Emmanuel Savary makes his nationals debut

January, 18, 2010

Skating in his first national competition, 12-year-old Emmanuel Savary stands out for a couple reasons. One, he skated his short program in the novice division Sunday to music from his favorite video game, Super Mario Bros., and he'll skate his long program to music from "The Simpsons." Two, he's African-American, which is very much a minority in figure skating.

"It's very different," Savary said after placing second in the novice division. "I think they cheer more for me because they haven't seen an African-American skate before in a long time."

Savary said he got into skating thanks to his older brother, Joel. "My brother used to skate a while back when we were in Florida. So, I took some lessons and did a lot of public sessions back there and I loved it ever since then," he said. "The performance is my favorite part. I love performing in front of a big audience."

Joel Savary, 22, said there were many African-Americans at the recreational rink where he skated, but less when they moved on to a training facility.

"Some people are a little surprised," he said. "But at the same time, they're very cool with it. They like to see someone different and it makes us rare, but we just really enjoy it regardless of what color you are."

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
Author of "The Devil Wears Pinstripes" and winner of a Sports Emmy. Reported from 17 World Series, 9 Olympics, 6 continents.



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