Behind the scenes of figure skating - Dec. 6

Physician, grandma and flower sweeper: Dr. Marci Richards

"Grandma" flower sweeper, Dr. Marci Richards.
"Grandma" flower sweeper, Dr. Marci Richards. (Jo Ann Schneider Farris)


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By Jo Ann Schneider Farris, special to
(12/06/2007) - Many local Salt Lake City residents volunteered their time at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Some of the volunteer opportunities included working in security, helping with practice ice, being an ice monitor, helping with registration, preparing food for the officials and coaches, or working as a medical volunteer.

One volunteer stood out in particular. Her name is Dr. Marci Richards. She was designated as a "Grandma Flower Sweeper" and picked up stuffed toys and flowers along with the child sweepers. Dr. Richards is a sixty-two year old grandmother and adult figure skater who lives in Wisconsin, but vacations and skates and skis in Utah. Her Salt Lake City figure skating coach, Christi Sturgeon, was in charge of selecting and training the young "Flower Sweepers," and Dr. Richards suggested that an adult ice skater help out.

It turned out that Marci Richards didn't just help out; she became an official sweeper! A larger skating dress that matched the young little girls' dresses was made especially for Marci. She attended the required practices.

In addition to flower sweeping, Dr. Richards donated her time and talents by volunteering with the onsite volunteer medical team. She, along with volunteer nurses and paramedics spent long hours at the event hoping that there would be no injuries. Marci Richards also volunteers as a ski patroller, so she is very experienced with athletic injuries.

Dr. Richards loves figure skating. She is a member of the USFS Adult Committee. She competes at the Adult Bronze (age 56 and over) level, and has participated in the U.S. Adult Championships for several seasons: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. She missed 2007 due to injury, but still volunteered her time while on crutches.

It should be noted that no major figure skating event can run without dedicated and committed volunteers. Those who volunteered their time in Salt Lake City certainly did make the competition run smoothly. Sometimes volunteering at an event like Junior Nationals can be weary and tiring, so next time you attend a skating event, remember to thank each volunteer!