A Figure Skater Who is Blind and Deaf:
Lisa Ferris is a figure skater who is legally blind and also has a severe hearing impairment. Figure skating has given her much joy and she has also faced some challenges because she is a blind and deaf ice skater.
Lisa Ferris is the mother of twin boys. She is not able to skate much since her children are very young, but when the children get older, she hopes that they may be able to skate together as a family.
Lisa Ferris lives in the Portland, Oregon area and skates at the Lloyd Center Ice Rink which is in a mall. It is the same ice arena that Tonya Harding, one of the most controversial people in figure skating, trained at.
Skating Provides Happiness:
Lisa Ferris loves the feeling of being on the ice. She loves the freedom she has to move and glide on figure skates. She likes landing jumps. She enjoys ice dancing, moves in the field, and footwork. She loves doing spirals. She likes the people that skate. She likes competitions and she likes figure skating tests. Skating has given Lisa much joy.
Lisa Ferris is not able to skate as much as she used to since she is now busy raising her twin boys. At one time, she would skate three to five days a week. She'd skate before she went to work. She took ballet and pilates classes and as many private lessons that her budget would allow. Her guide dog would come to the rink with her.
How Can a Blind and Deaf Person Skate?:
Lisa can skate and her ability to skate proves that a blind person can be a figure skater. She admits she is not a "Michelle Kwan," and explains that most figure skaters are not elite champions, but people like herself who get joy and happiness by doing the sport.
Lisa Ferris can't practice on public skating sessions because there is a chance she'd run into other skaters. If someone guides her, she can skate around the rink on a crowded session, but she is not able to work on figure skating moves.
Her best practice occurs on empty freestyle sessions and when a coach is there for her and she enjoys practicing and performing when she can have the entire ice rink's surface to herself.
Since Lisa can't hear, a coach or other skaters can't yell across the rink to let her know she's in another skater's way.
Couldn't Compete in Figures:
Compulsory figures are no longer part of competitive figure skating competitions, but when Lisa Ferris first skated, she did do figures. She could practice figures on a patch and use a scribe, but couldn't compete in compulsory school figure events since she really could not see the tracings she laid on the ice. The judges did not only judge the skater's body positions and flow while performing the figure, but they judged what the figure looked like on the ice. Figures had to be traced perfectly and Lisa's vision made it impossible for her to do that.
Can't Hear Her Music:
Lisa Ferris can't hear her music on a skating rink's loudspeaker, but she is able to hear her music if she uses headphones. At figure skating competitions, the use of headphones is not allowed and some ice arenas do not allow headphones on the ice.
When she performs, she has to rely on cues from her coach as she performs to the music she skates to.
A Real Life "Ice Castles":
In the late 1970s, a movie came out in theaters called "Ice Castles." In the movie, Lexie is a talented and promising ice skater who becomes blind. With the help of loving family and friends, Lexie returns to the ice and competes. Lisa Ferris is like the Lexie in "Ice Castles." She has decided to do something that many people believe is impossible. She looks forward to sharing her love of ice skating with her children.