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Twins bring skills, devotion to SFSC

Jason Starr

BRECKENRIDGE – The arrival of the twins Gisondo starts a new era for the Summit Figure Skating Club.

Jessica and Alanna give the club a pair of dedicated, national-level competitors with goals of the highest order – the Olympics.

The pair, originally from Florida, ended a search of Western towns with Breckenridge because of the new Stephen C. West Ice Arena and its resident skating coach Larisa Gendernalik. The combination of the Gisondo family’s focus on skating and Gendernalik’s long experience as a coach promises to bear fruit on the regional competitive circuit.

“We wanted a change, and Larisa is kind of what we’ve been looking for,” Jessica explained. “Our coaches back home were young and inexperienced.”

Gendernalik had heard of those coaches because they, like herself, are from Russia. And she had also heard about the twins.

“I’m having fun with them,” Gendernalik said. “I’m teaching something that I wanted to teach. I’m teaching triples; I’m teaching double axles.”

“She’s very inspiring,” Alanna said of her coach. “Skating with her is fun. She makes you work hard, but it’s fun to get out there every morning.”

Even though the rest of the club is at a lower level, the twins have no trouble finding motivation.

“You have to push yourself and you have to remember that there are better girls out there doing better than you,” Jessica said, “and that’s what pushes you.”

They have been great for the club, providing an example of solid technique and unwavering dedication to the sport.

“The other students follow them, they want to skate like them,” Gendernalik said. “It’s a great advantage for them to skate here because they never had such high-level skaters.”

The family owns land in Park County and used to come up just for the summers. Now, it appears, they will stay through the year. Alanna and Jessica might consider Summit High School – they will be juniors – but they have been home-schooled since third grade for training purposes.

The twins moved up to the national level this year, which means they are old enough to go to the U.S. nationals. But first they have to get through regionals and sectionals in the fall, something they have not done before.

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at jstarr@summitdaily.com.


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