CLEVELAND — Strongsville's own Eva Pate put on her first pair of skates when she was little. And she learned that for some skaters, this is a ritual.
“Now some skaters, they’re superstitious on what skate they put on first. It doesn’t matter to me,” Pate said.
She and her partner, Logan Bye, have been practicing for the ice dance competition ahead of the U.S Figure Skating championships in Columbus. This is not her first time in this competition. She said flying on frozen water is a mix of fear and fun.
“It’s very freeing,” Pate said. “I like it because you feel the wind in your face and you’re going really fast and it’s really unlike any other sport.”
Pate and Bye have competed overseas and across the United States. They’ve gotten close during that time and are now engaged.
Bye proposed in Aug. 2022. The couple said they’ve built a lot of chemistry and he’s earned her trust by carrying her on the ice.
“We spend like 24/7 together,” Pate said. “And we just have a great time and we enjoy it so much. And enjoy spending time together.”
“Skating’s just, it’s our sport. It’s also our hobby,” Bye said.
Now the two are picking a routine and song for the competition. Their coach said song selection is key. This year there’s an 80’s music theme.
“The skaters need to relate to the music,” said Eva and Logan’s coach Igor Shpilband. “They need to like the music. So I think this music that they choose this year soothes them. Soothes their personality. It also has like 10 elements which need to go perfectly to the music.”
Pate said she became serious about figure skating after she watched the 2014 Olympics. She practices with an Olympic logo in the background as motivation.
“It is the goal,” Pate said. “We’re working really hard every day and we love to skate. We love being here. And it’s really just finding our joy and our passion and that strive to keep going to make it one day.”