by Jeff Switzer
After Melissa Shdo first saw Rosalynn Sumners in the 1984 Winter Olympics, she was hooked for good and has been figure skating ever since.
Earlier this month, the 15-year-old Shorecrest High School sophomore was again catapulted into the international arena of sports successes when she won several awards competing against more than 250 skaters at the Sun Valley Summer Figure Skating Championships.
In Sun Valley, Shdo took first place in several ice dancing events, including the foxtrot, rocker foxtrot, paso boble, and moves in the field. She took second in "14 step," third in novice ladies showcase, and fourth in shadow dancing.
In early August, Shdo competed at the ISI World Recreational Championships at her home rink in Kingsgate, winning two first-place World Titles, in Ice Dance 5 and Dramatic Spotlight 7, and three second place awards: freestyle 7, technical program and footwork 7 and similar pairs dramatic spotlight.
"I had so much fun at the competition," Shdo said. "I met people from all over the world, and I now have pen pals as far away as Hong Kong!"
Shdo has been competing for several years, and has consistently placed in the top three in more than 20 ice skating competitions in categories such as freestyle, figures, dance, and artistic events.
Shdo also participates in a myriad of community activities, including cleanups and work at the Boys and Girls Club Skate-a-Thon, and was involved in the Goodwill Games opening and welcoming ceremonies.
She was a member of the University of Washington Virtual Reality Roving Vehicle Team, as well as a leader in the Kellogg Classroom of Tomorrow program at Kellogg Middle School, focusing on self-direction and students taking charge of their learning.
Her mother, Cheryl Shdo, says that because of Melissa's encouragement, skaters who came to the area for the competition from overseas are continuing their efforts to gain sponsorships and come to the United States to continue their education.
"I was surprised and delighted when other skaters asked me for my autograph after the competition," Melissa said.