Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL — For thirty years, Bountiful resident Terri Lyn Sorenson has flown on ice, sometimes falling, sometimes succeeding in a tricky spin, but never giving up.
Despite having Down Syndrome, Sorenson recently made a great achievement: she passed her pre-preliminary ice skating test.
“It’s a hard test to pass,” said Catherine Rasband, a friend of Sorenson. “I’m a skater and have seen her many times through the years. I think it’s very rare for a person like her to be able to pass the test because of its difficulty.”
Sorenson, 40, started figure skating when she was 10 years old.
Now she is part of the Utah Figure Skating Club, which holds practices and figure skating events at the South Davis Recreation Center in Bountiful.
In an email sent to the Clipper, Rasband said Sorenson’s love of ice skating began with a field trip her class took while Sorenson was at Meadowbrook Elementary School. With the help of her sister, Sorenson learned to skate at the Bountiful Bubble, and has been skating ever since.
“Terri was able to be involved in the Special Olympics for many years, but had to stop once the funding started to drop,” said Rasband. “While with the Special Olympics, she participated in the World Games Exhibition in 1989 and has had the opportunity to meet several well-known figure skaters.”
Among the figure skaters named were Tai Babilonia, a five-time U.S. national champion from 1976-1980.,Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medalist in 1984, Dorothy Hamill, who won several championships, and Michelle Kwan, a two-time Olympic Medalist.
For Sorenson, passing the test involved a number of spin moves and a combination of other techniques, including the waltz eight, where figure skaters make three turns in a confined amount of space that looks like the number eight on the ice.
“There are a lot of parts involved,” said Rasband, “but she’s been able to excel in dance and be successful in many other activities because of her training.”
Although passing the test doesn’t necessarily lead to competitions, Sorenson’s efforts, said Rasband, may lead to others with disabilities wanting to give the sport a shot.
“Many people with special needs have been encouraged to try by watching her success,” she said. “She’s a wonderful person.”
Her father, Bill, said she was very aware of her accomplishments and “seemed pretty happy to pass it.”
“We’re very proud of what she’s been able to accomplish,” he said. “She’s a very active person. She’s in a clogging class as well and has performed with some of her friends for many years.”
Bill Sorenson also said even though she’s a quiet person, she was happy about passing such a tough test.
“She wouldn’t say a whole lot about it,” he said, “but she knew she was going to pass.”