A skating coach with his master's degree in art, Powley uses the ice like a canvas, often deviating from his program if the spirit moves him. Burton explained that another spirit moved him during this particular performance.
"My sister died recently, and I wear her ring now when I skate," he said. "It makes me feel like she's with me."
His program included two double Salchows and two double toe loops, but it was his positive GOEs on his spiral sequence that made him happiest.
Burton Powley, made a successful debut at the championship
masters level. Last year's championship gold winner also landed a handful of
doubles, and his Spanish-themed program emphasized his artistic flair.
Powley, said there were some differences between competing at the
championship gold and the masters level, especially the endurance factor with
the four minute program. But he had been training triple run-throughs of his
program and was overall pleased.
"I had planned a double axel and triple toe in practice but decided to play
it safe after knowing the other guys were having problems," Powley said. "I knew
a clean program would make the podium. It was my goal to finish in the top 3,
and I guess I accomplished that. Next year I will do an even more technically
Powley coaches more than 40 students in Iowa, not known as a hotbed for
"They don't expect Iowa to produce many champion skaters, but it is my goal
to be a good role model for my students and be part of a team that can put Iowa
on the radar screen in the figure skating scene," he said.
With numerous titles to his credit, Powley is one of the most well-known
adult figure skaters. During the adult championships, Powley spends his office
time using his humor and words of wisdom to support other skaters.
"I have made many new friends and fond supporters that cheer really loud for
me," he said. "I wanted to return the favor and assist other skaters who may be
nervous or do not have their coach present to put them on the ice. I don't get
nervous, and I think I have a calming influence over others ... I can find
something positive in every performance and wish to convey that message to many
of those who seemed disappointed at the results or their performance."
Burton Powley is back.
It's been six years since Powley last competed at the U.S. Adult
Championships, but he picked up where he left off, winning the championship gold
men's competition with four double jumps.
Powley (Des Moines, Iowa) collected all but one first-place ordinal for his
"Firebird" program highlighted by the sureness and height of his jumps. With his
convincing victory, it's no surprise that Powley said he hopes to test up to the
next level. But for now, he's thrilled to just be back.
"I really came back to challenge myself," Powley said. "I didn't expect to be
this strong. It's a great feeling. After I hit the third jump I couldn't stop
smiling. My mouth hurt I was smiling so much."
Shortly after he left the competitive ranks in 1999, Powley said he began
suffering from ongoing health problems that eventually resulted in the removal
of his gallbladder. Once that was taken care of, he as back on track.
Back on track for Powley, who is also a skating coach, resulted in gold. He
landed a double flip, double Salchow, double toe and an Axel-loop-double toe
"I felt like I was 20 today," said Powley, 47. "The standard has really
improved over the years."
Powley thinks his experience at the 2005 Midwestern Adult Sectional
Championships in high-altitude Colorado Springs helped prepare him for this
"I had to have oxygen when I came off the ice at Mids," he said. "Since then
I've been doing double run-throughs, and I really sailed through my program