2009-12-30 / Local News


Two young Jewish skaters are set to take on the world
By DAVID PORTNOE Voice staff

ALYSSA FOX (left) & ELIANA ROTH…figure skaters will travel to Europe next month. ALYSSA FOX (left) & ELIANA ROTH…figure skaters will travel to Europe next month. Alyssa Fox and Eliana Roth have known each other pretty much their whole lives. Their parents became friends when their older siblings attended the pre-school at the Jewish Community Center. The two girls are good friends. They also share something else in common—they are figure skaters competing on an international level. Alyssa, a 17-year-old senior at Moorestown Friends, and Eliana, a 14- year-old freshman at Cherry Hill West, will be travelling to Prague in the Czech Republic to represent Team USA next month.

Alyssa and Eliana, who compete out of the Skating Club of New York (SCNY), will be travelling throughout the United States this year, but the trip to Prague is definitely the highlight of their upcoming schedule.

“I’m really excited. I’ve never competed against other countries before, and it’s really great to represent the U.S.,” said Eliana, who has been skating since the age of six.

Alyssa also started young. A Voorhees resident and member of Cong. Beth El, she began skating in kindergarten. “Originally, I wanted to play ice hockey, and my mom signed me up for figure skating,” said Alyssa. Both she and Eliana train intensively. They travel to New York three times a week, skate both in New York and on their own, do ballet, and work out in the gym to be in peak shape.

The travel and training does not leave much time for things other than schoolwork, but both find the time to be with friends. Alyssa enjoys drawing, music and movies. She sings in the Women’s Choir at Moorestown Friends. Eliana enjoys scrapbooking and shopping.

The two friends, who spend a lot of time together, don’t have to worry about going against each other in competition. That is because they compete in “Synchro,” or synchronized skating. Sixteen skaters are on the ice at the same time, doing different formations set to music. Alyssa and Eliana are both members of the Skyliners, which draws skaters from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

“I did singles and pairs when I was younger, but I like performing with a team,” said Alyssa. She said that she loves doing her favorite sport with a group of her closest friends.

Eliana still does freestyle skating, but picked up “Synchro” when she was in sixth grade. She loves skating because it gives her an opportunity to express herself. “I like everyone watching me and performing in front of a big crowd.”

January is shaping up to be a big month for Eliana not only because she is going to compete in Prague, but also because she will be featured in a new book, “Skating Forward,” about young women skaters who have overcome obstacles in life. Eliana, who was adopted from China as an infant, has Tourette syndrome, a neurological condition characterized by involuntary tics. Diagnosed when she was six, Eliana said that she has never let it slow her down. She said that she thinks that her skating has heightened her ability to concentrate and keep the Tourette’s under control. .

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