Three Tidewater Figure Skaters Place at Adult Nationals

Three members of the Tidewater Figure Skating Club competed at the U.S. Adult Nationals competition, held at the Polar Ice House in Wake Forest, NC from April 18 - 22.
All three – Natalie Bare and Coralie Raunig of Williamsburg, as well as Renee Popperback of Hampton, placed in the top-ten for their various age groups.

Bare had the highest placing among the trio, winning the silver medal for her second-place finish in the Adult Bronze Dramatic Entertainment III competition. She also placed sixth in the Adult Bronze Light Entertainment III category.

However, it may have been Raunig who walked away with the day’s biggest honor. Competing in the 66-85 age group, the 85-year old became the initial recipient of the Yvonne Dowlin trophy, for being the oldest competitor at the Championships. Raunig’s name will be engraved on the trophy, which will then be forwarded to the Figure Skating Museum in Colorado Springs, CO.

Raunig has been skating since the age of three, but she took a 45-year break from competition after getting married at the age of 19.

“I stopped skating because I was raising my four children and working as a special education teacher with the Newport News school system,” said Raunig, who trains three mornings a week at the Hampton Roads Iceplex in Yorktown.

After retiring from NNPS in 1996, Raunig pulled out her old skates and hit the ice once again. However, there was one problem.

“My skates were like the kind Sonja Henie (three-time Olympic gold medalist in 1928, 1932, and 1936) used to wear. They looked like boots. People saw me wearing those skates and couldn’t stop laughing.”

Undaunted, Raunig retooled her plan to match the times. “I went out and bought a new pair of skates, and also got a coach in Luis Lovett, who works with me one morning a week.” Lovett helped the octogenarian prepare for her program, which featured the songs “Copacabana” and “Girl from Ipanema.”