After representing her country in international simultaneous figure skating competitions around the world, Frederick’s Ava Demick joined the Army to serve in a different way.
Demick, 22, returned to her home state to join the US Army as a first-year medical student at Uniform Services University in Bethesda.
Demick, who grew up in Jefferson, got into figure skating at the age of three after her father saw an ad in a magazine and Demick and her sister decided to give it a try.
She said her dad made them try a little bit of everything, but she fell in love with skateboarding.
“There is grace and dance and these very beautiful movements, if you will, but what people often don’t realize is that they are really intense and require an athlete with strength and endurance,” Demick said.
When she got better, she had to choose which direction to go with her skateboarding.
Natural progression begins with a one-on-one or one-on-one competition. She said some people stick to it. Others branch out and go ice dancing or synchronized skating, as Demick did.
The team side directed Dimmick to synchronized skating and kept her there. She eventually competed at the highest level with the Haydenettes, a Boston-based synchronized skating team.
“I met some of my best friends, like second family. I will be close to these girls for the rest of my life,” she said.
According to their website, the Hidnets are 28-time United States champions. The site said they have represented the United States at every International Skating Union’s Synchro World Championships since 2000.
Demick has dreamed of being in the Haydenettes since she saw them compete at the 2013 World Championships in Boston.
Years later, in 2019, Demick competed as Haydnette at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
“I saw my parents and my younger sister waving the American flag while everyone was chanting ‘USA’ and at that moment, I usually have tears, like she said, ‘That was the moment I made it,'” she said.
The 2022 World Championship was held in Canada.
During a training session in April, Demick got a call that made her into medical school. She said it was a whole moment, but it was also sweet and bitter because it would be the last time she competed.
She said that passage in her life made sense.
“It feels like a perfect fit because I’ve moved on from competing for the US – like, how can I still be a part of something bigger than me?” She said.
Demick said she is still trying to decide on a medical specialty.
She is interested in women’s health. She would love to see how women’s health offices can provide a safe space.
“It was really exciting to see how little women know about their bodies or are afraid to talk about things that are kind of taboo in society,” she said.
But she’s just starting her medical career, so she said she’s simply excited to try different things and see where she ends up.
She could see a lot of what she loved about synchronized skating in medical school, specifically Uniformed Services University.
“It all comes down to being a part of something bigger than you, working as a team, sort of relying on each other, and camaraderie,” she said.
She’s excited for the next chapter in her life, but Demick knows she can never separate herself from the sport she loves. I’ve thought about training.
“I don’t think I’m ever going to leave this sport completely,” she said. “You gave me so many opportunities, you taught me so many lessons, and I met really great people.”
Follow Clara Neal on Twitter: @clarasniel