Skating in the Spotlight: Adriana Berg

Berg+competing+at+the+2022+United+States+Figure+Skating+Association+Championship+Series+in+Spokane%2C+WA.

Courtesy of Adriana Berg

Berg competing at the 2022 United States Figure Skating Association Championship Series in Spokane, WA.

By Lauren Herrick, Jesuit High School

On most Mondays at 7:00 A.M., Jesuit students are just starting to get ready for the day— trying to get the last minutes of Membean done before 1st period, stopping at Dutch Bros., or hitting snooze on their alarm clocks. Junior Adriana Berg, on the other hand, is just starting her second hour of morning figure skating practice.

Berg has been competitively skating since she was 8 years old. She was inspired to start skating after observing the sport commonly found in her mother’s hometown of Klamath Falls, Oregon, as well as watching the Winter Olympics.

“When I watched the Olympians do these incredible and creative routines, I immediately thought, ‘I want to do that!’” Berg said.

After enrolling in beginner classes soon after this realization, Berg’s natural athleticism and talent became evident to all coaches and peers around her. She started private lessons and began training for competitions at the advanced level at just 11 years old.

After a year or two of competing, Berg realized the extent of her passion for skating, especially after early successes.

“I placed first in a regional tournament when I was 11, and I also was chosen for the lead role in the Nutcracker performance that year,” Berg said. “These two achievements were the biggest stepping stones and incredibly boosted my confidence.”

But just a few months later, an accident threatened Berg’s newfound success— she fractured her ankle in two different places.

“I couldn’t do anything. I had never been hurt in a way like that before,” Berg said.

After a year off of skating filled with rest, physical therapy, and finding her strength again, Berg was longing to return to the ice.

“All that was on my mind was skating,” Berg said. “I was constantly thinking about when I could go back and anxiously watching my friends accelerate ahead of me and gain new turns and tricks.”

Once she returned, Berg confidently picked up right where she left off with her training and competition schedule. But six months later, a miscalculated turn resulted in her subluxing (a form of dislocation) her knee.

“I was so beyond upset. I couldn’t understand how this happened again,” Berg said.

Thankfully, the recovery process for this injury was quicker than her previous injury. After returning to the ice, Berg consistently continued to succeed through her last months of middle school into her freshman year of high school.

When March 2020 hit, the COVID-19 pandemic provided both disruptions and opportunities for Berg’s skating career. Since Berg skates at an indoor arena, the sport was shut down for a few months for Portland skaters. But when quarantine restrictions started to be lifted, Berg was ready to get right back to work.

“When it was declared safe to return to more indoor activities, myself and other skaters had zero hesitation. Everyone was back in training at full speed ahead,” Berg said.

For Berg, “full speed ahead” meant maximizing the new time for skating she found within Jesuit’s online school schedule.

“Any ounce of free time I got, such as lunch or break periods, I would go straight to the ice,” Berg said.

Her dedication to training during the pandemic set up this year of skating to be filled with success.

“I competed in a handful of local competitions this year that were ultimately preparing me for 2 National Championship Series tournaments— one in Nevada, and one in Spokane,” Berg said.

These tournaments marked a landmark year for her— between injuries and a pandemic, this was the first undisrupted competitive season she has had since 7th grade.

“It’s crazy for me to think about that,” Berg said.

During these prestigious competitions, Berg skated alongside extremely dedicated and challenging opponents. Observations of her competitors revealed to her the importance of balance.

“It’s hard to compete against some skaters because skating is genuinely their life,” Berg said. “I love skating, but I am not willing to give up my relationships, school, and just normalcy. While my competitors are inspiring, it can definitely be hard to be surrounded by that level of extreme dedication.”

Berg’s commitment to balance allows her to have a true passion and enthusiasm for her sport.

“It’s both artistic and athletic at the same time,” Berg said. “There’s nothing really like skating. Putting athleticism to beautiful music, costumes, and lighting allows you to bring out a character and create a story. It seems like there’s always something more you can do to elevate your creative performances.”

Two of Berg’s closest friends highlighted how her passion and drive inspires all of those around her.

“I met Adriana in my freshman PE class, and I knew on my first day that we were going to be close friends,” junior Gaby Smith said. “Everyday, she inspires me to be the best version of myself and I am so grateful to have met her. Being a committed ice skater is not easy, but she does it with a smile and an amazing attitude.”

“Adriana is extremely driven, hardworking, loving, and a great mentor. She’s an amazing friend and I’m so excited to see where her passion takes her!” junior Kate Cooper said.

Similarly, Berg’s values for skating and life carry over into how she works and participates in class.

“Adriana brings joy and vibrancy to our class. She is organized, reflective, and intentional, while having a great sense of humor and so much grit,” French III teacher Natalie Stamper said. “The story of her comeback on the ice is incredibly inspiring!”

Junior year has caused Berg to reflect on where ice skating might fit into her future. While only a small number of colleges offer competitive ice skating, Berg is looking into a few other options.

“I’ve already started the process of learning how to coach skating by helping out with younger skaters over the years,” Berg said. “I am also considering potentially doing some travel skating shows in Europe as a potential summer gig. That would be amazing, as I could skate and see the world at the same time.”

But, her biggest advice to readers right now is to remember your roots and values.

“If you’re feeling discouraged with where you are with school, a sport, or activity, remember how far you’ve come and why you love to do what you do,” Berg said. “Going back to those roots has always really helped me remember why I started skating in the first place.”




This story was originally published on Jesuit Chronicle on April 21, 2022.