FAYETTE, Iowa (July 17, 2008)- Joanna Canny, an amateur figure skater from Lake Placid, N.Y., recently spent a week on Upper Iowa University's Fayette campus this summer taking an accelerated course in communications.
Canny is an education major enrolled in Upper Iowa's independent study program. Homeschooled to accommodate the rigorous training and travel schedule of competitive skating, it's a format she's used to and one that's allowed her to work towards an important goal--completing her degree.
"Upper Iowa's program is ideal for me," said Canny. "The flexibility allows me to study in my hotel room, at the skating rink, or just about anywhere."
Canny's road to figure skating began at age three when she saw a skater on television and asked her mother if she could do that. "My mom said, no, so I asked my grandpa," said Canny. "His response was to put me in skating lessons." Canny says her grandfather is a huge proponent of athletics.
A few highlights of her skating career include passing the highest level of testing in senior women, moves in the field, and pairs categories and attending the 2004 U.S. Figure Skating Nationals junior pairs competition. She's also skated with the likes of Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi.
A downside to the sport, however, is at the ripe old age of twenty-three Canny is already too old to skate as a single. She would like to concentrate on competing in pairs skating again but that will depend on finding a partner. At only five feet four and 110 pounds, Canny says she's considered too big. "Male partners are looking for someone lighter than me-even ten pounds can make a big difference when performing multiple lifts," she said. "Also, the ratio is not good with 300 women skaters to every 20 males."
Canny is also a certified skating coach and judge and says judging a competition is almost more nerve wracking than skating because you want to do the right thing and keep the politics out of it.
Although she says her week on the Fayette campus was pretty intense, she's used to training and working hard at everything. Canny's final project was a group presentation on state funding cuts of school athletic programs. Her job was to convince the community to accept the proposal. She added, "Too bad my audience wasn't just my grandpa, because then it would have been an easy sell."
For more information about Upper Iowa University, go to www.uiu.edu.
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