For some skaters, winning a medal is the most important thing, but for Pennsylvania ice dancer Michael Soyfer, just being able to skate again was a victory.
The 18-year-old was involved in horrendous car crash in May 2009 that totaled his car and left him in the hospital in a coma with a fractured skull and a shattered left arm that had to be reassembled with metal plates and screws.
"I don't remember anything about the accident," he said, "but as soon as I came out of the coma, I told my Mom I wanted to start back skating." "I told him that the only way he was going back on the ice was with a helmet," Mrs. Soyfer noted.
After a lot of physical therapy, Soyfer was back skating again within a month, but didn't regain full use of his arm for a few additional months. It wasn't until August that he was first permitted to do any lifts.
That put Soyfer and his partner, Nathalie Wojton, behind schedule for this season, their first as juniors. They placed eighth nationally in juvenile dance in 2006, ninth in intermediate dance in 2007, and 11th in novice dance in 2009.
The couple won a silver medal in the original dance and bronze in the compulsories at BC Summer Skate in Vancouver in their first competition after returning from the injuries.
"We just want to establish ourselves and not look like a novice team this year," Soyfer said. "We need to have more speed and energy and show more expression. We're hoping to improve our levels on the elements, especially the footwork sequences."
"Our big goal this year is just to make it to Nationals," Wojton added. "We're just starting and we want to keep skating for as long as we can - as long as it makes me happy."