One skate at a time

OL youth eyeing spot on Olympic team holding fundraiser for kids with cancer

By Jeff Vorva

Oak Lawn resident Jordan Moeller has his eyes on figure skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

If good karma means anything, he should make the United States Olympic team and win a gold medal, because he has been as giving off the ice as he is competitive on it.

Moeller is competing in the U.S. Figure Skating Nationals starting Sunday in Omaha, but when the Richards senior will when he returns home work on a worthwhile event that will help children with cancer.

Moeller will organize the 2nd annual One Skate at a Time program to benefit Children's Oncology Services, scheduled to be held April 27 at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood. More information about out time and tickets will be made available at a later date.

Moeller brought in some of the top young skaters from the Chicago area and Minnesota to put on a show in Crestwood and raised $6,600 in 2012.

"Honestly it did surprise me we made that much," Moeller said. "I wasn't sure how much we were going to make. That was a large sum for the small amount of time we had to put it together and the amount of promotions that we had. Yeah, I was very pleased.

"The goal this year is shooting for more but anything we get would be great."

He came up with the idea of helping COSI because his freshman algebra teacher, Debbie Swanson, has a niece - Shepard student Julia Fisher - who has cancer and is enrolled in the program.

"I've met Julia and some of her friends at Shepard and talked to them about the event last year and they were very excited about it," Moeller said.

Moeller has been a national elite skater for several years and hopes for a big finish in the Junior Men's division in Omaha. If he does well enough, he will be ready to move up to the Senior Men's division and compete for an Olympic bid.

He's an exciting skater who took up the sport because of boredom.

Moeller said his sister, Erin, started taking skating lessons when he four at the Oak Lawn Ice Arena and tagged along.

"I got bored just watching and asked if I could take some lessons," Moeller said. "And I've been at is ever since."

The first time he got onto the ice, he didn't look like a future Olympian candidate.

"I don't remember it very clearly but I'm sure it wasn't very pretty," he said. "I'm not sure when I started getting better but it was a process. I made little improvements every day and after a few years, I stared getting comfortable and learning some of the new skills that were necessary."

Now that he has the skills, he has a high ceiling after making it to nationals in the intermediate and novice divisions in recent years. He took the gold medal in the intermediate division in 2010 and silver in the novice in 2011. But in his first try in the junior division, he tasted disappointment as he was 1.1 points away from qualifying for the 2012 nationals.

That helped motivate him for this season.

"It was a big learning experience," Moeller said. "I had two years of success and that was a rude awakening for me. It was definitely a tough year for awhile. I had to accept the fact that I wasn't going to nationals last year. I had to understand that I had to work that much harder to come back and prove to myself that I could still do it.

"So far, it's worked out in my favor."