Carolyn Tinkham and her alternative art form


Senior Carolyn Tinkham has been lacing up her skates since she was three years old. The majority of her life has been all about skating, firing Carolyn’s passion for the sport and art form she loves so much.

Her affection for skating is time-consuming, like most athletics. Carolyn, however, has even more to juggle than many student athletes with her job and school, but her dedication is what keeps her going.

“I don’t sleep much, to be honest,” Carolyn said. “I leave my house at six in the morning and don’t get home until about ten or eleven at night. I finish skating and then walk into the concession stand at Patterson [Ice Center] to work. Right now, I am paying for about seventy percent of my training with the money I have earned from my job.”

The intensity at which she dedicates her time and energy into skating can take away from other activities, such as school work. Similarly to other competitive athletes, she has to balance everything, no matter how difficult it may be on her busiest days.

“I definitely sacrifice at least half of a grade in order to do everything,” Carolyn said. “But, I guess I just work harder to get everything done. I’m in Mr. George’s [senior composition] class, and he asked if I spent like 27 hours on the introduction [of a paper] and I said no, I spent this hour on it.”

In addition to surrendering any free time to skating, work, or school, she has also had to sacrifice friends to some extent, whether she wanted to or not.

“I don’t really talk to a lot of people, as much as I would like to,” Carolyn said. ” but everybody is generally friends with each other [in the skating community]. It’s one of those sports where you are competing against each other, but you like each other anyway.”

In addition to the relationships she establishes with her competitors, she also has had the opportunity to bond with her coaches in a way that you can’t do with team sports.

“My two coaches I have known for longer than I can remember,” Carolyn said. “My head coach and I will go out to lunch, and she and my mom have even gone to skating nationals together before. She has always treated me like a granddaughter. And then my other coach I am really close with and she is like a friend.”

Her coaches play a huge role her in life and how she skates in her competitions. One of them works with her to prepare her for testing, which she must complete in order to qualify to compete at other levels, while the other helps with her technique.

“My main coach gets me for twenty-minute lessons three times a week,” Carolyn said, “she tells me what I am doing wrong. My other coach is for moves, which is a part of testing that we have to complete in order to compete at higher levels. For regionals, you have to be at a certain testing level. Right now, I am intermediate, so I can qualify for sectionals in the nationals.”

Carolyn has had multiple opportunities that ordinary athletes don’t have. She has performed in between periods of Griffins hockey games and intermission at Stars On Ice with a group. All of this and her testing has all been in preparation for the bigger picture: her future.

“My goal right now for this year,” Carolyn said, “is to finish up my testing and then I intend to go into coaching when I’m older. For the next couple years, I am going to be auditioning to be in Disney On Ice, and hopefully going overseas and doing that for a few years.”

Carolyn hopes to be in the skating business for a long time. Though she will not always be able to compete like she can now, she is looking forward hopefully being given the opportunity to skate in the international show, Disney On Ice.

“I am hoping to do Disney On Ice and then save the money I make to go to the University of Denver to go into pharmaceuticals,” Carolyn said.

Though thinking about her future is always a good idea, Carolyn knows the reason she began is simple: she just fell in love with it.

“When I was little my mom got me started,” Carolyn said, “my dad has always complained about the money, but he’s always been supportive.

I mostly just do it because it is a sport that I care about and love”

— Carolyn Tinkham