In October 2013, when I started Inside Skating, I didn’t dare to dream that it would come so far.
10 years later, Inside Skating is still around – and I became We, a team of enthusiasts that keeps the wheel moving, in a journey of discoveries that I’m very proud of.
Yes, you guessed it right: this is the updated version of my initial letter of intent.
by Florentina Tone, managing editor of Inside Skating
Back in 2013 I had been working as a journalist for 7-8 years, had made the transition from a national newspaper to a specialized monthly magazine, completed my studies in sociology, apart from journalism & communication sciences, researched a bit, published a book of oral history on the fall of communism in Romania – yet, I was still committed to my teenage-dream: to write about sports, and skating in particular.
Skating had been a passion of mine since forever, since my black and white TV at home, in the ’90ties – and skating had been the reason why in high school I would decide, one night, while watching a skating competition, to become a journalist (and not a doctor).
You may laugh now, I may laugh too – but this is how big decisions are made.
In fact, sports in general had been a huge passion of mine.
To tell you the truth (and nothing but the truth :), during my childhood years, I only dreamed to be involved in sports – to be a gymnast, more precise. No other future plans were made.
Well, that didn’t happen, my parents weren’t on board with the idea, and the only gymnastics I did was in my front yard at home, on improvised bars (between the trees) and a beam literally drawn on the ground. I would always get to be Lavinia Milosovici, my favorite gymnast at the time, in competitions with my neighbours.
And even though that’s all in the past, these particular slices of personal history – that I look back to with candour and joy – are, in fact, at the very base of how, decades later, Inside Skating was born.
There was my daily blog at first, during my first years as a journalist, a blog which comprised photos, travelling, plans and dreams, but also skating competitions and results. A blog in my native language, Romanian, that kept attracting foreign readers for unknown reasons.
Well, the “unknown” reason was skating itself, competitions in Europe that I had started to attend, or simply skating shows happening in Romania, like Kings on Ice, featuring, among others, Evgeni Plushenko, Stéphane Lambiel, Brian Joubert.
And those shows were a big thing at the time for the passionate journalist that I was – and for the sports writer that I wanted to become.
And that’s a how it all started – the dream, then the plan, then the actual making of a proper figure skating website, using the tools of journalism that I was familiarized with; a website that was supposed to have a broader audience, English replacing Romanian in writing about skating.
But I had wonderful examples in front of me – I had been an avid reader and admirer of websites like ice-dance.com, europeonice.com, absoluteskating.com, goldenskate.com, figureskatersonline.com, icenetwork.com and so on, and I was also a subscriber of “International Figure Skating”, a subscription that started as a gift on my birthday and which made me realize, once again, that skating journalism was possible, is possible.
And, during competitions, I would get to see skating journalists and photographers at work, and having all of them in front of me made me try even harder to put my plan into action.
The name of this dream-website was still a mystery to me – I would continuously make plans, had structuring ideas in most of my notebooks at the time, drawings after drawings after drawings, knew that I wanted Skating to be a part of it all – until my husband came with the idea (I give him that, I give him the paternity :): “Why not Inside Skating”?
Because it was the inside work that I wanted to highlight: all that stayed at the base of a 3-4-minute performance: the work off-season, the journey throughout the season, and everything in between
And Inside Skating it was.
And the journey of having a logo imagined was a beautiful adventure itself. I contemplated blue, and green, and red, I had Mihaela Manolache, a marvelous graphic designer, to help me navigate through ideas and put together what was to be the final version, and a great team of friends that were bombarded daily with mails and colours and shapes.
And I love how the Inside Skating logo turned out – I love it as a precious child of mine.
I love the shape of it, the S is just fantastic, a meaningful figure drawn on the ice – that stands for Skating, for Spectacle, for Struggle, for Success, for Sensitivity, for Scene, for Show, and even for Sensational, as someone recently mentioned.
And even more than that: sometimes, our trademark big-red S replicates the movement of the skater’s body in the air & on the ice.
And you may have seen those photos when that happens, and those photos, with their mirroring-effect, are purely magic.
But those were enthusiast, adventurous and naive times, I give you that.
At the time, I only had myself to rely on when writing stories (and I embraced the mission with open arms), but also when it came to illustrating. And my amateur photos taken at competitions only kept Inside Skating afloat, and not much more than that.
Very soon, I would find myself writing to skating photographers whose work I loved: Can I use this photo, or that, to accompany this or that story?
And that’s how Natasha Ponarina came into play, and she became my most precious ally and friend during those childhood years of Inside Skating.
And I still remember the first photos she sent me, of Carolina Kostner, with the red butterflies of her Humoresque short program dress, of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier and their Hitchcock dance – and Natasha, affectionately called Nata, would soon become my right and left hand, and a wonderful part of Inside Skating team.
Her photos are always creating a world of emotions.
And there were two of us now, and I became We.
It only became easier from that point.
Marvelous friends and photographers would join Inside Skating on the course of the following years: Askar Ibragimov, Wilma Alberti, Alberto Ponti, Andriana Andreeva, Julia Komarova, Ksenia Nurtdinova, Veronika Potaturko, Alena Shukalo, Ia Remmel, Xingang Mi, Inna Volchok, C. Nguyen – and some of them would stay indefinitely alongside Inside Skating, and all of them have my infinite gratitude for their brilliant work.
Work that, sometimes, continues to live outside Inside Skating – a proof we’re doing a good job here, all of us.
Take Alberto Ponti’s gorgeous photo of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, taken at Gran Premio d’Italia in Torino, in 2021, and turning out to be the perfect photo for the cover of the biography published at Éditions Marabout, “En Or”, after 2022 Olympics.
And writers would get their stories published on Inside Skating too – and the website would greatly benefit from their work, and become a good home to their features, portraits, interviews.
Nadia Vasilyeva’s interviews with Brian Orser, Jason Brown, Deniss Vasiljevs & Stéphane Lambiel, Javier Fernandez (and many, many others) are a beautiful read to this day, and still extremely meaningful, as well as Wei Xiong’s features about Kaori Sakamoto, Satoko Miyahara, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han.
As for myself, I would get to see my passion become very real. I would get to do interviews and write stories that I’m very proud of. Above all, I would get to talk to people that I greatly admire and fly on a cloud of enthusiasm every time our energies clicked during our talks.
And that happened on almost every occasion, a proof that genuine interest and a shared passion for the sports (and a great deal of prior documenting) can be the best tools for great, in-depth, relevant conversations & stories to happen.
And our motto has actually written itself: Good Home to Skating Stories.
[You may want to check some of our golden ones in a recently highlighted section of the website: Inside Skating Classics.]
To my joy, throughout the seasons, Inside Skating has become a recognizable resource in the world of figure skating, a space known as being full of admiration and love for the sport.
In this endeavour, Inside Skating has had the unconditional support of TechReady S.R.L., in Cluj-Napoca, Romania – a generous umbrella to all of our work and efforts, that we’re so grateful for.
But those 10 years behind us wouldn’t have been possible without all of you following us – reading our stories, appreciating our photos, liking our tweets, quoting, sharing, reposting. Being genuinely interested in what we write, in what we publish on the website itself and on our social media accounts.
To all of you: Thank You.
Thank You for following Inside Skating for the first 10 years of its life.
And we literally can’t wait for the next 10.
[Homepage photo: Alberto Ponti
Other photos by C. Nguyen, Natasha Ponarina, Alberto Ponti]
® Inside Skating is a registered trademark of SC TechReady S.R.L., Cluj-Napoca, Romania.