Like Water and Ice
by Tamar Anolic

"Focus on your skating. Ignore everything else."

Thad Moulton feels as if his time has passed. He has been a figure skater since he was an adolescent. Despite some success, a few missteps have proven fatal at the national level. Now, he is twenty-six, and the competition is younger, faster, and fiercer. As the next round of national and world championships approaches, Thad faces stiff challenges from a Russian superstar and fellow American skaters. Career fatigue begins to set in, and Thad believes he should transition from Olympic-level skating to the lucrative “Stars on Ice/Ice Capades” circuit. Thad’s coach urges Thad to try a new approach to his training and attempt one last shot at Olympic immortality. However, this last lap comes with more complications than Thad could have contemplated.

The life of a professional athlete is seen from the ground up in this well-written drama. Thad’s odyssey starts off from a state of hopelessness and weariness. His desire to win is coupled with the fear of losing opportunities. The interactions between Thad and his family add realism to the story, as Thad wants to prove to his parents that their sacrifices in nurturing his skating were worth it over time. Thad distinguishes himself as more than a one-dimensional protagonist. Despite his own doubts, he is an exemplary teammate and dependable person. His developing relationship with teammate Emily and their individual vying for Olympic gold adds more depth to an already superb storyline. The plot never loses its luster as Thad’s swan song as a competitive figure skater reaches its crescendo at the 1998 Winter Olympics.

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