Winning isn’t everything: fun competition at world skating event

Jared Rugen and his partner posing at the end of a dance

Jared Rugen competes at the World Roller Figure Skating Championships with his partner, Emma Trent, in Colombia in September.

Jared Rugen returned from the 2015 World Roller Figure Skating Championships in Colombia with new friendships, experiences and another stamp on his passport.

“A lot of people went with the objective of placing well and getting the scores that they thought they should have gotten,” said Rugen, sophomore in entrepreneurship. “I kind of went with the mindset of just having fun.”

Rugen and his partner, Emma Trent, earned a berth on Team USA to compete in the world championships Sept. 15 to Sept. 27. They finished 12th out of 13 teams for the senior dance competition and showcased their skills in artistic roller skating, a sport similar to figure skating but on roller skates.

The event featured nearly 1,500 athletes from 30 countries.

“This year wasn’t about placement or about competition. It was more about experiencing the entire world event,” Rugen said.

Aside from learning new technical skating skills, Rugen met people from all over the world.

“My favorite part was probably just watching the other skaters from the other countries — being able to experience that level of skill,” he said.

He keeps in touch with a friend he made from Sweden. Because of different time zones, Rugen calls their messaging chats an extended conversation.

“One conversation takes like three days,” he said.

Rugen hopes to compete in the world championships again next year. He plans to consult with multiple coaches, take dance classes and spend more time practicing, but his outlook on roller skating remains light-hearted and fun.