Gold Medal Test Recognition
by Renee Lacy
Let’s face it; we all know that adult gold moves in the field and free skate tests are not the same as the senior level tests. The single axel is not a triple jump. The brackets in the field are not on par with the serpentine-step sequence. The senior tests require a high level of technical capability that most adult skaters will not ever be capable of completing satisfactorily.
Skaters who start learning as adults cannot reasonably expect to progress to the senior level. However, if you are an adult skater, the amount of time and energy required to complete the gold level test is enormous. The years of commitment to coaching and practice can be on par with a senior level test. I personally know the thrill and relief of finally reaching the goal of passing my terminal gold moves in the field test. This monumental achievement should be recognized in some way by the skater’s skating club. Some clubs purchase “passing skaters” the gold test medal or jacket that USFS makes available.
Adult skaters were around before the current crop of young skaters and will remain after the young skaters move on to other things.
I’ve witnessed a lot of chatter lately on the internet from adults completing their gold medal test who are then surprised to discover that their skating club won’t recognize their adult achievement equally with senior level tests. They start asking other adult skaters about which clubs do and do not recognize adult tests and try to fight the club policies at the board meetings to receive fair treatment. Anecdotally, it seemed that more than half of the clubs polled did recognize adult gold tests. The last thing skating clubs should be doing is discounting and disenfranchising adult skaters.
Adult skaters provide a stable base of membership and volunteers for many clubs. They were around before the current crop of young skaters and will remain after the young skaters move on to other things. They are role models showing younger skaters how to work towards goals and pursue dreams. Adult skaters know they will not be going to the Olympics but continue to skate because they love the sport of figure skating.
Adult skaters who serve as club board members can help create fair policies for recognizing all skaters reaching terminal tests. According to the USFS, only three percent of tests passed each year are senior or gold level tests. This achievement, reached by such a small number of skaters, should be celebrated. The USFS recognizes adult gold tests the same as the senior level tests, and I think figure skating clubs should too.
— Renee Lacy is an engineer by day and an adult skater and LTS Instructor in her spare time. Her first formal skating instruction began 15 years ago in a university physical education class after skating on a frozen lake in Michigan during childhood. 12 years later, she passed her adult gold moves in the field test and continues to work on freestyle and ice dance.