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Sophomore rates among world's elite roller skaters

On November 10, 2021

BY ELISE PANNEMANN / VN STAFF WRITER

In late September, sophomore Jayanthesh “Gene” Kalmat was in Paraguay preparing to skate in the Artistic Skating World Championship.

He qualified for Team USA by winning medals at a national competition in August.

Though attending events like the one in South America is no small feat, Kalmat, a Detroit Mercy student, is determined to reach his goals in both his skating and his education.

While he admits that this kind of lifestyle can be tiring, he is able to balance school and skating with a little time management.

Kalmat has been involved in roller figure skating since he was a young boy.

“I originally got into skating because of my defect,” said Kalmat. “I was born with craniosynostosis. It is essentially when the bones in a baby’s skull form too early. This limited my options about what sports I can do.”

Kalmat found roller skating through public skating sessions at Riverside Arena in Livonia.

It was a no-brainer for Kalmat once he discovered it.

“I realized I had some talent for the sport when I began understanding the basic concepts of weight placement and where the body is at all times,” he said. “What I mean by that is when you jump, a person must feel where they are in the air to properly land.”

Edge quality is important, too.

“Being able to precisely shift your weight from outside to inside edges while keeping proper positioning or shifting the original body line, as we call it, to a difficult position,” he said. “Once I understood these concepts my skating improved at an exponential rate.”

Kalmat is always working hard and trying to improve on his skating abilities, but the intensity increases when the championships roll around.

“I usually spend 20 to 40 minutes a day stretching alongside strength training in the gym,” he said.

Kalmat wishes more people knew about roller figure skating and recognized it as a dynamic sport.

For anyone curious about competing, Kalmat has advice.

“To pursue skating at the highest level … be patient and trust the process,” he said. “Nobody gets to the top overnight. Don’t slack off at practice. Trust your coach, and maintain proper health mentally and physically…”

Kalmat is a proud roller figure skater – an artist at his craft.

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