By Tatyana Nyborg
TULSA TALENT: Victoria Fairchild is becoming a world-class talent. She takes lessons and practices at the Tulsa Ice Arena.
GTR Newspapers photo
Tulsa-area skaters are fortunate to have the teaching and directing services of Boyko Alexiev, the six-time figure skating champion of Bulgaria. Alexiev was a participant in the Olympic Games of 1988 and a winner in several international competitions. He has been working as the skating director at the Tulsa Ice Arena since 1998.
Alexiev is very interested in winter sports in Oklahoma, and he has found special talent from the area. One promising skater he mentions is Victoria Fairchild. A 12-year-old, she recently placed fifth in the Midwestern Section of a figure skating competition, which allows her to be an alternate in the national championship novice category.
Some observers say that she is able to do difficult and beautiful spins that even some masters cannot do.
Alexiev discusses winter sports and figure skating in Oklahoma. He says, “Winter sports are becoming more popular in Oklahoma, though somewhat less so than in more northern regions of the United States. At this time, we have about 25 students who have a competitive approach to figure skating. Tulsa and surrounding towns have enough population to find even more talent, but in the last few years, after 2001, a large slump occurred in figure skating because of the economic recession.”
Interestingly, the majority of figure skating students in the area are girls. Alexiev says, “It is hard to develop men’s figure skating in the USA. There is an opinion, especially in Oklahoma, that it is not a serious sport for men.”
Figure skating is a very respectful and prestigious career for men in most of the European countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden.
There are many admirers of figure skating all over the world. The two-time World Pair Champion, Hongbo Zhao of China, recently was quoted in the International Figure Skating magazine, “Figure skating is a beautiful sport and it is hard to define what it is exactly like. It is enjoyable to us and entertaining to the audience. It is a combination of good music, dance, technique and spirit.”
Alexiev explains that figure skating gives the satisfaction of physical activity and creates a good mood. When he was a teenager, he also liked to achieve a high level of skating and to perform in public.
Many people in colder climates find that figure skating is a pleasure. People spend hours skating at the rinks during their childhoods. Winters are long in most parts of northern climates, and there are skating rinks in almost every yard, similar to the many swimming pools in Oklahoma.
Alexiev says that he tries to develop a love for figure skating in greater Tulsa. Classes and services at the Tulsa Ice Arena are remarkable. The curriculum includes figure skating classes for all levels and ages, including beginning adult skaters. Other classes are designed to teach fundamentals of hockey skating.
The Tulsa Ice Arena offers day and evening sessions for skating with discounts for repeat customers. It is also an excellent place for birthday parties and other special events on the ice with all the trimmings such as a cake, food and drinks, and even a t-shirt and an introductory skating lesson for the birthday person.
Alexiev invites everybody to enjoy skating at the Tulsa Ice Arena. It is located in the northeast quadrant of the 71st Street and South Mingo Road intersection. The street address is 6910 S. 101st E. Ave. The telephone number is 254-7272.