- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - When U.S. national champion figure skater Gracie Gold takes the ice at the Sochi Olympics, she’ll be wearing a pair of skates purchased through a Richmond company.

Skates US on West Eaton Pike has been Gold’s source for skates for more than six years. The company also fits and builds skates for three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada’s Olympic team.

President David Ripp has a long history in skating. His grandfather, Charles Snyder, had a skate shop in Dayton, Ohio, and built skates for Ripp’s mother, a competitive roller skater.

“I started skating before I was 1 (year old),” Ripp said. “I won my first regional competition at 5 and first national competition at 9.” Altogether, he won 13 first-, second- and third-place awards at the North American Championships in roller skating.

He also met his wife of 42 years, Carolyn Duning Ripp of Richmond, while the two were roller skating in Dayton.

For many years, David Ripp was a sound engineer, creating sound systems for more than 650 roller rinks and 350 night clubs as well as editing music for skaters’ performances. He still does some sound work, but most of his time is taken up with skates.

In 2004, the Ripps bought a business that was the U.S. distributor for two Italian roller skate companies, Atlas and Roll-Line. While in Italy to finalize contracts with those companies, they also met with the founder of Edea, a young company manufacturing roller and ice skates.

“It just clicked,” Carolyn Ripp told the Palladium-Item (http://pinews.co/1cou8sB ).

Skates US became the exclusive United States importer and distributor for Edea.

The boots for Edea skates have a carbon fiber shell lined with memory foam and an anti-shock undersole. They are designed to keep their shape and protect the skater from injury.

“That’s why … many of the top skaters have headed to our skates,” said David Ripp.

Skates US has a growing reputation among competitive figure skaters.

Gold (and her twin sister, Carly, also a figure skater) and Chan have been loyal clients, and the Ripps have gotten to know them over the years.

Gracie is really a lot like she acts on TV,” David Ripp said. “She’s very self-confident, and she’s also very focused.”

“Bubbly,” added Carolyn Ripp.

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