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Carrying a Torch

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pittsburgh -- Harry Mattick, 17, trains at least four hours a day at the RMU Island Sports Center on Neville Island. He juggles training and schoolwork, and recently his family moved to Pittsburgh from Great Britain so he could train full time with ISC skating instructor Igor Novodran.

“At the end of the day, you have to prioritize and do what’s important, “ said Mattick.

Novodran and Mattick have a strong mentor-student relationship.“[Igor] does an awful lot on and off the ice,” said Mattick. Novodran will film Mattick’s practices and help him improve his routines by going through the tapes and helping pinpoint problem areas. “He’s the best coach I’ve known,” said Mattick.

Harry with Olympic TorchMattick hopes to one day represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games in figure skating. Recently, he was nominated to run with the Olympic torch for the 2012 Summer Games in London.

He put on his first pair of skates when he was 7. “I was in a car accident when I was small and the doctor said it was a good way to recover,” said Mattick.

In his first National Championship at age 10, he placed third. He won the Novice Championship at 11 and 12 and continued on to win his first British Junior National Championship at 14. After winning the same title each of the next three years, Mattick became the first British skater to be crowned British Junior National Champion four consecutive times.

Mattick also has represented his country at world competitions. In 2010 and 2011, he represented Great Britain at the Junior World Championships, placing 39th in 2010. In 2010, he took home the silver medal at the Nestle Kangus Cup Tournament and in 2011, he took home gold at the Warsaw Cup.

Mattick finds a thrill in the jumping aspect of figure skating, something that would scare most people away. He brushes off the idea of fear, saying that the bruises eventually fade.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.