When Yvonne Dowlen was 80, she was in a car accident and was severely concussed. A doctor told her to hang her skates on a nail and consider her athletic career finished. Today, 86 year-old Yvonne goes out onto the ice just as before and participates in competitions. “When I’m in a bad mood, I look at my contemporaries with their oxygen pillows, put on my skates and smile.”
When Yvonne Dowlen isn’t competing, she works training children in figure skating. The main thing she teaches her fledglings is to be themselves without worrying about those around them. “He who walks leaning on someone else never walks gracefully.”
When the doctors forbade her to skate after her accident, Yvonne accepted the ban, but in her own words, “it was like waving a red flag at a bull”. She continued training until she could physically stand on her skates again and did one move short of an axel—a jump with one and a half revolutions—for the doctors.
Yvonne became a figure skater more than 70 years ago, but has never gotten so much satisfaction from skating as now. “For me, it’s very important just to stand on the ice,” she explains modestly. Modestly, because Yvonne Dowlen doesn’t just “stand on the ice”. She performs spins, step sequences and revolutions. And for that, the spectators and jury explode in applause at every competition.
Every day, Yvonne Dowlen spends about an hour in training. She is sure that the secret to her health lies in this training, in taking vitamins and in the fact that she is doing what she really loves.
“If you enjoy it, go all out and give it your best. But if you’re not having fun or feeling at peace on the ice, do something else.”