- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Who can soon forget the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, when Tara Lipinski brought home the gold medal in women's figure skating? Her youthful exuberance and dazzling performance made Americans proud.
And who knows what youngster could become the next Tara Lipinski or Michael Weiss, Fairfax's own Olympic medalist hopeful? Mr. Weiss skated for the United States during the 1998 Winter Olympics and turned in a solid performance.
The Washington area offers a number of year-round indoor ice rinks where anyone can join in the fun of skating. In addition, several outdoor rinks promise to provide rosy cheeks and a good time.
Every year during the winter months, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is turned into a frozen oasis where area skaters glide across the ice and listen to music. As an indication of the popularity of ice-skating, as of Dec. 31, 23,760 skaters had strapped on their skates this season. Last winter saw a total of 48,790 skaters take to the ice.
New this year, the Pavilion Cafe has opened to provide tasty treats as well as a place to get warm or just people-watch. Walls of glass overlook the ice rink.
On a recent Saturday, Jane Mango of Rockville and her two sons, 6-year-old Barry and 9-year-old Ben, were enjoying the ice.
"We're making a lot of creative falls right now, but we're having a good time," Mrs. Mango said. "We were doing great; we were gliding, and then I tripped over his skate, and we tumbled."
Visiting from Long Island, N.Y., 11-year-old Lauren Glassman and her family were skating for the first time at the sculpture garden. Her mom, Eileen; siblings Caitlin, 5, and Ryan, 9; and 7-year-old cousin Katherine Glassman of Chevy Chase all were having a good time.
Away from the city lights, Reston Town Center also has an outdoor rink that is open during the winter months. It's situated in the heart of Town Center, so skaters young and old can enjoy coffee and hot chocolate in Town Center restaurants after their outings on the ice.
Sixteen-year-old Haile Pegues of Vienna comes to Reston to skate on a regular basis. She says she likes skating, and she brought a friend who was visiting for the holidays from Guadaloupe.
Melodie Gartel said it was her first time skating. "I did have a lot of fun, but it's so hard," she said. "Right now, my feet are frozen."
Though not many youngsters will make it big in the skating world, skating is an activity that can bring a lifetime of fun and pleasure.



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