Working at her hometown’s roller skating rink in Champion, Ohio, in high school, then-teenager Coulter-Fiore bought her first set of roller skates, which average over $800 a pair. The purchase represented her commitment to the sport and now serves as a token of the memories that supplement her broken-in skates.
“My parents wanted me to pay for my skates to show that I was going to stick with skating,” says Coulter-Fiore. “They weren’t going to put out the money to travel, get costumes and buy skates for me to decide the next day that I was bored and quitting. I still have those first skates, only having to reline them once on the inside. I still use them to this day for competition.”
Coulter-Fiore credits her competitive skating career to the good will and patience of her coaches, as well as the support of family and friends. Such support has been welcome over the years, as Coulter-Fiore balanced soccer, work, school and homework as a teenager, and then went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The support continues even today, as Coulter-Fiore balances her professional life and working on her doctorate with her role as a wife.
“As a teenager, the balance came naturally,” she says. “I had a disciplined schedule and a supportive family who ensured that I kept a balance. My family has always been involved in my sports, education and other activities, which made it easy to spend time with them while being dedicated to everything I was involved in. Now, I am blessed to have a husband who is also enormously supportive of all that I do. He doesn’t skate, but he attends weekend practices with me and all of my competitions.”
She practices four days a week and has made leaps and bounds of progress since her first competition in 1996. Since freestyle skating, her first event, Coulter-Fiore has moved to figures and is beginning to explore dance skating. Her current events in the Great Lakes Region include classic ladies figures, open ladies loops and novice solo dance.
Despite Coulter-Fiore’s concrete performances that have improved over the years, as she has competed and placed at Nationals, she still struggles with pre-competition nervousness, concerned with anything from the details of her costume to whether or not she will be able to stay on the line throughout her performance.
“You need to be a presence, and judges need to know who you are, that you’re somebody to look at,” she says. “You have to look the part, and the thing with me was that I wasn’t looking the part, because I didn’t have the confidence. I’m confident in the rest of my life, but my head gets in the way when it comes to skating.”
Roller skating, via long practices, much preparation and competitions requiring travel, has brought Coulter-Fiore extremely close with her coaches and fellow skaters.
“It’s neat how you develop such deep friendships in roller skating, which contributes to why I’m passionate about it,” she says. “I have become family with those I skate with. It’s also weird how it happens, because it’s not even something I thought about. What makes me sad is to see people who think they can’t do it, because people can skate. They might not jump right away, or they may never jump, but they still learn so much.”