Skating details the experiences and thoughts of select synchronized skaters of color throughout their season as they transition from team tights to complexion specific tights from Aurora Tights. Along this process, the skaters are self documenting:


1. Thoughts and experiences prior to switching to their Aurora Tights tights 
2. Thoughts and experiences during/after switching to their Aurora Tights tights 
3. How the skaters feel they have grown, their experiences if it has impacted them or their surroundings, and the reactions of others. 


We are excited to share the experiences of these skaters and to bring you all along for the journey! And a special thank you to Avery, Brianna, and Nadia for sharing with us their first hand experiences in the synchronized skating world. 

This has been an amazing experience for the skaters and ourselves. Unfortunately, this post bring our series to an end but we hope that you've enjoyed this journey as much as we have! Thank you for joining us.

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Avery Diary Entry #5

Here it is, my final ‘Shades of Synchronized Skating’ entry. I have to admit that I didn’t realize the transformation this project would take when I took it on. To talk about my ‘skating tight experiences’ and the lack of skating tight colours available for people of all skin tones, turned into the discussion of something so much more valuable. I can also attest that I didn’t expect to experience so many positive self revelations like I did throughout this process. 

I mentioned in an earlier entry that my Aurora Tights had become much more to me than a pair of skating tights that matched my skin tone and that is even more true today. Although the tights have been the centrepiece per say, the people around the table were really the most important during this process. Fellow skaters, friends and coaches; many of which were from different backgrounds, never failed to surprise me by their willingness to share their experiences with me or lack thereof. What I found most encouraging was their honesty. Some never hesitated to admit they never considered the options available for people of all colours in our sport, as they were not impacted. I actually think it was a bit of an ‘A-HA’ moment for many of them!  I have drawn the conclusion that it is NOT the unwillingness to make our sport more inclusive, rather it is a lack of understanding and compassion for others.

When I began this journey, my skin tone and my mixed ethnicity, although apparent visually, wasn’t really something I spent a lot of time focussing on. This wasn’t because of any other reason other than I just haven’t had the experiences that others that look like me have had. Sure, I can speak to some experiences and speculate it was because of my skin tone, however I could not truthfully admit that they happened solely because of it. This project on the other hand, has enabled me to spend a little time thinking just about me and who I am as a young athlete and woman of colour. It is important whether I experience prejudice or not, to be aware that it is still present and learn to recognize it rather than ignore it. I find myself embracing my differences more and more each day and I am happier because of it. 

I remember a day that my Juvenile synchro team got to spend time with the senior team, playing games and having fun together. I was lucky to have been paired with one of my favourites, Nichole. She was an amazing skater and I always watched her on the ice when she skated. She immediately named me her “mini me” and took me by the hand and I had so much fun with her that day, I will never forget it. I really was her ‘mini me’, as in my mind we looked alot alike, same skin tone, eyes, hair and all. She was a great role model for me and not just because we looked similar, but because she was an amazing, hard working skater, who was kind and always made a genuine effort to say hi to me without knowing the impact she was having on me. Although I do not believe that you should only aspire to be like someone who looks like you, I do believe it can have an impact in an environment where you look so different to most. I realize with this project and the messages I have received, that I am now in the position of ‘role model’ for many girls and I will not take that for granted. 

Finally, without Aurora Tights and Get It Called giving me this platform, I would still be Avery the synchro skater. Not that I think that was a bad thing, but maybe not as aware as I could have been. Today, I can honestly say, I am much, much more. I see a business like Aurora Tights thinking outside the box, taking the baby steps necessary to provoke change and I want to be a part of it. I see skating clubs dedicating themselves to provide opportunities to children who wouldn’t normally have it, and I want to coach there. I want the sport of synchronized skating to continue evolving and growing and to become Olympic all while being diverse and inclusive. I look to my future and wonder what I can do to initiate change and encourage young girls of colour to participate in our sport. My story has really just begun. 

Thank you to Aurora Tights and Get It Called for this experience. 

~Avery

Brianna Diary Entry #5

Unfortunately, with the lack of opportunities to perform these days, I’ve had limited experience skating with my Aurora Tights. Since I recently passed both my senior moves and gold dances, I thankfully won’t be attending another test session anytime soon. I’m glad I was able to wear my Aurora Tights for both of those tests, but I most likely won’t have another opportunity for a while. Although I would’ve preferred to wear them more, I actually think this has been the perfect time to try them out. When the time comes where we can have a normal season again, I will already feel comfortable with wearing them. 

 

Since I don’t have any new tights experiences to share, I wanted to talk about how my very first skating experiences have impacted me to this day. I mentioned in one of my earlier entries that I first started skating in a predominantly black environment, which is definitely rare, and I know that many black skaters don’t get to experience that. As I’ve begun to learn about the experiences of other black skaters who started out skating in predominately white environments, I’ve realized how much I was impacted by my environment and how grateful I am to have experienced skating in a predominately black environment. When I was young and first starting out, I never experienced the feeling of being the only black skater on the ice. There were always black skaters I could become friends with, and older black skaters I could look up to. I probably didn’t even realize that skating was a predominately white sport at that point, because it wasn’t until I started synchro that I became aware of being in the minority. 

 

I’ve heard many skaters of color expressing how they often feel uncomfortable stepping into a rink, because they feel that others are judging them or doubting their abilities because they are not white. While there have been times where I have felt isolated or uncomfortable because I was in the minority, I have never thought that people might be thinking poorly of me because I am black. I think that skating in a predominately black environment at such a young age is part the reason I have never felt this way. I never felt insecure in my abilities as a black skater because I was constantly surrounded by other black skaters. So later in life when I started skating in predominately white environments, I carried that same confidence with me. I think that the experiences you have when you’re very young can have a huge impact on the way you think and act in the future, so I’m glad I was able to have that confidence as a black skater instilled in me at a young age. 

Nadia Diary Entry #5

All in all, I’ve been wearing Aurora Tights for several months now, and have had such a  positive experience with them. As I’ve stated in my previous entries, the goal of synchronized  skating is for sixteen skaters to look exactly alike in all aspects. However, skaters of color have  stuck out in a negative way for years, until now. So for skaters of color, this is the first time we  are experiencing the synchronized skating that our teammates have always been apart of. Figure skaters in general are finally starting to recognize the privilege that occurs within the  sport. As a result, U.S. Figure Skating, as well as most clubs, and coaches are actively trying to  find ways to eliminate the privilege, and racial disparities that come with figure skating, synchro  specifically. I feel that Aurora Tights is another main factor that will contribute to making skating  more diverse, as they are the first brand offering apparel that comes in multiple skin tones. The  brand is contributing to making our sport more diverse, and inclusive to all. For this reason, and  many more, I highly encourage everyone, not just skaters of color to purchase tights from a  company who is supporting athletes of all colors and backgrounds.  

Finding tights that match my skin tone after twenty-one years in the sport has been an  amazing and emotional experience, and documenting the journey that I’ve been on has been  moving for me. This has been such a huge accomplishment for athletes of color. I am finally able  to feel as though I “fit in” with my team, and am not sticking out in a negative way. I remain  hopeful that synchronized skating, as well as all sports in general are slowly taking steps to make  drastic changes that will encourage diversity, and welcome people from all different types of  backgrounds.

 

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