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Artistic roller skaters go for gold at Sunshine State Games in Greenacres

Competition held at Astro Skate of Palm Beach
Posted at 9:22 PM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-12 21:22:01-04

GREENACRES, Fla. — One hundred fifty-five skaters across Florida gathered Sunday in Greenacres to compete for gold in the Sunshine State Games artistic roller skating competition.

The competition featured a mix of freestyle and routine skating with music, allowing skaters of all ages, from four to 70, to showcase their best moves. The event was a testament to the diverse talent and passion for roller skating in Florida.

Amateur and professional skaters arrived at the Astro Skate of Palm Beach rink to compete in the games.

"I skated well," artistic roller skater Sean Folstein said. "I had a few little bobbles, but I think it's just practice for my next competition. I'm happy I got it all out here."

Sean Folstein of Orlando was in Greenacres on May 12, 2024, to compete in the Sunshine State Games.
Sean Folstein of Orlando was in Greenacres on May 12, 2024, to compete in the Sunshine State Games.

At 18, the Orlando native is one of the biggest names in the sport.

"My mom was a skater when she was a teenager and basically I've been skating ever since I was 4 years old," Folstein said. "It's always been a part of my life."

Folstein started competing when he was 5 years old. He's now traveling the world competing in the sport that has always been a part of his life.

"In the past couple of years, I have been in the elite divisions of my sport," Folstein said. "We go to some international level competitions."

Artistic roller skating is a mix of freestyle and routine skating with music. Skaters generally do not have to follow any rules, allowing them full creativity during competitions.

"I got started a year ago here at Astro Skate with the club in West Palm Beach," West Palm Beach artistic skater Isora Lopez-Sherman said.

Isora Lopez-Sherman of West Palm Beach speaks about her love for the sport of artistic roller skating.
Isora Lopez-Sherman of West Palm Beach speaks about her love for the sport of artistic roller skating.

Lopez-Sherman, 47, was one of 155 skaters competing from ages four to 70.

The West Palm Beach resident grew up skating with friends and family but never participated in competitions. In one of her first competitions, she took first place in her division Sunday.

"I can't believe it. I'm so excited," Lopez-Sherman said. "I really just feel like it's such a wonderful and healthy sport."

However, it was almost an event that didn't make it to Palm Beach County when the Greenacres rink closed.

Janet Pavilonis discusses the excitement among the skating community when Astro Skate reopened.
Janet Pavilonis discusses the excitement among the skating community when Astro Skate reopened.

"It was closed last August of 2022 and Chris Maganias, he owns six other Astros, said, 'How can skating die in Greenacres, Palm Beach County?'" Diane Poveda, the general manager of Astro Skate, said.

Astro Skate is the only skating rink in Palm Beach County, so the team knew they had to make the rink magical. Their first line of business was bringing the Sunshine State Games to its facility.

"For the skaters in this area, it's been very emotional when this rink closed, the outpouring from the people that skate," Janet Pavilonis, with the Florida Sunshine State Games, said. "It was devastating, and when Chris reopened the rink, it brought it all back, and we're all so grateful."