Originally created 12/01/05

Slowing down in southland



Two Olympic coaches who have built their lives on the ice will spend their golden years in the sun.

Most of the time, anyway.

"We wanted to keep our fingers into skating," Evy Scotvold said.

Evy and his wife, Mary, who have team-coached competitive figure skating for more than 30 years, are helping coach at Augusta Ice Sports Center.

They've been to the Olympics six consecutive times with their skaters beginning in 1976 and, in 1998, were inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

And two of their skaters have become rather well-known.

"We've had three Olympic medalists (and) three world medalists, but (Nancy Kerrigan and Paul Wylie) were two of the most outstanding we've had," Evy said.

"We had them each about 15 years," Mary added.

But the grind got more difficult. Between them, they would take eight and 14 international trips each year from September to March. Because they both couldn't leave their other skaters behind, one would go and one would stay.

"It loses luster after 20 or 30 years," Evy said.

The couple retired in January and are making their home in Aiken, where the weather is warmer than their last home in Cape Cod, Mass.

"(In Aiken), you have a little bit of a fall, and then you have spring. You don't have a winter," Evy said. "The leaves are just starting to turn and fall. That ended the middle of October up there."

They had intended to follow some of their friends to Florida, but after spending some time there, changed their minds.

"We decided (it was) too warm, too crowded," Evy said.

About a year ago, Evy saw an article in Retirement Living about a couple who moved to Florida, changed their minds and settled in Aiken.

After a couple of visits, they bought a lot in Woodside Plantation and are now waiting on their new house to be finished.

But neither coach could bear to give up teaching completely.

"Moving was so hard, and then retiring at the same time was really too much for me," Mary said. "When we got here, I decided I've got to get back to work."

They looked for rinks near their new home, and found one in Columbia.

But when they heard about the Augusta Ice Sports Center, they decided to check it out.

"Our teeth almost fell out when we walked up to it," Evy said.

He said rinks are usually located in industrial parks or low-rent areas and aren't in great condition.

They immediately decided to ask if they could do some coaching.

Some skaters show promise, and they want to work with their coaches to bring them up to a national level.

"(We) plan to help coaches work with skaters on their technique, giving them better fundamentals than they've had," Mary said.

They like their slower pace, and their new town.

"Southern hospitality is really profound," Evy said.