Sally Caron becomes double gold medalist


John Zarba

Sally Caron skates in front of a community that watched her grow as a skater

Mackenzie Condon, Editor-in-Chief

Senior figure skater Sally Caron has become the first double gold medalist in the history of the Martha’s Vineyard Figure Skating Club (MVFSC), an accomplishment that comes after years of hard work done mostly outside the public eye.

As a junior, Sally took the Gold Moves in the Field test and passed on her third attempt, which resulted in her attainment of a national standard put forth by the U.S. Figure Skating Association, and secured her place as the youngest among only a handful of MVFSC figure skaters to have achieved a gold standard. The test consisted of executing a series of patterns that are expected to be done in specific places on the ice.

“It’s all outlined in a book, so there was a clear right and wrong,” Sally said. “It took failing the test to really motivate me to learn the intricacies of performance and to mature

After passing that test with over a year left to go in her skating career, Sally was ready to pioneer uncharted territory. Her coach, Jane Elizabeth Taylor, said, “Sally asked me what she would have to do to get another gold medal, and I’d never had anyone ask me that before.”

After a summer of experimenting with the criteria of different tests, Sally and Coach Taylor decided to pursue a mis-sion that would prove to be more challenging than the rest: achieving a second gold standard, this time in solo free dance—an ice dancing performance piece that required a higher level of technique, and focused on flow and the blending of more technical elements. “Normally I can rely on my tricks,” said Sally. “I can do turns and jumps that make up for any poor technique or a mistake. This test didn’t include those tricks, and was instead an elegant performance piece to music.”

Coach Taylor has known Sally since she first stepped onto the ice with the Learn to Skate program at 3 years old. “A lot of kids are afraid to learn new things,” she said, “but she was alway game for things outside of her comfort zone since day one. A switch flipped at [age] 9 or 10, when she started to develop crucial proprioception, or body awareness, which allowed her to progress through skill sets faster. That was also when she started to become really committed.”

Her commitment, however, was tested in high school. Sally has been a three-sport athlete at the regional high school for all four years, playing varsity field hockey and lacrosse, and captaining the varsity hockey team in the winter. It was hockey that came as a surprise to her.

“I figured I’d play JV with all my friends, but at the tryouts [varsity hockey Head Coach John Fiorito] noticed I had strong skating skills, especially in terms of my comfort going backward, which carried over from figure skating,” Sally said.

Coach Taylor said, “She is a multisport athlete, and it’s that athleticism that contributes to her success as a skater. But it also creates a demanding schedule.”

Throughout high school, Sally could not enjoy sleeping in on Saturday mornings, like many of her classmates. By 8 am she was usually already on the ice practicing. It wasn’t uncommon for schooldays to include an evening skating practice in addition to a high school team practice. “Friday mornings she’s on the ice at 5:45 am, and it’s just me and her,” said Coach Taylor. “She works really well in a one-on-one morning environment.”

Sally’s second gold medal standard test was canceled by judges twice, but her first attempt ended in a moment that gave her the title of double gold medalist.

“One thing she really does is rise to the occasion,” said Coach Taylor. “When the pressure is on, she’s her best self.”

Last weekend, Sally performed her final solo as an MVFSC skater for the community at the club’s annual show. “I always want to make an audience feel like they are a part of my routine, and to let them feel my passion for being on the ice,” Sally said. “My last performance was special because I was able to do it in front of my community and my supporters. My coaches, my family, my friends — they are what got me here.”