recreational ice skating

Hodgsons photo

by Elizabeth Ozorak

There’s no doubt that skating is a lifelong sport. Just ask Bob and Lorna Hodgson, age 91 and 87 respectively. Active members of the Skating Club of Greater Youngstown (SCGY) in Ohio, the couple participated in ISI Winter Classic in Orlando Feb. 12-14.

Bob competed in Dance and Stroking and Lorna competed in Dance and Artistic. Together, they competed in Family Spotlight and performed two production numbers, “Sergeant Hodgson’s Troop” and “SCGY Tea Party.” They earned two first places and a second place for “Sergeant Hodgson’s Troop,” which was the mastermind of Bob, who always wanted to perform a military production.

“Older people think they can’t compete, but they can!” says Bob, emphatically.

Hodgson younger years

The Beginning

Both Hodgsons first stepped on the ice as children, when their hometown ponds froze in winter. Bob was lucky enough to be given hand-me-down skates. Lorna’s mother bought her hockey skates because they were cheaper. “She thought my interest in skating was a passing fancy,” says Lorna. So much for mother’s intuition! Shortly after, Lorna saw Sonja Henie in a movie and decided to save up enough money for figure skates.

Unfortunately, skating fell by the wayside as they both took on the responsibilities of adult life. It wasn’t until they retired that they decided to return to the sport that they love. In 1991, they enrolled in learn-to-skate classes, where coach Maria Koman immediately took them under her wing.

“They are the most energetic, loving couple you will ever meet — beyond inspirational to everyone,” says Koman. “They are so special.”

The Hodgsons credit Koman for inspiring them and they’re also quick to praise the daily encouragement and support they receive from the club.

Koman lost no time in getting the Hodgsons to compete. “She wouldn’t take no for an answer,” says Bob, with a chuckle. “Then we got interested in ISI – in the variety of things we could do with the program.”

Bob now divides his time mainly between Dance and Spotlight programs, while Lorna competes in Artistic as well. “The outlets for creativity are fabulous,” she says.

The couples’ creativity and persistence has paid off, not just in happy memories and numerous gold medals. They were selected to perform in the ISIA Education Foundation Benefit Show at ISI Worlds three times: 2001, 2004, and most recently 2014, when they enchanted the crowd with their Venetian love story — complete with gondola.

As much as they enjoy competing, the Hodgsons say their goals are modest. “I just want to be able to stand up on the ice!” says Bob.

Lorna describes skating as “going up the down escalator” because she really has to work hard just to maintain the skills she already has. “You need to have something you are passionate about,” she says. “When you do, your worries fall away, because you have to concentrate. I enjoy the freedom and excitement of being on the ice.”


Elizabeth Ozorak is a Freestyle 4 skater who began skating in her mid-40s. She is a member of the SCGY and a professor of psychology at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.

2 replies to this post
  1. How wonderful that they don’t consider that their age is a barrier. I am 71 and hopefully will skate for is long time yet…!

  2. This is a wonderful story, Elizabeth. Thanks to our talented and generous coach, Maria Koman, we have all been inspired by Lorna and Bob.

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