ISLE of Wight-born Terri Smith has had an interesting and exciting life as an ice skater and ice skating coach.

Terri, 39, who went to Lake Middle and Sandown High School, is an important reason why the IW Ice Dance and Figure Skating Club has had so much success on the ice in recent years.

Isle of Wight County Press: Terri Smith, left, had a career in entertainment as a skater, which saw her travel around the world.Terri Smith, left, had a career in entertainment as a skater, which saw her travel around the world.

Against the backdrop of the closure of the Island’s only ice skating facility, Ryde Arena, in 2016, the club has had to travel to the mainland each weekend to train, which is why Terri relocated from the Island to Gosport with her family.

Terri was a professional ice skating dancer, who travelled far and wide, before masterminding her young teams’ successes in synchro on the national stage.

Isle of Wight County Press: The Wight Crystals in action. Photo: Graham TaylorThe Wight Crystals in action. Photo: Graham Taylor

To find out more about Terri — her life and her career as an ice skater and coach, the County Press asked her some probing questions:

When did you first start playing your sport and what attracted you to it?

A: When Ryde Arena opened in 1995.

What do you enjoy most about playing for your current club?

A: Coaching the teams I started in 2006.

What has been the highlight of your sporting days so far?

A: Wight Jewels representing Great Britain and the Isle of Wight in the Junior World Synchronised Skating Championships.

Who do you look up to in your sport and why?

A: Andrea Dohany, a world class synchro coach who has had Swedish teams win world championships. Andrea has invented many synchro elements.

Who has had the most influence on you in your sport and in what way?

A: Again, Andrea, by gaining knowledge attending her synchro camps.

What are your aims in your sport?

A: To be able to help get skaters and teams to reach the best of their ability and winning British and international titles and medals.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen in your sport?

A: During official practice, one of my skaters had a bright pink glove from a different costume attached to her blue leotard and she didn’t realise it.

What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of participating in your sport?

A: Our main obstacle is the lack of ice. Our skaters are competing against skaters and teams that receive many more hours of training a week.

Since the rink on the Isle of Wight closed, our skaters travel, at very unsociable hours, to train for as little as 30 minutes practice ice with another team — sharing their ice time.

Which team do you support and what’s been your favourite moment watching them?

A: Team Surprise, which includes Island-born skater, Gemma Marsh, who is now living and training in Sweden.

In 2018 Gemma’s team won a world silver medal. I’m very proud and extremely happy for her.

What are your best qualities in your sport?

A: Explaining things.

What other sports have you taken part in?

A: Gymnastics, cross-country running, netball, hockey and dance — all at school level.

If you could change one rule in your sport what would it be and why?

A: In synchro, I’d like to see more variety with elements — especially in the long programmes, to show different teams’ choreography and much more interesting routines.

What’s been the most memorable event or match you have participated in and why was it so memorable?

A: Winning the group number at an Artistic National Team Challenge Competition, where we got some perfect 6.0s from many on the judging panel.

Do you have a set routine in terms of preparation on competition day?

A: At synchro competitions, we do off-ice, on-ice official practice, then off ice again and then competition — all in the same day and sometimes with us many as four teams competing on the same day.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A: Just to have fun.

What’s the worst part of training for you?

A: I’d say the early starts, but you do get used to that — although the teenagers would definitely say catching the 3am car ferry on Sunday mornings to training.

What would you say is the easiest part of playing your sport?

A: When our skaters skate their best and win medals and trophies.

How much of your life does your sport take up?

A: Skating is my life as our daughter competes in free dance and synchro. It’s definitely not a bad life.

Do you have a motto that you follow in your sport?

A: Go for it, you have nothing to lose.

What lessons for life have you learned through your sport?

To never let anyone take it away from you. They closed our rink and, almost four years on, we are still skating, competing and winning international medals.

We relocated our family so we could be more together and still do the job I love.

When the time comes to retire from playing your sport, do you think you would like to take up a different role in your sport?

A: I would like to get into judging.

Tell us about any other family members who are involved in sport?

A: My brother taught snowboarding in Europe and New Zealand.

What would you say to somebody to recommend them to your sport and your club?

A: Give it a go. Once you start synchro, you’ll love it. It becomes a second family.

What have been the benefits to you by doing your sport?

A: Getting to travel around the world. When I finished school, I turned professional and worked for Holiday on Ice and Stageworks — getting paid to perform in professional shows.

I toured most of Europe, China and South America.

What’s the worst injury you have had and what was the rehab like?

A: Ongoing back problems, but nothing too bad.

Is there a sport you have not tried, but think you might be good at?

A: Curling.

What advice would you offer to a youngster starting out in your sport?

A: Start as young as possible. Less distance to fall.