by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG- When one thinks of sports, the first that come to mind are football, basketball, volleyball or baseball- all widely publicized team sports. However the graceful world of figure skating is a whole different arena of athletics..
Once an Olympic hopeful, William Boeck of Walsenburg has been active in the sport for over 50 years. As a youth in St. Louis, Boeck had high hopes and showed such great skill that his parents moved the family to Colorado Springs in 1957 so he could have year-round training as a figure skater. He trained at the world-renowned Broadmoor World Ice Arena where former World and Olympic champions, Hayes Allen Jenkins, David Jenkins and Peggy Fleming skated. Boeck helped pay for his skating lessons by working as a busboy and waiter at the Broadmoor Hotel’s five-star restaurant. All this was while he was still in high school.
Boeck’s first chance in competition came in 1957 when he competed in the Midwestern championships in Bronze dance. Unfortunately, his dreams of being an Olympic medalist came to a crashing halt in 1959 when a number of injuries side lined him from serious competition. Boeck graduated from a Colorado Springs high school in 1959 and moved back home to attend Washington University and study engineering.
Boeck continued to be active in the sport on a recreational basis. He pursued ice dancing and competed in many non- qualifying competitions with his daughter and other partners. He is the holder of the Pre-gold ice dancing test medal and has become successful in this venue. Boeck has continued to skate recreationally for over 50 years. “If done regularly,” he said, “many skaters can skate well into their eighties.”
In 1963 he earned his first judging appointment, and has been judging continuously since then. In 2003, he was honored by the United States Figure Skating Association for 40 years of judging. Only eight other people in the country can make that claim.
Qualified to judge all disciplines of figure skating, including free style, pairs and dance, and all levels of competition, Boeck is invited to judge throughout the Midwest. Since he and his wife, Marsha, retired to Colorado three years ago, Boeck has continued to be active. Most recently, he returned from Burlington, Vermont where he helped judge yet another competition. Mostly though, he spends countless weekends judging test sessions, which measure the readiness and effectiveness of future national, world and Olympic hopefuls. He also judges many non-qualifying competitions which are the grass roots level of figure skating where these athletes begin to climb their ladder of dreams.
Figure skating judges are not compensated. Boeck volunteers his time and services, giving back to the sport he loves. He is not ready to retire completely: “When I achieve 50 years of judging, (and very few across the country can make that claim,) I am considering retirement, but then again, maybe not. I would miss watching those kids taking to the ice and skating their best, and seeing the smiles on their faces.”
Boeck has also just discovered the paved trail at Lathrop Park and can be seen skating around the lake on his roller blades with his dog Honey in tow