Faith and Figure Skating

When I won the World Championships in 2006, a reporter asked me if I thought I had any chance of defending my title the following year. I was lucky and blessed to have had that opportunity, and to have seized the opportunity, but I had just won 15 minutes earlier. I was not even thinking about the 2007 title.

The criticism is hard. Some people will make assumptions about you before even meeting you. Some will gossip about things that seem unimportant, like my weight, my hair, my makeup, and so on. I'm not saying that I have never gossiped. But I never want my actual skating to get lost among the gossip and the criticism.

We've spoken with Olympic gymnasts who faced tremendous pressures to lose weight (here) or make their bodies look a particular way (here).  Do skaters face similar pressures? Is the pursuit of perfection dangerous?

There are definitely similar pressures in skating! They seem to follow every skater around. I remember after 2006, going into the 2007 season, when a reporter asked me how my body had changed and if I thought it would affect my skating negatively.

While I believe it is very important to be healthy, there is a difference between skinny and healthy. Everyone's body is different.

Sometimes I do believe the pressure for perfection is dangerous. Not only is it dangerous physically, but mentally the pressure can be damaging and difficult. Athletes and people in general should be in shape and healthy.

For athletes, one of the great ways to express their faith through their athletics is to use the platform it has given them to do good things for others. Can you tell us about your work, through the Cool Kids Campaign, with children who have cancer? What do you hope to give to those children -- and what do they give to you?

Through the Cool Kids Campaign, I have met so many amazing kids and their families. We try to provide the kids with a higher quality of life and a chance to be themselves.

We hand out care packages and publish a newpaper. We're currently working on opening a Cool Kids care center! Having the opportunity to meet these children and get to know them has really changed my life. They are so inspiring, and they possess that innocence that only children can. They bring a smile to my face every time. I've also been given the chance to work with Special Olympics Maryland and the Coalition for a Healthy Maryland.

What are your goals now? What's next for Kimmie Meisner?

What's next for me is still undecided. I've really been enjoying skating in shows, and I would like to do more of them. I am, however, a very competitive person. I miss competing, and now that I'm finally injury-free I'm trying to decide what course to take.

Also I'm in school at the University of Delaware and I love it! So there are a lot of things that I want to do, but I just need to narrow it down and figure out what is my path.

Similar articles can be found at Patheos' Faith and Sports Portal, and in our series on Gymnastics, Faith, and Olympic Glory.

7/14/2010 4:00:00 AM
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  • Timothy Dalrymple
    About Timothy Dalrymple
    Timothy Dalrymple is the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Polymath Innovations, a strategic storytelling agency that advances the good with visionary organizations and brands. He leads a unique team of communicators from around North America and across the creative spectrum, serving mission-driven businesses and nonprofits who need a partner to amplify their voice and good works. Once a world-class gymnast whose career ended with a broken neck, Tim channeled his passions for faith and storytelling into his role as VP of Business Development for Patheos, helping to launch and grow the network into the world's largest religion website. He holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Tim blogs at Philosophical Fragments.