HIBBING — All the early mornings and hard work for more than a decade have paid off for Gracie Gabardi in a big way.
Gabardi, 16, a junior at Hibbing High School and a member of the Hibbing Figure Skating Club, recently passed her Senior Moves in the Field test which makes her a Gold skater.
“It has definitely not been easy waking up at 6 a.m. since second grade,” Gabardi said. “That was not my favorite thing but I am super glad I stayed in it because I have always enjoyed it. I am very proud of myself because it took a lot of drive. It’s a pretty big accomplishment when it comes to figure skating and I couldn’t have done it without everyone – my coaches and family and everyone else who gave me rides.”
Terri Anderson, a coach for the Hibbing Figure Skating Club, said those who become a Gold skater in Moves in the Field must complete eight tests, each consisting of eight elements for a total of 64 different elements that they have to perform.
“It takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work,” Anderson said. “It is a prestigious level to achieve in the figure skating world and not everybody achieves it. I am very proud of Gracie for achieving this and it’s great for Hibbing, it’s great for our club and it’s great for her.
“It is something that can’t be taken away. It is a great achievement for everyone involved, especially her for working so hard.”
Gabardi, the daughter of Jeri Ann and Derek Gabardi, started figure skating when she was four or five years old and she said she enjoys being part of the sport.
“I love doing it and I love being around the people,” Gabardi said. “I have just always loved the environment and I feel like I get a lot out of it. When I pass a test, I feel like it is a big goal for me and when I pass it, it’s a nice feeling.”
When asked what she feels she does well on the ice, Gabardi said, “I think I have a lot of flow and I am very graceful. I feel like whenever there is music I am very good at putting myself out there and presenting myself and going well with the music.”
Added Anderson, “Gracie has great presentation; she is a presenter who presents her elements well. She is confident and she is very graceful, and she is able to perform in front of judges or people. A lot of times kids do the opposite. When they are put on the spot to perform, even though they have done repetition after repetition, they get so nervous that the nerves take over instead of the confidence.
“But not Gracie as she becomes confident.”
Anderson said there are ups and downs with all figure skating students, but she said she has enjoyed coaching Gabardi.
“She is a great girl and she is going to put the time in,” Anderson explained. “When they get to be teen-agers things get tougher and other things happen in their lives. Things are harder when they get older because there are harder tests and it takes more time and effort.”
Being a Gold skater, Gabardi said she plans to coach figure skating eventually.
“I could coach even now if I got into it,” Gabardi said. “I hope to coach later in life, maybe when I am in college. I think coaching would be really cool in teaching somebody what I have learned. I really like working with kids.”
Gabardi is a three-sport athlete, playing soccer in the fall and competing in track and field in the spring. She said athletics have been important in her life up to this point.
“Sports have definitely been a big part of my life, just going from one sport to the next sport,” Gabardi said. “It’s not been easy.”
Gabardi carries a 3.3 grade point average in the classroom and she has no definite plans after high school.
“I am not really sure what I want to do yet but I think I want to probably teach and go into elementary education,” Gabardi said. “I maybe would go to college somewhere in Duluth because I don’t want to go too far away.”