Arvadan skates her way to World Games

Posted 12/24/12

On a chilly Thursday afternoon, Arvada resident Amanda Douglass laces up her snow- white ice skates, stretches her muscles and then glides onto the …

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Arvadan skates her way to World Games

On a chilly Thursday afternoon, Arvada resident Amanda Douglass laces up her snow- white ice skates, stretches her muscles and then glides onto the ice of the Apex Center ice arena.
Douglass, 26, is one of many figure skaters who practices at the Apex Center, 13150 W. 72nd Ave., but something sets her apart from her fellow skaters.
She is an Olympian.
Having started skating and competing when she was just 8 years old, Douglass is preparing for her biggest competition yet — the Special Olympics World Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“I’m looking forward to meeting other athletes from different countries,” Douglass said.
Douglass has frontal lobe brain damage, which she has had since she was 3. Following complications from seizures three days before her third birthday, Douglass was put into a medically-induced coma, and her parents weren’t sure she was going to come out of it, said Douglass’ mother Toni Douglass.
“The exact same time and day of her birthday, she came back,” Toni said.
Amanda was put on brain suppressant medicine, which stopped her seizures until she was 15.
Now, Douglass works at King Soopers and practices her skating two times per week as she prepares for the big competition.
“She’ll be doing compulsory and free style,” said Bernie Creevey, Amanda’s coach. “Compulsory is the edges, turns, the old-day school figures and patterns on ice. The scores are totaled for the trial score.”
During the free style, Amanda will be skating to music from “Robin Hood” and wearing a medieval-inspired costume, which is part of her favorite part of skating.
“I love the jumps and the spins,” Amanda said. “And the costumes.”
While this is Amanda’s first World Games, and her biggest competition yet, she isn’t new to competitive world.
Amanda skated and competed from 1994 to 2005. When she was 19, she took a four-year break, but soon missed her passion and was back on the ice in 2009, Toni said.
Amanda won her first gold at 8 in 1994 when she took first in the state competition, Toni said. Since then, Amanda has won eight gold medals.
Olympians are chosen for the World Games through a lottery. Athletes who win a gold in their sport the year prior to the game are put into the lottery to participate in the World Games.
Amanda won a gold medal in regionals this past March, qualifying her for the lottery.
Now, having been chosen, Amanda is realizing her lifelong dream come true.
“I think it’s great,” said Creevey, who trained Amanda for a few years before her break and as well as the past three years. “She’s been working really hard and it’s been a goal for her to go as far as the Games. It’s exciting she did it in three years.”
Amanda also recently met with her fellow Special Olympics ice skaters in Lake Placid, N.Y., for the Special Olympics trials, where the athletes were tested to ensure they were performing at their appropriate levels.
“It went really great,” Amanda said. “They said I could be the team leader.”
Amanda and her fellow Olympians, five of whom are also from Colorado but in other sports, will travel to South Korea at the end of next month for the games Jan. 29 through Feb. 5.
amanda douglass, arvada


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