Trading sparkle for speed hasn’t been the easiest for ice skater Kathryn Magno.
But she’s no longer in the “gray area,” as she calls it. A figure skater since she was five, Magno was so used to coupling her athletic abilities with grace and poise.
But in transitioning into a speed skater, Magno needed to summon her old skating skills and pair it this time with power and quickness.
“It was tough in the very beginning but I feel a lot more comfortable now as a speed skater,” says Magno. “I’m not in that gray area of figure and speed. Now, I’m much more comfortable with my body and technique.”
Magno has always known that the glittery sport of figure skating favors the young. But even when the time came to hang up her blades, the itch for ice hardly left her.
“When I retired from figure skating, I missed the ice,” the Filipino-American shares. “I grew up on the ice, so it was very hard for me to live a normal life, if I can say. I’m used to such gruelling schedule where you train in the morning, train at night. I wanted to go back to figure skating but that didn’t happen.”
Although born and raised in California, Magno has always represented the Philippines in figure skating. It wasn’t long before she found herself shuttling between Manila and California again—but this time, as the first Filipino representative in speed skating (Think of the sport as track running where you race for the best time—but on skates, gliding in an oval ice rink).
“Prior to me switching sports, I was already in my career as a graphic designer, working full time,” says Magno, who traces her roots in Isabela. “I can’t sit in a desk eight hours-plus, so that’s how I transitioned into speed skating.
“But for me, I just wanted to challenge myself,” she adds. “It was supposed to be just recreational. I was 24 when I started, so it…